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Kansas escapes Kansas State but can't hide its flaws

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Kansas tops Kansas State on last-second shot (1:12)

Tied at 88 heading into the game's final seconds, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk takes the ball the length of the court to hit the game-winning shot for Kansas in a 90-88 victory over Kansas State. (1:12)

Let's start with this: Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk did not simply travel on his game-winning fast-break layup in Kansas' 90-88 win over rival Kansas State on Tuesday night.

He bounced through the lane like David Bowie and Mick Jagger on that abandoned road in the "Dancing In The Street" music video. He skated. He jogged from somewhere near the 3-point line to the basket.

Refs should have called it. But it's not a reviewable play, so blame the crew and the limitations of the NCAA's instant-replay regulations.

Plus, the Wildcats had a chance to seal a win but missed a late 3-pointer prior to Svi's Running Man layup.

So Kansas won and preserved its 47-game winning streak at Allen Fieldhouse. No need to panic. The Jayhawks remain favored to win the Big 12 and secure their 13th consecutive conference title, a record established by the dominant UCLA teams of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

But ... should Kansas and its fans worry? Maybe.

The Jayhawks escaped on Tuesday night. Barely. The same issues Bill Self's squad masked in previous games with a rare talent pool nearly cost Kansas a win Tuesday night.

Here are three problems affecting Kansas:

The limits of its big men: Kansas State nearly knocked off Kansas at the Phog by collecting easy buckets in the paint down the stretch. The Wildcats connected on 60 percent of their shots inside the arc against Kansas. Since losing Udoka Azubuike -- who led Kansas with 1.6 blocks per game and a 12.6 block percentage -- to a season-ending wrist injury last month, Kansas has surrendered a 51 percent clip inside the arc. That's nearly 10 percent higher than its average inside the arc this season.

And that warrants a question. Without a dominant big man, how far can Kansas go? Landen Lucas (18 points, 12 rebounds) finished with an impressive double-double, and Carlton Bragg added seven points, but the duo finished with just one block. Kansas State's frontcourt of Wesley Iwundu, Dean Wade and D.J. Johnson finished with 47 points combined (14-for-23 on 2-pointers).

Kansas' bigs are serviceable but not great post players, especially on the defensive end. The Jayhawks don't have a Perry Ellis or a Joel Embiid this season, so they'll need Lucas, Bragg and Josh Jackson to stay healthy and avoid foul trouble. The latter, however, is another concern.

Jackson's foul and turnover trouble: The potential No. 1 pick in this summer's NBA draft finished with 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists in Tuesday's win. He also picked up his third technical foul of the season and drew a two-minute benching from Self. Issues with fouls have plagued Jackson this season.

He fouled out against TCU in the team's Big 12 opener, the fifth time this season he's drawn four or more fouls. He's also committed turnovers on 16.2 percent of his possessions this season, per KenPom.com. He has committed four turnovers in four games this season.

He's one of the most dominant and unstoppable players in America. He’s still working on his self-discipline, though. Clearly.

Free throws matter: Kansas has made just 61.2 percent of its free throws this season. That's good for No. 336 in the country. It's another flaw many ignored as Kansas continued to win. On Tuesday night, however, the Jayhawks missed 7 of 20 attempts at the charity stripe in a two-point game.

This is worth monitoring as the season progresses. Kansas' greatest challenge is its failures at the free throw line.