The Big 12 will once again have “One True Champion” in football. A season after the conference was roundly mocked for a slogan that wasn’t put into practice when Baylor beat TCU but both teams were declared co-champions when they finished with the same league record, the Big 12 will institute a tiebreaker procedure this fall.
In the KU weight room, Ben Heeney gathered himself for another round of box jumps during a morning workout with Andrea Hudy, KU’s lead strength and conditioning coordinator for the men’s basketball program. This is what it looks like when a former All-Big 12 linebacker preps for the biggest opportunity of his life, a chance to be selected in the NFL Draft and fulfill a dream of playing professional football.
Rick Barnes arrived at Texas from Clemson and turned the Longhorns’ program into one of the best. But his last four years didn’t measure up to the first 13, and now he’s out according to several media reports.
Nothing says program and conference underachievement like teams explaining unexpected losses with mumbled responses and puffy eyes, and the Big 12 produced another sad locker room on Sunday with second-seeded Kansas’ stunning loss to seventh-seeded Wichita State.
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The Big 12 got seven teams in the NCAA Tournament, including five among the top five seeds. Only the ACC got as many on the top lines. Now, the Big 12 looks to reverse its NCAA Tournament fortunes, a losing record over the past two years.
Iowa State would prefer not to trail in games by double digits. But the Cyclones rode playing with a deficit all the way to a second consecutive Big 12 Tournament championship. Iowa State defeated Kansas 70-66, and this time the Cyclones shoveled out of a 17-point hole. That’s five straight victories, and in all five the Cyclones trailed by at least 10 points.
As the Big 12 Tournament party celebrations were shut down in the Power & Light District early Sunday morning, the clean-up crew moved in with only eight hours to wipe out every trace before Live Block restaurants opened for lunch.
It’s been apparent for some time now that this particular team is as matchup-dependent as any coach Bill Self has had in 12 seasons at KU. We knew that before this week, of course, so seeing it packed into three days at the Big 12 Tournament was a more reinforcement than revelation.
No. 9-ranked Kansas squandered a 17-point lead and watched No. 13 Iowa State sprint to the Big 12 Tournament championship with a 70-66 victory on Saturday night at the Sprint Center. After falling behind 40-23 in the early moments of the second half, Iowa State shot 51 percent in the final 20 minutes and dashed Kansas’ hopes for its first Big 12 Tournament title since 2013.
Kansas’ Perry Ellis returned from a knee sprain and played two games during the Big 12 Tournament. But after being limited in both a semifinal victory over Baylor and championship game loss to Iowa State, would Ellis have been better off resting another weekend to prepare for the NCAA Tournament? Kansas coach Bill Self didn’t think so.
As KU coach Self stood winding down in a Sprint Center corridor Friday, he groped for the right words to describe KU’s identity. He finally found them when he blurted out, “I would say our identity would be ‘find a way.’ ” And after grinding past Baylor 62-52 on Friday at the Sprint Center, his Jayhawks are a win from doubling down with a victory win in the Big 12 Tournament title game Saturday night.
Former Kansas forward Cliff Alexander has shed some light on the NCAA investigation that derailed his freshman season. In an interview this week with 120Sports.com, Alexander his mother “got tricked into something” when she received impermissible benefits that could have compromised Alexander’s amateur status.
As Stephen Curry leads the Golden State Warriors through the NBA playoffs, draining impossible shots on a nightly basis — and generally making a mockery of the physics of basketball — the final seconds of a NCAA Tournament game seven years ago in Detroit have taken on a deeper meaning. That game against Kansas produced The Greatest Shot That Stephen Curry Never Took.
College football analyst Brian Fremeau, whose work can be seen at FootballOutsiders, has released his 2015 projections for his Fremeau Efficiency Index ratings, and well, it does not look good for Kansas football.
Brace yourselves for some late-night — and early-morning — basketball during the month of July. When Kansas heads to South Korea to represent the United States at the World University Games, the time difference will play a major factor in the viewing habits of fans back home.