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Kansas defeats Kansas State, 72-64

  • 5 p.m., March 13, 2010
  • Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hard-won hardware: Kansas fends off ‘Cats

The Kansas Jayhawks hoist championship signs following their 72-64 win over Kansas State.

The Kansas Jayhawks hoist championship signs following their 72-64 win over Kansas State.

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Kansas takes Big 12 tournament title

The Kansas University men's basketball team will enter the NCAA tournament on a high note after defeating Kansas State to take the Big 12 tournament title.

Audio clips

Big 12 championship: KU-KSU

Reader poll

Assuming Duke is the fourth No. 1 seed, which team do you not want to see as a No. 2 seed in KU's bracket?

  • West Virginia 25% 771 votes
  • Ohio State 16% 497 votes
  • Purdue 13% 420 votes
  • New Mexico 5% 175 votes
  • Kansas State 29% 899 votes
  • Villanova 7% 223 votes
  • Other 2% 82 votes

3067 total votes.

— Cole Aldrich hoisted the Big 12 championship trophy high in the sky for fans to see, then cradled it lovingly while speaking to reporters Saturday night on a confetti-infested Sprint Center floor.

“This is my baby right here. I’ve got to take care of it. Ooh ... it’s got some dust on it,” Aldrich, Kansas University’s junior center, said, wiping it clean.

Aldrich, who was named to the five-player All-Big 12 tournament team with MVP Sherron Collins, was wearing a Big 12 championship hat and league title T-shirt, enjoying the heck out of a hard-earned, 72-64 title victory over Kansas State.

It marked KU’s third victory over the Wildcats (26-7) in three meetings and most certainly guaranteed the Jayhawks (32-2) not only a No. 1 seed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, but overall top seed of all teams in the 65-team event.

“Let’s just say I’m pretty confident we’re a No. 1 seed,” KU coach Bill Self said on the Sprint Center floor as his players clipped strands of net.

KU’s coach elected to not take part in the net-cutting festivities.

“I told our guys they need to do that,” Self said, deflecting the credit to Marcus Morris (18 points, eight boards), Tyrel Reed (career-high 15 points), Collins (12 points, seven assists) and Aldrich (10 points, eight boards) and their supporting cast.

“I’d like to climb up two more ladders,” Self added of one after the regional final and one after the national title game. “I thought today should be about them.”

He and his players were all about celebrating the fact the Jayhawks — in Self’s words — “validated” what they accomplished in winning the regular-season league title by four games.

“You expect this on paper. To go out and do it is a lot tougher,” Aldrich said. “It’s always tough to beat a team three times. It’s always tough to beat a rival once. To beat them in the championship game is great.

“It’s got to be frustrating,” Aldrich added, asked how he felt the Wildcats were feeling about losing to their rivals again in what has been a magical season for KSU. “They know they gave us their best effort. They hit the boards hard and gave us another tough, physical game.”

Self used a triangle-and-two defense to slow Jacob Pullen (13 points, 5-for-17 shooting) and Denis Clemente (17 points, 7-for-15 shooting) and said the players did a nice job of “operating under subtle pressure” while being expected to win every night out.

“This was not a jubilant locker room,” Self said. “It was a celebration, but basically a chance to validate who was the best team in the league. To win the league by four games and validate it here ... the guys are proud, but not jubilant. They feel more is out there.”

KU’s road to the Final Four will be revealed at 5 p.m. today when CBS announces the 2010 tourney pairings.

“It’ll be a fun day,” Collins said after bagging his seventh league title (four regular-season crowns, three postseason tourneys) in his remarkable career. “It’s a day to get some rest, too. This was a tough tournament, a tough game. K-State will push you to the limit. They’ve got the talent to beat you. We were tough enough to not let it happen.”

The Jayhawks used a Reed-led 9-2 run to grab their biggest lead of the game, 64-52, with 4:49 left. The Burlington junior opened it with three free throws, then after two free throws by Xavier Henry and a spinning layup by Collins, cashed a layup after a steal by Collins.

KSU cut it to 68-62 with 2:37 remaining.

That’s when Morris hit a bank shot off a pass from Reed with 1:47 to play. Clemente answered to make it 70-64 at :36.

Marcus Morris and brother Markieff each hit one free throw in two tries the rest of the way to account for the rest of the scoring on a day KU hit 24 of 31 free throws to KSU’s eight of 14.

“I thought we were aggressive tonight. Different guys stepped up and took the ball to the basket ... getting fouled and getting big rebounds. I was proud of our guys knocking them down in tough situations,” Reed said.

KU, which hit 44.2 percent of its shots, held the ’Cats to 34.8 percent shooting. KU hit two of eight threes, KSU eight of 22.

Was it Kansas’ best defensive performance this year?

“I think so,” Self said. “I don’t know exactly because I’m stubborn in that regard, because we didn’t play man the whole time.

“If you talk about not fouling, playing man and doing the same things, I probably would feel more proud. But we did what we were supposed to do. We played to the scouting report very well.

“We did compete hard, no question about that. Both teams did. There wasn’t much trash-talking at all. Two teams respecting each other, and fortunately we were able to pull out a victory. Nothing but respect for the K-State program. To beat the top-five team in the country three times I think also bodes well to how we competed and played.”

Now it’s time to relax through today’s Selection Show. It’s a safe bet KU will be named the No. 1 team in the Midwest Region with games in Oklahoma City on Thursday (and, if KU wins, Saturday). Two wins in OKC could lead to a trip to St. Louis the following week for Friday/Sunday action.

“Final Four and hopefully win it all again,” Aldrich, who was part of the 2008 title team, said of his goals entering the postseason. “Right now this feels great. I can’t express the feelings we’re going through now after putting our heart and soul into it all the way from last summer until now. Hopefully it’s just the beginning of good things to come.”

Comments

David Leathers 7 years, 4 months ago

To all Jayhawks (Players and Fans):

Thank you for a wonderful season. This has been a wild ride, but watching this team from the get-go showed great promise for them. I'm very proud to call myself a Jayhawk fan.

Good luck on Thurs. and Sat. I can't wait to watch these next few weeks.

~CaliHawk

Steve Brown 7 years, 4 months ago

Pet peeve, the KC post season tourney is not the Big 12 champs, so if State had won they would have held these non team specific signs?

When did the post season tourney champs become Big 12 champs? Signs need revised in my book

VOR_KUCO 7 years, 4 months ago

The tourney champs are B12 champs but this is moot point since KU is both... It's the same for all conferences in the nation but what would be a good alternative?

bpjhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

The tournament champions get the official conference automatic bid. Therefore, the Conference considers them the Conference Champions. But the tournament winners get the same style trophy as the division champions get in football. The conference winners get the same style trophy as the Conference Football Championship winner gets. That will give you perspective into who the Conference values as the true Champion.

Kenneth Johnson 7 years, 4 months ago

So far, the Jayhawks have confirmed my feeling at the start of the season that they were the best team KU has ever fielded in their long stellar history.

Even though they have dominated to date, I'm certainly not complacent, and hope that the team isn't either, since from experience I know that even the best team in the nation doesn't always win the championship.

Remember the losses in 2002 and 2003 to Maryland and Syracuse, when Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison ruled college basketball? Then remember the losses in 1997 and 1998 when the Paul Pierce and Raef LaFrentz teams dominated?

And, as good as this year's team is, they still lost a couple to teams that were hot on nights when the Jayhawks weren't at the top of their game.

But, still, this team is the best team in America right now, and should win out. The only thing as good as beating Kentucky in the championship game, would be for Kentucky to lose their first round game, becoming the first #1 seed to ever lose to a #16. The next best thing would be to beat K-State 4th time this year...

Ken Johnson (KU MS '70) www.hoopszone.net

yates33333 7 years, 4 months ago

"Lighthawk (anonymous) says…

"Pet peeve, the KC post season tourney is not the Big 12 champs, so if State had won they would have held these non team specific signs?

"When did the post season tourney champs become Big 12 champs? Signs need revised in my book."

Right!! KU by winning the league championship with only one defeat were the champs, and now they are both the Big 12 season champs and tournament champs.

Let's hope they soon will be the National Champions.

Martin Rosenblum 7 years, 4 months ago

This was like Senior Night 2.0 for Collins.

Hey stats freaks: How many games did Cole foul out of in his career at KU?

Lonnie Ross Dillon 7 years, 4 months ago

"Hey stats freaks: How many games did Cole foul out of in his career at KU?"

None...

indyhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

I'm not certain but I believe that is only the second time Cole has fouled out in his career.

Gregg Gibson 7 years, 4 months ago

Cole fouled out at Texas this year. My recollection was that his fifth foul was a on a "doule-technical" foul call.

Blake Post 7 years, 4 months ago

OK, lot of funny notes on here. KC obviously brings the Big 12 Tournament Champions. The top team after the regular season ends is the Big 12 Champion. Exactlyis. And KU is both. I actually have a shirt from a prior year that says Winners of the Big 12 conference and the Big 12 Tournament.

This is not the best team KU has ever fielded. Two years ago, the teams with Pierce, Pollard, Lafrentz, Vaughn, Haas, Thomas; and the 86 team, along with a team that had Bud Stallworth, Dave Robisch, Roger Brown (if memory serves) were greater. This team has to win the championship to be considered. 97 was going to be my best but it didn't get there. 08 might be. 88 obviously was a champion. My best is still 86, and I still think we win if Archie doesn't get injured.

Blake Post 7 years, 4 months ago

The Tournament champs are not the Big 12 Champs. The Tournament gets the auto bid. We have Big 12 Champs and Big 12 Tournament Champs. Both are great accomplishments for KU.

Artificial self-esteem building? Bizarre. Perhaps rooting for your team is great entertainment. Kind of takes your mind away from layoffs, earthquakes, the economy, child abuse, your divorce, Islamic Jihad, who in your family or circle is dying or dead, etc., for a while, doesn't it.

This is a sports site. Maybe we could articially build self-esteem at the psychology sites... or maybe Dr. Phil can help you.

Dyrk Dugan 7 years, 4 months ago

KU made it a three peat over the kitties, in a result that i'm sure frustrated the local media in KC....so wanting to talk about something else other than "KU wins...again."

Jason Whitlock all but predicted a KSU victory after Friday....and then today said that it's a "tragedy" if KU doesn't win it all. in two days, the pendulum swung 180 degrees for him.

oh well, it just doesn't matter. This team is one of the best KU teams ever...and the national media couldn't care less. KU is getting no love at all...and in fact, wants to set us up for failure in the tourney.

and this is all good...because we will be the most disrespected overall #1 seed in NCAA tourney history. Oh people will predict us to make the Final 4, and a few will predict us to win it...but it will be sniffed at along the way.

and if Syracuse or Duke or WVU or UK start blowing people out...then they'll become the sexy pick.

i think our guys will be motivated and focused....and Sherron has been through all the wars. He has 13 NCAA tourney games under his belt already...that's a lot of talent PLUS experience.....no one else has that.

it's been a fun ride so far....i hope we can stay on the train for a couple more weeks. Go Jayhawks!

jhokfan 7 years, 4 months ago

Don't care for the caps and t-shirts. Covers up those KU jerseys. Signs look like ads for Phillips. Oh well, I can live with it. Nice going Hawks.

Chad Hallack 7 years, 4 months ago

I did not vote on the silly poll question because I don't care who we play. I'm in fear of no team. But I do know the one team NOBODY wants to see... and that is the Kansas Jayhawks!!! Let the Madness begin!

Steve Brown 7 years, 4 months ago

My take is the signs were printed by P 66 and brought to Sprint for either team...

we earned these signs over the regular season not just last night. IF KState had won they would be showing them over their heads and I call BCrapp.

next year if we win the regular season and Baylor AtM or KState win the post season conference championship I don't want them having these signs with only the date changed from 2010 to 2011......the center line needs to read 2011 Tourney Champions not just 'champions.' My view is regular season trumps the post season tournament for the signs....sure both get trophies so what...just don't call the post season tourney winner the 'Big 12 Champs'.

I know about the auto bid and know about when it was the pre season holiday tournament. language is important.

dynamitehawk 7 years, 4 months ago

While you wait for the show, please visit this site, and vote that only one team from the SEC will make the dance. I love F-ing with KY..

http://www.kentucky.com/kentuckysports/

dynamitehawk 7 years, 4 months ago

In hindsight, that last comment could be taken the wrong way. I have nothing against the state of Kentucky.

JS82 7 years, 4 months ago

A great win for the Jayhawks! Beating a team 3 times is difficult and KU pulled it off. This is a special team and I look forward to seeing them take on the challenge of the NCAA Tournament. Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Go KU!

trueblue9 7 years, 4 months ago

Speaking of UK...I suppose you all saw the lane violation (which the Pac-10 officials somehow got right last night) that led to them tying the game and celebrating like they won the national championship. My question, did they know that it was only tied, or do we need to actually assure that players take their own SATs so that we know they can count? They are the absolute worst, I hope KState beats them mercilessly.

Vic Janeway 7 years, 4 months ago

WVU did the same butler should have been called for a charge.

James122 7 years, 4 months ago

2 more Championships--Regional and NCAA--Bring home the titles.

Big time players produce in big time games!!!

We have won as a team, keep that in mind and play as a team!!

Go Hawks!!

kvskubball 7 years, 4 months ago

trueblue9,

You're kind of acting like a UK player in your post...KState wouldn't play Kentucky except in the national finals, and if KU, KState & UK all advance, we would have to play KSt first, so I don't understand your wish for KSt to beat them mercilessly...that is a pleasure that I hope we, or someone before us does, don't want the Kittles to have that pleasure, no way!

J_Halcon 7 years, 4 months ago

I think trueblue 9 meant that he wishes Texas beats Kentucky mercilessly in the second round. I love my KU Jayhawks but I'm a Big 12 fan as well because our conference never gets no love. I hope all our conference teams advance as far as they can as long as it isn't against us.

As for Kentucky I would love to play them in the National Championship but unfortunately I don't think they will make it that far.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!!

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