The Jayhawks hosted their final home game of the season last night against a scrappy Texas Tech team that is desperate for marquee wins to secure their spot in the NCAA tournament. As it was the final home game of the season, it also meant that this would be the last time we would see Kevin McCullar and Jalen Wilson on the court in Allen, both being seniors. Kansas is undefeated on Senior Night since 1983. Both showed out, Jalen scoring 21 points and Kevin 14 along with the game sealing shot after a hard-nosed, physical steal with 9 seconds left. 40 years of dominance needed to be upheld, and upheld it was by a big defensive effort in a 67-63 victory over the Red Raiders. Not only did the Jayhawks come out with a win, but they also secured at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title. The 17th title in 20 years for KU basketball, performing at this high a level against the toughest conference in college basketball is no easy feat. A celebratory night overall for the Jayhawks, but don't think the work is done now that that share is secured.
KU still has one more game in Austin against a very tough Texas squad, and provided the Longhorns beat the TCU Horned Frogs tonight in Ft. Worth, Texas with a win over the Hawks on Saturday would clinch that other share of the title. I think every Jayhawk fan would like to see the Horned Frogs win tonight, Bill Self himself even said during the Senior Night speeches that he "Doesn't like to share", and a TCU win would guarantee the Hawks can keep the title for themselves. A win Saturday too would as well, and I am sure the Hawks are preparing adamantly for that, but anything to make it easier. After the regular season though comes the postseason (obviously) and given how college basketball has been this year, the tournament, both the Big 12 and NCAA, will be an absolute dogfight this year. The Jayhawks may have come out with a win last night, but it certainly wasn't even close to their best performance. Shot selection needs to improve, post play needs to stiffen up, and mistakes need to be limited. The room for error is quickly running out, and Bill Self and the Jayhawks know this.
A win over Texas, share on the line or no share, would be a good momentum starter for KU. Win in Austin, do some damage in the Big 12 tournament (preferably win it), and secure the overall 1 seed, and I believe KU sets themselves up for a potential repeat as best they can. While it would be nice to play in Kansas City, there's a lot of pressure that comes with playing that close to home. I am sure the Jayhawks are focused on taking that #1 overall seed in the South. Keep that momentum going through the tournament, everybody be on their A game, and the Jayhawks have every opportunity to grab the first repeat title since the '06-'07 Florida Gators did it. Every game matters so much more now, and Self needs 10 more wins to pass Phog Allen as all-time winningest coach. There's 10 games left in the season and postseason IF KU goes on to win it all, can Self do it this year? Time will only tell.
Burn Notice: 10/10 MARCH IS HERE (Said every CBB pundit today)