Kansas Jayhawks Take on Baylor Bears in Big 12 Semis


Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CST Friday at Kansas City’s Sprint Center.

The Kansas Jayhawks escaped the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament Thursday with a 64-59 victory over TCU.

Now the fun begins.

The Baylor Bears lost to Kansas twice during the regular season in ways that had to leave a sour taste in their mouths.

More from Kansas Jayhawks Basketball

After a January 28, 1-point home loss to the Jayhawks where they couldn’t even get a shot off before the final buzzer, the Bears blew a 13-point, first-half lead, only to end up losing by 10 February 14 at Allen Fieldhouse.

A victory in the Big 12 Tournament might just make up for both.

If it happens, offensive rebounding will most likely play a role.

The Bears are the tied for fourth in the nation in offensive rebounds per game, and grabbed 30 of them in two match-ups against Kansas, compared to the Jayhawks’ 16.

If Perry Ellis remains out with his knee injury, it will be that much harder for the Jayhawks to compete on the glass.

The power forward isn’t considered an exceptional rebounder, but he does lead his team with seven per game.

Rico Gathers on the other hand, is a monster on the boards.

He’s third in the country in rebounds with 11.7 per game, and his 4.9 offensive rebounds are second in the nation.

Despite living in the paint against TCU, (the only perimeter points in the first half were a Frank Mason III jumper at the buzzer) the Jayhawks need to score from outside of 15 feet to beat Baylor.

Three-point shooting is a must if the Jayhawks want to win, yet that has been their biggest weakness of late.

In two of their past three games, Kansas has failed to make a 3-pointer. They won both, and are only one of two teams (Nevada the other) to pull of that feat this season.

That’s playing with fire.

It won’t work against a team as talented as the Bears at a neutral site.

If the Jayhawks want to get out of their 5-for-38 slump from downtown, they could just watch this:

It might just bring back some of the swagger the Jayhawks had when they were 8-1 in Big 12 play.

With just six wins in their past 10 games, any they had seemed to be lost with the Cliff Alexander NCAA violation issue, and Ellis’ injury.

If the Wichita junior can fight through the pain and come back on the court Friday, it could be the lift they need to advance to an 11th conference tournament title game in 19 years.

Either way, make sure your popcorn is popped, because when the Kansas Jayhawks and Baylor Bears play, it’s usually a pretty big hit.

More from the Big 12 Tournament

Iowa St. beats Texas at the buzzer

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

More from Through the Phog