Kansas Jayhawks: Road to Another Big 12 Title Begins Now


The Kansas Jayhawks won an 11th straight Big 12 Conference regular season championship this year.

A great accomplishment no doubt, but a fact that means nothing as of now.

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The path to a fourth NCAA Championship will start next week, but now the focus is on the Big 12 Tournament which begins for the Jayhawks at 1:30 p.m. today against ninth-seeded TCU.

The Horned Frogs battled Kansas close both times this year, losing by three at home and nine in Lawrence.

Don’t look for that to be the case today.

In the 18-year history of this tournament, it has pretty much been the Jayhawks, and every one else.

Kansas’ Big 12 Tournament accomplishments include:

  • Winning the first three titles from 1997 to 1999
  • Winning nine of the 18 tournament championships
  • Playing in a total of 10 tournament championship games, losing only once
  • Winning by the largest margin (27) in a tournament championship game, 87-60 against Missouri in 1997
  • Not going two years without a tournament championship since 2004 and 2005

The final statistic would change if the Jayhawks fail to win this year.

Iowa St. knocked off the defending champions last year in the semi-finals, and will be the biggest challenger to Kansas again this year.

As the second seed, the Cyclones are on the opposite end of the bracket, and would not meet the Jayhawks until the championship game — which could go along way toward building a great rivalry between the two teams.

First however, Kansas must deal with a pesky TCU squad that took down Kansas State in the opening round, 67-65.

Pesky can only get you so far, and it should keep the game close, but that’s it.

Perry Ellis, the Jayhawks’ leading scorer and rebounder, should be back after missing the regular season finale at Oklahoma with a knee injury.

He will wear a brace, according to head coach Bill Self, and the coaches will monitor his progress.

It shouldn’t matter how healthy he is, as the Jayhawks are just too talented and deep for a Horned Frog team that is ranked 150-plus in the country in scoring, field-goal percentage, and defensive rebounding.

Not to mention, they rank 341st out of 345 Division I schools in free-throw percentage.

When a team can’t do the little things well, it makes it that much harder to overcome a talent gap.

In its three-point home loss Jan. 28 to the Jayhawks, TCU shot 15-29 from the charity stripe, erasing any chance at an upset.

Kansas should move on with an 8-10 point victory, and most likely run in to Baylor in the semis. It won’t be easy beating a physical Bears’ squad three times, but it can be done.

As predicted earlier, that would move the Jayhawks in to the championship game against the Cyclones of Iowa St., who would love nothing more than to knock Kansas out of the tournament two years in a row.

Let’s just hope Melvin Weatherwax didn’t find a ticket.

Next: Kansas Jayhawks: Four Unbelievable Facts from the Bill Self Era

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