Kansas freshman center Joel Embiid limped out of Gallagher-Iba Arena on late Saturday night, appearing to favor his back as the fifth-ranked Jayhawks boarded the bus and left Oklahoma State with a 72-65 loss.
Embiid finished 13 points and 13 rebounds, but the bigger story was the status of the back issues that have slowed him at times during the Big 12 season. Embiid appeared to reaggravate the injury late in Saturday’s loss. He exited the game and stretched out the back before returning to the game.
“He just tweaked his back,” Self said.
In the moments after Kansas’ loss, that was about as specific as Self would get. Embiid missed a week — and a game — in mid February while recovering from knee and back issues. He first tweaked his back in a victory against West Virginia on Feb. 8. After the game, Self said he didn’t know how Embiid might be affected moving forward.
“I don’t know,” Self said, before adding: “I have no idea.”Kansas clinches Big 12 title outright before tipoff
Even before Saturday night’s results, No. 5 Kansas clinched the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 tournament when Texas lost at Oklahoma.
The Jayhawks then clinched their 10th straight Big 12 championship outright when Kansas State handled Iowa State in Manhattan. Texas and Iowa State each suffered their sixth Big 12 losses on Saturday, while Kansas began the day with two losses and just three games remaining.
The Jayhawks will open the Big 12 tourney at 2 p.m. on March 13 at the Sprint Center. They will play the winner of the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds.
• Kansas’ Bill Self coached his 700th game as a Division I head coach. He entered Saturday with 529 career wins, the eighth most for a coach in his first 700 games. Among the coaches he trails: KU alum Adolph Rupp, who won 593 of his first 700 at Kentucky; KU alum Dean Smith, who won 539 of 700 at North Carolina; and former Kansas coach Roy Williams, who had 566 wins through 700 games.
• ESPN’s College Game Day program broadcasted from Gallagher-Iba Arena on Saturday morning. The fan turnout was low during the morning telecasts. The estimated attendance was thought to be in the hundreds. Kansas entered the night 5-3 all-time while playing a game featured on Game Day. The last loss came on Feb. 4, 2012, at Missouri.
• Former Kansas All-American forward Nick Collison, who plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder, made the short trip to Stillwater and sat behind the KU bench on Saturday. Also sitting behind the bench: Former KU assistant and current Tulsa coach Danny Manning. Oklahoma City Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook also sat courtside amidst a large contingent of Thunder players.