Kansas punctuated a statement week with Saturday's 80-78 win over No. 9 Oklahoma State.
It was the Jayhawks' second conquest of an AP top-10 basketball team over the course of six days, with No. 8 Iowa State the victim on Monday.
And in its 4-0 conference start, KU has now beaten three ranked teams, including the preseason co-favorite Cowboys, as well as No. 25 Oklahoma and Iowa State on the road.
So here we go with these Jayhawks, who clearly carry the look as the Big 12 team to beat.
“I don't know a team who is more talented in the country or who is more deep than they are,” said OSU coach Travis Ford. “They just keep bringing them in. They're really good.”
And Ford is right. The Jayhawks overflow with talent – and stud freshman Andrew Wiggins didn't even play well Saturday – now seem to have their youthful roster rolling together and have a coach in Bill Self who's a master at developing squads as the calendar continues to flip toward March.
So it's all over in the Big 12, right?
Whoa, not so fast.
As Saturday's second half showed, the Cowboys aren't into conceding. Anything.
“I don't think it's a moral victory, but we'll walk out of here with our heads held high, no matter what,” Ford said. “We did a lot of things good (in the second half), so in that aspect, there were a lot good things that we did do. There's a lot of things we've got to do better at.
“We were down 17 at half. So there are some things we've got to do better. I'm disappointed we lost. We had the ball in our hands and a chance to win it. I'm disappointed.”
The Cowboys can't afford many more disappointments, although teams – including KU – are going to lose in the Big 12.
The league offers plenty of snake pits this season, with six Big 12 teams already making appearances in the Top 25 and a seventh – Texas – a good candidate to join the club this week.
“That's seven out of 10,” Self said. “And a lot of (conferences) have seven out of 14 or 15 or whatever. There's no off nights.
“Everybody's taken a positive step forward to get better. Statistically, it may not be the best league, but I don't think you'd have to look past one other league to make a claim that our league's as tough as any league in the country.”
No off nights. Therein lies hope for OSU and the few other teams that can count themselves as contenders.
Remember, too, that the Jayhawks started 7-0 in the conference a year ago, then went 7-4 the rest of the way. While still more than solid, something similar would create an opening for OSU.
This KU team's youth allows for the possibility of uneven performances, as well as the toll the season's grind can have on first-year players. The Jayhawks are still careless with the ball, too, a factor that didn't materialize Saturday until OSU freed itself from some foul distress and went on the attack defensively in the second half.
So, again, there's hope for the Cowboys.
Of course, there's history, too, in favor of the Jayhawks. They consider their claim on Big 12 championships a birthright, now at nine straight and counting. They're in the driver's seat again. And with 7-footer Joel Embiid developing as the college game's most impactful player, the Jayhawks can win in many ways and aren't overly reliant on shot-making.
KU has a two-game lead on OSU, yet still must visit Gallagher-Iba Arena in what promises to be an energized environment, an 8 p.m. tip on a Saturday following a full day of ESPN GameDay festivities.
So there's one game the Cowboys can get back. And they'll need a bit of help.
But there is hope.
And the Cowboys aren't conceding.