Commentary

Kansas, best of the Big 12

Updated: January 31, 2011, 4:37 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Kansas State came to Lawrence, Kan., on Saturday night trying to redeem a disappointing season but they left on the bad side of blowout city, baby! Allen Fieldhouse was rocking and rolling as the Jayhawks did not give Frank Martin's team any shot of winning the game.

It was also an emotional night at the Phog. Jayhawks forward Thomas Robinson, who suffered the tragic losses of his grandparents and his mother in a very short period of time, returned to the court. The Jayhawk fans gave him a standing ovation and he responded with 17 points and nine rebounds.

But it was an impressive team effort that gave Kansas its 20th win of the season. Bill Self's team did a great job getting the ball inside for easy hoops. The Jayhawks lead the nation in field goal percentage because they make the extra pass to get open shots.

The Morris twins, Markieff and Marcus, were simply dominant. They combined for 30 points and 18 rebounds and it could have been worse for the K-State Wildcats -- neither brother played 25 minutes.

This Kansas team can afford to be unselfish because they are talented, deep and dynamic. Guys like Josh Selby, Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar can shoot from long distance while there is power inside with the Morris twins and Robinson. Tyshawn Taylor can also penetrate and dish the rock.

Before the season started, I ranked Kansas lower in the Big 12. I thought Kansas State was the team to beat coming off of last year's solid performance. Yet it has become frustration city for Martin, whose team missed multiple layups inside on Saturday. Martin told our Erin Andrews that his team didn't make a layup for four weeks!

Well, my friends, I have learned my lesson -- the Big 12 championship goes through Lawrence. I know some folks in Austin may have something to say about that, especially since the Longhorns snapped Kansas' 69-game home win streak, but the Jayhawks are a legitimate national championship contender.

Remember, this program lost three players to the NBA -- Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins and Xavier Henry -- yet they have remained top-five all season long. That is why Bill Self was my midseason Coach of the Year leader.

The fans at the Phog have had a lot to smile about this season.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.