Kansas Jayhawks: Quest for a 10th Big 12 Tourney Title


The Kansas Jayhawks have dominated the Big 12 Conference since its inception in 1996.

After wrapping up an 11th consecutive regular season title this year, they are now playing for their 10th tournament championship in 19 years.

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It wasn’t easy as the Jayhawks had to knock off a pesky TCU team in the quarterfinals, before defeating Baylor Friday, 62-52, in the semifinals.

It was the third time this season Kansas knocked off the 19th-ranked Bears, and with a banged up Perry Ellis and no Cliff Alexander, it was an impressive win from start to finish.

As head coach Bill Self said, it wasn’t pretty to watch, but a game against physical Baylor rarely is.

"“I think sometimes when it’s not very artistic, people say, ‘You didn’t play well,'” Self told the media after the game. “But if we played a pretty game with Baylor, they would have beat our butts.”"

Today’s championship game could be the opposite.

Iowa St. runs more of a run-and-gun, high-powered offense, than the half-court game Baylor usually plays.

The Jayhawks will have to make sure their transition defense is solid, and will need Ellis to be at least near 100 percent.

Georges Niang, a big man who can hit from the outside, and Monte Morris, who hit a buzzer-beater against Texas in the quarters, can put a ton of pressure on the Jayhawks’ defense.

Kansas will need help from everyone down the line from floor general Frank Mason III to possibly even seldom-used Svi Mykhailiuk.

The game could get chippy as this match-up is starting to turn in to a little bit of a rivalry, especially considering the Cyclones knocked Kansas out of this tournament last year.

Their fans have traveled from Ames in droves to Kansas City, and both teams know what is at stake today.

The Jayhawks may have wrapped up a two seed in the NCAA Tournament, but they take pride in filling their trophy case.

If Iowa St. wins, it would be their second in a row and some bragging rights over the Jayhawks and their fans (key word being some).

It should be a good contest, and more high-scoring than an average Jayhawk contest.

Kansas averages 71 points per game, but scored 81 in a loss and 89 in a win this year against the Cyclones.

Look for Kelly Oubre, Jr. to excel today.

His athleticism should come in to play as Kansas can open up the floor on offense more so than against the tight zone Baylor played against them.

The freshman has scored in double-figures five of his past six games, and instead of hitting the “rookie wall,” has turned his game up a notch.

A win won’t come easy for either team, but one thing is for certain.

It will be a fun one for the fans.

Next: Predicting the Big 12 Tournament

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