Sprint Center — Kansas City, Mo.
Saturday, March 12, 2011 — 5 PM CST
ESPN | ESPN3.com
Well, here we go again. The Big 12 championship everyone in the media not-so-secretly hoped for is upon us.
Three times in the last five years these three teams have met for the tournament championship, and all three times the Jayhawks have emerged victorious, despite heroic performances from such Longhorn standouts as Kevin Durant, D.J. Augustin and A.J. Abrams.
It's no accident — in all three cases, KU was the better team, with the better coach, playing on a virtual home court.
But this match-up seems different. For one, there is no mental block. Texas beat Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse.
Yeah, I know, the Jayhawks were up all night and in mourning. But they still were beat fair and square.
There is no question that KU has been more consistent over the course of a 16-game regular season. That's why they're the Big 12 champions and Texas isn't.
But Texas has rediscovered the stingy defense that produced a 13-game Big 12 winning streak and helped it to beat Kansas. In a one-game scenario, it's been the better team once already. Can the Longhorns do it again?
If so, they have an outside shot at a No. 1 seed and will be a virtual lock for a No. 2. But what do the Jayhawks, already assured of a No. 1 seed, have to play for? Well, there's pride, for one. They're a proud bunch, to be sure.
But never underestimate Bill Self in this particular game with these stakes. He hasn't lost one of these yet.
Regardless of who wins, I expect a hell of a game. It better be — against my better financial judgment, I'm going to make use of my ticket instead of profiteering off a die-hard KU fan. Here's hoping I don't leave the arena to the frightful strains of "Rock Chalk Jayhawk" ...
- BracketCat: Kansas 71, Texas 69
- GAMER: Kansas 71, Texas 70
- Pomeroy: Kansas 72, Texas 69
- Sagarin: Kansas 70, Texas 69