No. 16 Iowa State 94, No. 10 Kansas 83
Behind 25 points from Georges Niang and 19 from DeAndre Kane, Iowa State (25-7) essentially ran Kansas (24-9) out of the gym to advance to the Big 12 title game.
Both teams shot tremendously in the first half, with Kansas clinging to a 48-46 lead at intermission. After a Dustin Hogue layup and a Kane three pointer two minutes into the second half, the Cyclones took a 51-48 lead and would never trail again.
Iowa State continued to extend their lead throughout the half, but an Andrew Wiggins tip-in brought the Jayhawks within six with 9:22 left to play. That would be the closest the Jawhawks would get however, as Kane and company shot 54% from the field to earn the 11 point win.
The Cyclones received contributions from several players, as each of their starters scored in double digits. Perry Ellis led Kansas with 30 points, and Wiggins contributed 22, but no other Jayhawk player scored more than 9 points.
Labeled as a three point shooting team, the Cyclones were very efficient from long range, shooting 11-19, with eight of those coming in the first half. Successful outside shooting opened up the lane for Niang and Melvin Ejim, who scored 19 points and was 5-7 from the foul line.
Kansas was playing their fourth game without freshman center Joel Embiid. The Cameroon native averages 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds, but has been battling back issues that kept him out of the Big 12 tournament, and will likely keep him out of the early rounds of the NCAA tournament, according to Coach Bill Self.
Despite having lost nine games, Kansas will likely enter the tournament as a three seed because of their resume. Even without Embiid, the Jayhawks have enough talent and athleticism to advance to the Sweet 16. For the Jayhawks to make a run to the Final Four, however, Kansas needs Embiid as their post presence on offense and as a rim protector on defense.
As for Iowa State, the four seed in the tournament, they will play seventh seeded Baylor in the final tomorrow at 9 p.m.
Baylor 86, Texas 69
The seventh seeded Bears, now winners of 10 of their last 11, shot 50% from long distance and 80% at the line on their way to a dominating well over the Longhorns.
Leading 24-18 with 5:57 left in the first half, Baylor used an 18-9 run to take a commanding 42-27 lead at the break.
Baylor dominated the second half, going up by as many as 24 points. Sharpshooter Brady Heslip led Baylor with 24 points and went 6-11 from behind the arc. Forwards Corey Jefferson and Isaiah Austin contributed well inside, combining for 30 points, 18 rebounds and 10 blocks.
The Longhorns struggled to score as Baylor forced Texas to shoot under 40% from the field and. Only Isaiah Taylor and Kendal Yancy scored in double digits, making it hard for Texas to keep up with a Baylor offense that seemed to score whenever it wanted it.
In the latest Bracketology, fellow staff writer has the Longhorns as a five seed. Personally, I think Texas will end up as a seven seed. They do have quality wins, defeating North Carolina, Kansas, Kansas State, and Iowa State, but they also have 10 losses. Texas’ seeding will most likely depend on how the selection committee views the strength of the Big 12 conference.