The Kansas Jayhawks earned at least a share of the Big 12 Conference regular season title, even before they hit the court on Saturday.
So with the opportunity to win the Big 12 outright with a Jayhawk win at Baylor, Kansas must have felt relieved to a certain extent.
Consider where they were earlier in February.
They were in midst of a three game losing streak, their first such streak since 2005. This win would be a way to rebound and prove to everyone that they are Kansas, the cream of the crop in the Big 12.
Baylor, on the other hand, was desperate and playing for their NCAA Tournament lives.
Surprisingly, the result reflected Baylor’s sense of urgency, as they defeated Kansas, 81-58.
Although Head Coach Bill Self cannot be happy with his team’s performance, Baylor did play well and made shots. The Bears shot a remarkable 57.7% against Kansas, the best field goal percentage defensive team in the country.
Yes, it would have been nice for seniors Jeff Withey, Travis Releford, Kevin Young and Elijah Johnson to win their last regular season Big 12 game and bring home the Big 12 crown in winning fashion. And although Kansas State does share the crown with them, Kansas knows that they beat them twice in the regular season series and is the rightful owner as best in the Big 12.
The loss will refocus the Jayhawks for their Big 12 Tournament and NCAA Tournament runs. The Jayhawks understand that they have to come out with the intensity of a champion in every game they play from now until April because the one thing that is certain of this college basketball season is that no team is safe from being upset.
The good news for Kansas is that they lost three of their four conference games on the road. With the Big 12 Tournament being held in Kansas City, Mo., their home away from home, they will feel just like they are in Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo