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Kansas State star Dean Wade now ‘doubtful’ for Big 12 tournament

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Kansas State will likely have to compete in this week’s Big 12 tournament without star senior forward Dean Wade.

Injuring his foot on Saturday in a Wildcat win over Oklahoma, Wade played the rest of the game, but later felt “discomfort in his foot,” according to Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber.

“We probably doubt he will be in the Big 12 Tournament,” Weber said about Wade on Monday. “But you never know. We are hoping for the best. But, at the same time, we want, if possible, to have him healthy down the road.”

Accustomed to playing in the postseason without Wade after he sat out last year’s NCAA tournament, this is not the news Kansas State was hoping for. The No. 1 seed in the Big 12 tournament has already been without sophomore guard Cartier Diarra for the last few weeks as losing Wade is another huge loss.

Wade is averaging 12.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game on the season while shooting 49 percent from the field and 41 percent from three-point range.

(H/t: Kellis Robinett, Kansas City Star)

Lagerald Vick won’t return to Kansas this season

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Kansas will play the postseason without senior Lagerald Vick as head coach Bill Self announced on Monday that he will not rejoin the team this season.

Vick has been away from the team on a leave of absence since Feb. 7 to attend to a personal matter. Before leaving the Jayhawks, Vick had an up-and-down senior season as he averaged 14.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.

Over the weekend, Kansas did not celebrate Senior Day with Vick not in attendance — although Self remembered his only senior on the roster in a press conference last week.

“People should remember Lagerald in a very favorable way,” Self said. “No question. We won three (league titles) and won 10 games in the NCAA Tournament in (his first) three years. You know, there’s not too many players out there in the country who can say that. And he’s played a role in that and, certainly, he got better over time.”

Although Vick wasn’t expected to return to the Jayhawks, this is the official end of his college career. Kansas will miss his 45 percent three-point shooting, as they’ve struggled at times with perimeter shooting this season.

Texas guard Kerwin Roach II will play in Big 12 tournament following suspension

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Texas guard Kerwin Roach II will be available for the Big 12 tournament after being suspended the past five games.

During a Big 12 Monday conference call, Longhorns head coach Shaka Smart confirmed Roach’s availability as his return should give Texas a major boost. Fighting for its tournament life, the Longhorns face Kansas in their first game of the Big 12 tournament on Thursday.

A playmaking senior guard, Roach is averaging 15.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for Texas this season. The Longhorns have lost four of their five games without Roach in the lineup during this recent suspension. They went from being in the field in many tournament projections to now fighting their way back into the Field of 68 during Roach’s suspension.

The Longhorns are 16-15 on the season as they need to beat the Jayhawks on Thursday to even remain in the bubble conversation. Texas split the regular-season series with Kansas as they try to win the rubber match to keep the NCAA tournament hopes alive.

Roach has been suspended three times during his college career, including his sophomore season of 2016-17, as well as the start of this season.

No. 18 K-State beats Oklahoma 68-53, wins share of Big 12

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MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kamau Stokes scored 19 points and No. 18 Kansas State clinched a share of the Big 12 regular-season title with a 68-53 victory over Oklahoma on Saturday night.

Barry Brown added 15 points and Dean Wade had 11 as the Wildcats (24-7, 14-4) finished atop the conference for the second time in 42 years.

Kansas State is co-champions with No. 8 Texas Tech (26-5, 14-4), which topped Iowa State 80-73 earlier Saturday.

Kristian Doolittle scored 14 points and Jamal Bieniemy 12 for the Sooners (19-12, 7-11).

K-State was dominant on the offensive boards, grabbing 11 rebounds and scoring 16 second-chance points.

Stokes started the second half by scoring eight straight points for the Wildcats, which gave K-State a 42-23 lead with 17 minutes to play.

The Wildcats never looked back and led by as many as 29 in the win.

BIG PICTURE

Oklahoma: The Sooners are playing much better since the middle of February and look much better than they did six games ago.

K-State: Won their first Big 12 regular-season title in six years and the second under Weber. K-State has won five of its last six games heading into the conference tournament.

UP NEXT

Oklahoma: Takes on 10th-seeded West Virginia on Wednesday night in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri.

K-State: Will play the winner of No. 8 seed TCU and ninth-seeded Oklahoma State on Thursday.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

No. 13 Kansas tops Baylor 78-70, stays undefeated at home

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Cutting through Baylor’s long zone defense, Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji came down with the ball in the low post double-teamed by a pair of Baylor defenders. The freshman quickly offloaded the ball to fellow freshman David McCormack, who slammed the ball home over the top of Baylor’s Freddie Gillespie.

The dunk was an early indication of the day McCormack would have, as the young forward continues to grow into Bill Self’s Kansas squad.

“He played terrific, I should have played him more. He was our best offensive player of the first half, and he made some good, strong moves,” Self said. “The first move he had he didn’t go to his left hand jump hook and ended up taking a good shot, but after that I thought he was really good.”

Dedric Lawson scored 23 points, including 11 of 12 from the free-throw line, to help No. 13 Kansas beat Baylor 78-70 Saturday and stay undefeated at home.

The performance came hours after Lawson was announced on the ballot for the John R. Wooden Award that goes to the nation’s outstanding college basketball player.

Yet on senior day in Allen Fieldhouse, a trio of Kansas freshmen impressed. Devon Dotson, McCormack and Quentin Grimes had 15, 12 and nine points, respectively. Kansas (23-8, 12-6 Big 12) fielded no seniors for the first time since 2007. The Jayhawks’ lone senior Lagerald Vick left the team earlier this season for personal reasons.

Jared Butler led the way for Baylor (19-12, 10-8), scoring a career-high 31 points in 36 minutes. The freshman entered averaging 9.6 points.

Kansas took advantage of Baylor’s zone defense throughout the game, scoring 36 points in the paint. That included 18 of Kansas’ 32 points in the first half. Baylor’s strong rebounding presence was heavily tested, and both teams finished with 43.

“I think first half I only had two rebounds so coach was getting on me about that,” Lawson said. “It’s going out there and being aggressive and going after the ball and finishing plays on the defensive end.”

Kansas led 32-29 at halftime. A four-point possession five minutes into the second half turned the game in the Jayhawks’ favor.

Baylor forward Flo Thamba was called for a flagrant-one foul after the referees deemed he purposely pushed his hand into the face of Lawson. He made both free throws and was fouled again by Thamba after the inbounds play, with Lawson making both again.

Kansas took a 44-35 lead after the possession and maintained it the rest of the game.

“I think it was pretty big,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said of the flagrant. “It’s hard to come back on Kansas here; we’ve done it a couple of times but it’s really hard to do.”

With their Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal opponents already decided and neither team playing for the regular-season title, there was little at stake aside from an improved resume come Selection Sunday.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas: The Jayhawks finish the season 16-0 in Allen Fieldhouse, marking the 20th time in program history that Kansas has done so. It’s the first time since 2015-16 than Kansas has accomplished the feat and the seventh time during the Self era.

Baylor: Despite the loss, the Bears finished the Big 12 regular season with double-digit wins for the sixth time in 10 seasons. Before 2010, they hadn’t finished conference play with double-digit wins since 1988 when they competed in the Southwest Conference.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE DREAMS

With his final stat line of 23 points and 14 rebounds, Lawson recorded his 20th double-double of the season. He is only the third Kansas player to record 20 double-doubles or more in the Self era, joining Cole Aldrich and Thomas Robinson.

UP NEXT

Kansas: The Jayhawks enter as the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Tournament at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. They will play 6th-seeded Texas on Thursday.

Baylor: Will play Iowa State on Thursday in the Big 12 Tournament.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

No. 8 Texas Tech earns at least share of Big 12 title with win at Iowa State

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Texas Tech clinched at least a share of the Big 12 title on Saturday as the No. 8 Red Raiders held off Iowa State for an 80-73 road win.

Sophomore Jarrett Culver put together another monster effort on Saturday as he poured in 31 points on 12-for-19 shooting to pace the Red Raider offense. Kansas State will also get a chance to share the Big 12 title if they can secure a home win over Oklahoma later on Saturday night.

While the nation has been mostly talking about the Kansas Big 12 title streak coming to a halt — and it’s hard not to given how the Big 12 and Kansas basketball itself has become synonymous with the 14-year streak — head coach Chris Beard leading Texas Tech to a conference title is one of the best stories in college basketball this season.

Coming off an Elite Eight appearance last season, nobody expected Texas Tech would be the team that knocked off the Kansas streak. It makes sense for Kansas State, also coming off of an Elite Eight appearance, to be in this position. The Wildcats returned nearly everyone from last season while making that deep tournament run despite being without forward Dean Wade.

But Texas Tech had to basically start from scratch this season in terms of its regular rotation. The Red Raiders lost six of their eight top scorers from last season. Clutch guard and go-to scorer Keenan Evans was one of five seniors who exhausted their eligibility. Zhaire Smith went from an underrated-and-overlooked prospect into a surprising NBA lottery pick. In the preseason, Texas Tech was picked seventh in the Big 12 poll.

And, yet, here we are, as Beard is looking like the favorite for National Coach of the Year (although Purdue’s Matt Painter also has a very credible case). In his sophomore season, Culver has developed into a star and potential lottery pick of his own. Beard intelligently found graduate transfers like Matt Mooney and Tariq Owens as plug-and-play options who have become valuable role players. Program guys like Davide Moretti and Brandone Francis have improved and become vital parts of the Red Raiders as well.

Beard had to develop his own players while recruiting guys who fit his culture and somehow found all of the perfect pieces on-the-fly while coming off of an Elite Eight appearance. If Texas Tech limped into the NCAA tournament this season, people would still be giving Beard kudos for replacing all that he had to change.

With the No. 1 adjusted defensive efficiency in the country on KenPom, and a takeover star in Culver, would you want to face Texas Tech at this point in the season? The Red Raiders have won nine straight games as a once sluggish-looking offense has slowly improved over the final weeks of the regular season.

A team that wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near this position now finds itself as one of the most dangerous teams in college basketball entering the postseason.