This article is part of our College Basketball Waiver Wire series.
Well, it finally happened: Kansas lost. The Jayhawks had been playing with fire and they finally got burned by the Sun Devils. It was a little surprising that Kansas was not able to avenge last year's lost, but that was between completely different teams. Even though they won't be No. 1 in next week's poll, the Jayhawks are still the class of the Big 12. The question is who can challenge them.
We can reasonably count out Baylor, Texas, West Virginia and Oklahoma State as not quite good enough to challenge for the Big 12 regular season title. Any or all of those teams could make the NCAA Tournament and/or beat Kansas at home. Kansas State and Iowa State could give Kansas problems if they are able to get healthy and all of their disparate parts integrate. That leaves Oklahoma, Texas Tech and TCU to try to stop coach Bill Self's conference dominance. It would probably be wise to take the Jayhawks over the field.
Let's look at some of the players who could help as we head toward conference play next weekend.
Elijah Thomas, forward, Clemson Tigers
The 6-foot-9 senior kept the Tiger ship afloat (much like "The Life of Pi") while Marcquise Reed was out with a knee injury. Reed returned on Saturday, but Thomas averaged 19.3 points on 77.8 percent from the field and 10.3 rebounds in the three games that the guard missed and helped Clemson win twice. Thomas averages 13.7 points on 70.6 percent