Kansas has shown the ability to step up its play in opposing arenas, something coach Bill Self's club struggled with at times two seasons ago en route to a national championship.
The top-ranked Jayhawks seek the outright regular-season Big 12 title Saturday at Oklahoma State, where the 2007-08 team suffered its final loss.Kansas (27-1, 13-0) was presented with its sixth straight conference trophy following Wednesday night's 81-68 home victory over Oklahoma, and needs one win over its final three games to avoid sharing it. The Jayhawks end the season against rivals Kansas State and Missouri as they attempt to join their 2001-02 squad as the only teams from any school to finish unbeaten in regular-season Big 12 play.Three more wins will give the program, first coached by basketball inventor Dr. James Naismith, its 2,000th victory. There's also the matter of closing in on a No. 1 NCAA tournament seed, which would make the road to a second national championship in three seasons a little easier.Kansas was 37-3 in 2007-08, suffering those losses at Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma State. After a 61-60 defeat in Stillwater, the Jayhawks reeled off 13 straight wins, including a 75-68 overtime victory over Memphis for their fifth national crown.This season's team has already accomplished something that 2007-08 edition couldn't by earning victories in Manhattan, Kan., and Austin, Texas, during its current 13-game win streak, one shy of matching its 14-0 start."We play better when the situations are at their toughest," Self said. "This team was able to go to win at places that team was not able to win at, against quality competition. That (2007-08) team was the best we've had since we've been here, but this team has a chance to get to that point; we're just not there yet."Winning at Self's alma mater, where he played from 1982-85, could move Kansas a step closer, but the Jayhawks have lost in seven of their last 12 trips there. They didn't visit Stillwater last season, though they did beat the Cowboys 78-67 at home."That team in '08 didn't win in Austin, didn't win in Manhattan and didn't win in Stillwater," Self said. "It'd be nice for this team to definitely make a sweep of that, to do something that other team labored so much to do."Kansas has been particularly dominant in its last two wins -- both at home. Led by resurgent freshman Xavier Henry, Kansas topped Colorado and Oklahoma by a combined 33 points while shooting 53.3 percent.Henry averaged 23.5 points while making 18 of 29 shots in those victories. He's scored in double figures in five consecutive games after averaging 6.2 points in his previous five. He's scoring 13.9 per game on the season.The Jayhawks will face an Oklahoma State team that boasts the Big 12's leading scorer in James Anderson (22.5 ppg).Anderson was held to 14 points Wednesday night as the Cowboys (19-8, 7-6) had their three-game win streak snapped, 69-59 at No. 21 Texas.To beat the Jayhawks, Oklahoma State will likely need a better effort from the junior guard, who has averaged 8.5 points on 30-percent shooting in two career matchups with Kansas.Jayhawks leading scorer Sherron Collins (15.1 ppg) has been a similarly small factor in three meetings against the Cowboys, averaging 7.3 points.