Despite having to share the regular season title with Kansas State, there’s no doubt who is the better team, and the more deserving Big 12 tournament (and regular season) champion, as Kansas won against their inner-state rivals for a third time this season, not leaving much doubt to the identity of the superior team.
I think how this season played out this year, I think it means a lot. And our fans, they have a lot of bragging rights now that this game is over.
It was a weird season for the Big 12, suffering from the departure of Mizzou to the SEC, while Texas continued to underachieve, and Oklahoma State and Kansas State rose to some national prominence. It was the first time since 1980 that the Wildcats and Jayhawks played for the conference title, resulting in a record crowd of 19,256 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
And it wasn’t that close from the start, as Kansas eventually won 70-54, led by senior Jeff Withey, scoring 17 points, grabbing 9 rebounds and doing the usual job on defense while taking care of it on offense as well, while Elijah Jonshon and Ben McLemore suffered from bad shooting days (combined 5-16 from the field).
I felt like this game had to be played. I think we fed into it, and I think they did, too, and at the end of the day, it was a championship game, and I felt it had to be played for this to be decided.
It was bad offense, awful offense from Kansas and KSU all through the first half, before things changed a little bit in pace during the second. But Kansas got the stops the Wildcats couldn’t, and despite winning a share of its first league title since 1977 under first-year coach Bruce Weber, Kansas State, ranked 11th in the nation before the tournament, have a long way to go before their up to par with the most dominant team in the conference, despite their struggles in weird losses earlier this season.
The good news for Kansas after such an atrocious display from their star-guards who started the game was the performance of Naadir Tharpe, who tends to shine in bigger moments, scoring 12 points in the 17 minutes he was on the floor, while also enjoying a solid game from freshman Perry Ellis, who scored 12 points in 13 minutes.
Today was probably the poorest we played all week offensively in the first half. but we look up and we’re still up eight because we defended so well. I think we’re deserving to be in the discussion. think we’ll be for sure one of the five or six most highly ranked teams on the seed line.
Will Kansas be a number one seed? Indiana will be, despite failing to reach the tournament final. Gonzaga will be as well. Louisville are impossible to ignore. Now it’s a matter of how much the committee like Duke, and they usually do. Despite not being as easy to vote for as the Blue Devils, I think the regular season – conference double warrant the Jayhawks in a difficult season the number one seed.