Kansas Jayhawks: Predicting the Big 12 Tournament

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Feb 14, 2015; Lawrence, KS, USA; Baylor Bears guard Lester Medford (11) tries to stop Kansas Jayhawks guard Frank Mason III (0) on a break away in the second half at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas won the game 74-64. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Semifinals– Friday, March 13, 2015

Game 7, 6:00 p.m. (ESPN or ESPN2)

(1) Kansas* vs. (4) Baylor*

Season Series: Kansas, 2-0; W, 56-55, Jan. 7 at Baylor; W, 74-64, Feb. 14 at home

Summary: If they Jayhawks are going to win the tournament this year, it means they will have to beat a very good Baylor team for a third time.

Feb 7, 2015; Stillwater, OK, USA; Kansas Jayhawks forward Jamari Traylor (31) attempts a shot against Oklahoma State Cowboys forward/center Michael Cobbins (20) during the first half at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears have exposed Kansas on the offensive end of the boards this season, 30-16, which has been a weakness for the Jayhawks all year.

However, Kansas found a way to exploit their zone with great interior passing from Jamari Traylor and other bigs, and decent 3-point shooting.

Even though Ellis is banged up, he is playing the best basketball of his career.

That will be key for this game, especially if he can rebound like he has the past four games — averaging 8.5 (not counting last game where he was injured), to go along with 23.5 points per game.

Reserve big man Landen Lucas had a double-double (13 points and 12 rebounds), in Ellis’ absence Saturday, and a repeat performance could go along way in containing Gathers.

Baylor has knocked KU out of the tournament twice recently, but a deep Jayhawk team will prevail and head to the championship game.

Prediction: Kansas 60, Baylor 55

Game 8, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN or ESPN2)

(2) Iowa St.* vs. (6) Oklahoma St.*

Season Series: Iowa St., 2-0; W, 63-61, Jan. 6 at home; W, 70-65, Feb. 18 at Oklahoma St.

Summary: Sometimes when a team pulls off an upset, as Oklahoma St. is predicted to do here in the quarters, the fairy tale ends the next game.

Mar 2, 2015; Ames, IA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners guard Isaiah Cousins (11) defends Iowa State Cyclones forward Georges Niang (31) at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State beat Oklahoma 77-70. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

That will be the case here.

Iowa St. will stop at nothing for a chance to beat Kansas, and it’s not going to let a pesky Cowboy team get in its way.

In a year where talented teams in the best conference in the nation have upset each other all season, it would only be fitting that the two best teams are the last ones standing.

Forward Georges Niang has been called inconsistent, but he has shown up in big games (especially against Kansas), and will lead Iowa St. to an easy victory.

Prediction: Iowa St. 84, Oklahoma St. 64

*Projected to play based on quarterfinal victories

Next: Breakdown -- Big 12 Finals