Campus Corner

KU chalkboard: Iowa State’s loss to Baylor clears way for Kansas’ 11th straight Big 12 title

Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg questioned a call during the first half of Wednesday’s game against Baylor in Ames, Iowa.
Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg questioned a call during the first half of Wednesday’s game against Baylor in Ames, Iowa. The Associated Press

The sound you heard late on Wednesday night was a collective — and euphoric — sigh coming from Mt. Oread here on the Kansas campus.

No. 19 Baylor cut down No. 12 Iowa State 79-70 on Wednesday night in Ames, cracking open the door for Kansas to clinch a share of its 11th straight Big 12 title in the next five days.

For Kansas and coach Bill Self, it was an unexpected midweek gift.

After Kansas’ loss at K-State on Monday, the Jayhawks’ Big 12 lead had shrunk to a half-game lead over Iowa State and the Cyclones looked positioned to claim a share of the Big 12 — and perhaps threaten to end the Jayhawks’ streak of titles.

Then Baylor drained seven straight threes inside Hilton Coliseum, handing Iowa State its first home loss of the season. It was Baylor’s first ever victory in Ames and a stunning scene — or at least as stunning as any result can be in the wild Big 12.

By the end of the night, the Bears made 14 of 26 from three and hit their last seven from deep, becoming the first team (other than Kansas) to win in Ames since 2012.

The result also means this: Kansas, 11-4 in the Big 12, can clinch a share of the Big 12 title with home victories over Texas on Saturday and West Virginia on Monday. The Jayhawks still have to travel to Oklahoma next Saturday, and the Sooners, 10-5, still control their own destiny in terms of grabbing a piece of the title. But as long as KU avoids any home setbacks, they will collect another ring.

Iowa State, 10-5, meanwhile, needs help. The Cyclones play at K-State on Saturday before playing host to Oklahoma on March 2. To win a share, Iowa State needs to make up one game on Kansas during the season’s final three games — most likely by winning out and having KU drop its finale at Oklahoma.

On Monday night, the Jayhawks were reeling and frustrated. On Wednesday, they were offered a lifeline from the hand of Baylor coach Scott Drew. Here’s a look at the projections for the rest of the Big 12 season, via KenPom.com.

KANSAS (11-4)

Date

Opponent

KenPom projection

2-28

Texas

W, 70-64 (75%)

3-3

West Virginia

W, 77-70 (76%)

3-7

At Oklahoma

L, 73-69 (33%)

FINAL PROJECTION: 13-5

IOWA STATE (10-5)

Date

Opponent

KenPom projection

2-28

At Kansas State

W, 74-70 (66%)

3-2

Oklahoma

W, 79-76 (59%)

3-7

At TCU

W, 73-72 (54%)

FINAL PROJECTION: 12-6

OKLAHOMA (10-5)

Date

Opponent

KenPom projection

2-28

TCU

W, 70-60 (85%)

3-2

At Iowa State

L, 79-76 (41%)

3-7

Kansas

W, 73-69 (67%)

FINAL PROJECTION: 12-6

WEST VIRGINIA (10-5)

Date

Opponent

KenPom projection

2-28

At Baylor

L, 72-65 (24%)

3-3

At Kansas

L, 77-70 (24%)

3-7

Oklahoma State

W, 70-65 (71%)

FINAL PROJECTION: 11-7

To reach Rustin Dodd, call 816-234-4937 or send email to rdodd@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rustindodd.

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