Kansas Jayhawks: Predicting the Big 12 Tournament

4 of 4

Feb 14, 2015; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis (34) shoots a basket against Baylor Bears guard Lester Medford (11) in the second half at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas won the game 74-64. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Finals– Saturday, March 14, 2015

Game 9, 5:00 p.m. (ESPN)

(1) Kansas* vs. (2) Iowa St.*

Season Series: Tied 1-1; Iowa St., Won, 86-81, Jan. 17 at home; Kansas Won, 89-76, Feb. 2 at home

Summary: If any team can even come close to replacing the rivalry Kansas had with Missouri, it would be Iowa St.

While it’s foolish to think the Border War could so quickly be replaced, this new rivalry has certainly become heated.

Mar 7, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Frank Mason III (0) passes the ball behind Oklahoma Sooners forward Ryan Spangler (00) during the first half at Lloyd Noble Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

From ISU superfan Melvin Weatherwax going after Bill Self, Kansas giving Iowa St. its only two home losses in 42 games until this year, and the Cyclones knocking off the Jayhawks in the tournament last year, there is no shortage of drama when these two teams battle.

And a battle is what it will be when they meet in the finals.

The crowd will certainly be pro-KU, but that was the case last year, and it didn’t seem to deter the Cyclones, whose fans are usually the best travelers to the tournament outside of KU.

The game will be Iowa State’s offense versus KU’s defense, and should be close from start to finish. Last year’s contest was a game of runs, but look for this one to possibly stay within single-digits on both sides throughout.

In the end, Ellis, Mason and Co. will provide a nice inside/outside game that wears down a fast-paced Cyclone team.

Kansas is hungry for a championship tournament title, as a loss would mean it would go two years in a row without winning the tournament for the first time since 2004 and 2005.

It also could drop them to a 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.

That’s not happening here as Self and company will vindicate their regular season championship with a close victory against their new rival.

Prediction: Kansas 71, Iowa St. 69

Next: 100 Reasons it's Great to be a Kansas Jayhawk

More from Through the Phog