Kansas, Kansas State and Texas Tech all won on Saturday to keep the top of the Big 12 unchanged heading into the final week of the conference season. With two games remaining for all three teams, Kansas State and Texas Tech are tied at the top of the conference at 12-4. Kansas trails by just one game at 11-5.
Kansas had the first tip of the day at Oklahoma State at 11am. The Jayhawks played well from the beginning of the game. On offense Kansas was trying to attack the basket early. Devon Dotson tried driving to the basket twice early. He was successful the first time but blocked on his second attempt. On defense the Jayhawks were all over Oklahoma State but the Cowboys made several tough long distance shots. The Cowboys can shoot or at least they could today. Although Kansas’ defense was tough, Oklahoma State was bailed out several times early with long three-point shots.
We actually defended them better than what it looked like sometimes because they made some hard shots, but when McGriff went out, we caught a break.Bill Self
Dedric Lawson unsurprisingly led the Jayhawks with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Quentin Grimes played well offensively for a second consecutive game scoring 17 points to go with four rebounds and three assists. The frustrating part of Grimes’ game is that he is still making mistakes he should not be making. On the positive side, he is making visible progress and he continues to pass the ball well.
Quentin did a really good job of driving the ball today, better than he has (previously).Bill Self
Ochai Agbaji scored 11 points in 29 minutes. Agbaji had scored just two points in his previous two games and just 12 in his previous three games. He was much more aggressive looking for his shot today.
But really, Ochai (Agbaji), to me (was the best), because he’s labored the last two games, he was aggressive, he got up 10 shots, eight 3s, and he made a couple of huge ones.Bill Self
The Jayhawks play at Oklahoma on Tuesday and then finish the season in Lawrence on Saturday against Baylor. Kansas will likely need to win both of those game to have a chance to win a share of the Big 12 title.
It’ll be interesting down there, but at least going into the last week (of conference play), we’re still in the game.Bill Self
Kansas trailed Oklahoma State at the half 37-32. The Jayhawks outscored the Cowboys 40-30 in the second half with tough defense down the stretch and won 72-67.
The Kansas win put pressure on Texas Tech and Kansas State to win their games or fall into a tie with Kansas.
Texas Tech was up over 20 points early at TCU before the Horned Frogs cut the score to just four in the second half. TCU ran out of gas before they could finish the comeback. Texas Tech won 81-66 forcing a Kansas State win Saturday night if the Wildcats were to stay in a tie for the Big 12 lead.
Before the Saturday games, Bracketology projections mostly had Kansas as a #3 seed and Kansas State as a #6 seed. If you watch the two teams play that just doesn’t make sense. Kansas had some good wins early in the season when they still had Udoka Azubuike, but the committee normally will look at injuries and see that Kansas is not the same team they were earlier. I would argue that the seeding and selections should be based on what the team did with or without any particular player. After all, it is a team. However, that’s not how the tournament selection committee normally works. The Wildcats have looked so much better than the Jayhawks during the conference season after their first two games. The Wildcats are more experienced and that’s obvious when you watch them play. Yes, Kansas just recently defeated Kansas State in Lawrence but everybody loses in Allen Fieldhouse.
On Saturday, Kansas State had to take on a tough Baylor team in Manhattan. The Wildcats started off hot gaining a 21-7 lead early in the first half. Baylor fought back and cut the deficit to just two point, 32-30, at the half. The second half was just about as close but you never really felt like the Wildcats were going to let this game get away.
Dean Wade was 9-for-15 from the field and scored 20 points. Kamau Stokes was solid with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting and added four rebounds and five assists. Barry Brown Jr. scored just ten points but added seven rebounds.
After three big games in the Big 12 on Saturday, the standings look like this:
|W – L||GB|
|Kansas State||12 – 4||—|
|Texas Tech||12 – 4||—|
|Kansas||11 – 5||1|
|Baylor||10 – 6||2|
Baylor fell out of the race for the Big 12 title with its loss to Kansas State. The remaining schedules for the top three teams are as follows:
|Kansas State||Texas Tech||Kansas|
|Mon @ TCU (6-10)||Mon vs Texas (8-8)||Tue at Oklahoma (6-10)|
|Sat vs Oklahoma (6-10)||Sat at Iowa State (9-7)||Sat vs Baylor (10-6)|
Monday is huge for the Big 12 race. I can’t see Kansas State losing at home Saturday against Oklahoma. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen but it’s very unlikely. So, that means Kansas State can likely end Kansas’ conference championship streak at 14 years with a win Monday night at TCU. Although Texas Tech also plays Monday night, the Red Raiders could lose either of their last two games. The college basketball world will be watching Kansas State at TCU on Monday. The greatest conference championship streak in college basketball history could take a massive hit Monday night.