Here we are on the morning of the most important day of Big 12 college basketball. Saturday will determine who will be the Big 12 regular season champion and who will be able to cut down the nets. It will either be the Kansas Jayhawks or the Kansas State Wildcats, and it could be both of them.
The Jayhawks get to travel to Waco, TX to take on the Baylor Bears. They have had some nice games the past few weeks and this game will be no easy cake walk. The Bears have some motivation going since they have played horrible down the stretch and this game would be their redemption game if they figure out how to win. The one player the Jayhawks will need to focus on is Pierre Jackson. Jackson, was the 2013 Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year and is the leading scorer for the Bears. If they can stop Jackson and Isaiah Austin, the Jayhawks will keep their Big 12 crown.
The Bears head coach Scott Drew will have his guys ready and prepared to upset the Jayhawks and make sure they don’t make it nine straight. Baylor is looking to end a two-game losing streak which includes a 79-70 loss at Texas on March 4. The last time these two teams played, Kansas came out on top and held the bears to 44 points which was the fewest a Jayhawk team has allowed in a league game since Kansas held Nebraska to 39 points on 2-17-07 in Lawrence. Ben McLemore was the leading scorer in that game.
This game will follow the Oklahoma State and Kansas State game and if Kansas State loses and Kansas wins, the Jayhawks will keep the crown to themselves. Kansas head coach Bill Self hadn’t decided to let his team watch the Cowboys and Wildcats game in their hotel rooms before they play. “I don’t want them to burn energy worrying about K-State,” Self said in an interview with kusports.com. All we need to do is burn energy worrying about us and Baylor. That is hard to do sometimes. You watch a game that has implications on your season, and it’s hard not to get emotionally invested in a game like that. If I was picking one of the two, I’d rather play the first game than the second, but I don’t think it makes any difference.”
Self said winning on Saturday and taking the title, “Would be as cool as any we have won. I think for us to go through a tough stretch the way we did, it’d probably be as gratifying as any we’ve ever had. We still have a lot of work to get there, but I’m excited for Saturday.”
They have a chance to do something spectacular on Saturday in front of the Waco crowd, win and become the champion once again. They need all the energy they can get to make sure they don’t let slip up and lose. That would be very heartbreaking especially if somehow the Wildcats win.
As Elijah Johnson said last week, they will come out and lay everything out on the court. Johnson and fellow seniors, Kevin Young, Jeff Withey and Travis Releford will play focused, play aggressive and with just this game on their mind. McLemore will show the Bear fans why he should be Player of the Year and score 25 points against them. I really believe that we will see the coming out party for Perry Ellis. Ellis will help lead this team to a victory and help them contain their crown.
Saturday is the last step for the Jayhawks and a step that they will take with energy, passion and caution. The Bears will try to trip them several times but the Jayhawks will prevail and come out with a victory. So sit back and enjoy the last two terrific games on Saturday, one in Waco and the other in Stillwater.