Kansas Jayhawks Duo Key to Regaining Big 12 Supremacy

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 06: Kansas Jayhawks center Udoka Azubuike (35) celebrates with Kansas Jayhawks guard Devon Dotson (11) after a play in action during a Champions Classic game between the Michigan State Spartans and the Kansas Jayhawks on November 6, 2018 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianpolis, Indiana. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks team finds itself in an unfamiliar position this season. Not only are they looking up at top-ranked Baylor in the conference standings, but they are doing so because of a rare Big 12 home loss. For the first time in 14 seasons, this program is not defending a conference crown, but rather looking to regain its league-wide supremacy. The loss to the Bears is their only defeat in conference play, and they have since won eight straight overall. The Jayhawks duo of Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike has given them an inside-out presence that few teams can match.

Kansas Jayhawks Duo Key to Regaining Big 12 Supremacy

Running The Show

As a freshman, Dotson was a starter from day one, but things weren’t always smooth sailing. He averaged over 12 points a night for the season but scored under nine a game in the Jayhawks seven conference losses. He has raised his level of play as a sophomore. Dotson is contributing 18 points, 4.5 assists, and 4 rebounds a night. The Charlotte native is the engine that makes this team go. His speed in the open floor puts tremendous pressure on opposing defenses. He can finish at the rim as well as any guard in the country.

The 6’3 point guard has scored in double figures in all but one game this season. He has also topped 20 points seven different times. His three-point shooting has been off this season, at under 29 percent. He makes up for that by being so efficient inside the arc. Kansas is heavily reliant on his production. The one game he failed to reach double digits was the home loss to conference-leading Baylor shortly after 2020 began. Dotson had a career-high 11 assists as he produced his second career double-double in this past weekend’s victory over TCU. He has the ability to control the game with his scoring, passing, and pace of play.

Biggest Man On the Court

Dotson is charged with running the team and making his impact on the perimeter. Inside the paint, the other part of the Jayhawks duo is doing his best to dominate. Azubuike is usually the biggest man on the court, and as a senior, he is finally learning how to use that to his advantage more times than not. Over the last two seasons, the big man from Nigeria was extremely productive. The problem was he struggled to stay on the court. As a sophomore, he was beset by foul trouble and had to spend too much time sitting next to Coach Self. Last season his campaign was cut short to nine games due to injuries.

This year he has played in all 23 games and is averaging a career-high 27 minutes a night. The extended playing time allows him to impact the game for longer stretches, and Kansas is a tough team to deal with when he is on the court. Azubuike is averaging nearly a double-double with 13 points and just under 10 rebounds a game. He is also shooting 75% from the field. His size, footwork, and hands allow him to get great post position and easy finishes. He has also grown on the defensive end. Playing with more discipline and patience means he is fouling a lot less. For the season, he has 10 double-doubles and three 20 point games.

Rock Chalk, Title Talk

The Kansas Jayhawks (20-3, 7-1) is in good shape both nationally and in the Big 12 race. They are in line to get a high seed in the NCAA tournament. However, they have other business to tend to first. The Jayhawks duo of Dotson and Azubuike will look to help this program regain its supremacy in the Big 12 before setting their eyes on loftier goals.

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