basketball-men-d1 flag | January 28, 2017

Kentucky vs. Kansas: The Jayhawks defeat the Wildcats at Rupp Arena

DI Men's Basketball: Kansas beats Kentucky 79-73

No. 2 Kansas beat No. 4 Kentucky 79-73 at Rupp Arena on Saturday night. Frank Mason III scored 21 points for the Jayhawks, while tallying four assists and two steals. The Wildcats will play Georgia next on Tuesday, while next up for Kansas has a tough matchup against Baylor on Wednesday.

Check out some of the action from the exciting game below:

A pair of college basketball blue bloods will square off on Saturday when the No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks travel to Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, to battle the No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats.

College GameDay will be on hand at Rupp to kick off the festivities for a very busy slate on the college basketball front. And with 17 of the AP Top 25 teams hitting the hardwood, there’s plenty of potential for the pandemonium that is starting to grip the college game to rear its head again.

All 10 games in the annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge series are set to tip off on Saturday — the Big 12 continues to own bragging rights over the SEC with wins in each of the event’s first three seasons — but the “Best Game” of the challenge is undoubtedly the top 5 matchup between Kansas and Kentucky.

And for two teams that normally do a lot of winning, it’s a novel development to see them squaring off each after a tough road loss.

Kansas comes into the bout with Kentucky having won 18 of its first 20 games to start the season. No one is still thinking about KU’s season-opening loss to Indiana, but a decisive defeat at the hands of West Virginia on Tuesday (85-69) could give some reason to question the Jayhawks. 

Fact of the matter is, when a team loses the shooting, rebounding and turnover battles, there’s little else to expect other than the short side of the scoreboard. Nonetheless, the loss highlights a bigger issue: Kansas’ lack of depth and scoring in the frontcourt. Case in point, Kansas’ big men scored only four of the team’s 69 points in the loss.

Granted, a few hiccups are to be expected in the Big 12 (or any conference), but one loose thread, albeit a major one, is not going to unravel the entire yarn that the Jayhawks have spun to this point in the year. Nonetheless, matchups with West Virginia and Kentucky will be capped off by a battle with Baylor on Feb. 1, so there’s little time for Kansas to lick its wounds.

On the other side of the ball, Kentucky fans are likely just as puzzled by their team’s most recent misstep against the Volunteers of Tennessee (82-80). Yes, it’s now two years in a row that Kentucky has faltered in a trip to Knoxville, but the Wildcats of a year ago are a vastly different team than this year’s rambunctious bunch.

That said, there’s still no excuse for not bringing your A-game. And the Wildcats suffered turning the ball over 14 times on the night and shooting just 25 percent (6-of-24) from 3-point range. But that’s not to take anything away from Tennessee and senior guard Robert Hubbs III who poured in 25 points in the win, the school’s first win over an opponent in the top five of the AP Poll since 2010.

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