Kansas Baylor Basketball

Kansas claims ninth straight Big 12 title despite loss at Baylor

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Even when they lose, they win.

Kansas appeared to be sleep-walking at Baylor, losing 81-58 tonight, but still took home a share of the Big 12 title. Kansas has earned at least a share of the league crown in each of the past nine seasons. The Jayhawks were assured of the milestone when Oklahoma State beat Kansas State earlier in the day. The Jayhawks swept the Wildcats in season play, so they get the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 tournament.

That may not seem quite fair, but there’s every chance that Big 12 opponents will get the last laugh. Kansas has – at least temporarily – fallen off the No. 1 seed line in the NCAA tournament, and once again showed the baffling inconsistency that plagued the team during a three-game February losing streak. The inability to create game-saving runs when playing behind may come back to haunt the Jayhawks on the bigger stage of late March.

Bill Self got strong play from his freshmen in the loss. Ben McLemore splashed 23 points, and backup big man Perry Ellis chipped in twelve.

Pierre Jackson went off for Baylor, throwing down an epic open-floor dunk in the game’s final minutes. It was the highlight-reel capper to a stellar senior day performance that saw the point guard score 28 points to go with six boards, ten assists and two steals. Forward Cory Jefferson, who had not hit a trey all season long, went 3-3 from deep as part of a 25-point effort. Isaiah Austin and A.J. Walton were in double figures as well.

The Bears had a great night in front of RGIII and Pierre Jackson’s dancin’ grandma, but their tourney hopes at this point are best summed up by this tweet from SI.com’s Andy Glockner:

The Bears will have to run the table in the Kansas/Oklahoma Invitational Big 12 Tournament in order to know they’re in the Big Dance.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.