* It's the rare conference champion who doesn't need at least a little bit of assistance in taking home that highly-coveted crown. The 2010-2011 Kansas Jayhawks are no different. Just a couple of weeks ago it looked as if the Texas Longhorns had the title locked up, but a couple of unexpected losses – to Colorado and Kansas State – have the Jayhawks a game up and back in the driver's seat.
A victory Wednesday night over Texas A&M would mean Kansas would claim at least a share of its seventh straight Big 12 championship.
College basketball is a funny thing.
* Defeating the Aggies won't be a walk in the park, however. Ranked No. 24 and 22 respectively in both major polls, Head Coach Mark Turgeon has Texas A&M at 22-6 overall, 9-5 in the Big 12, and a lock for the Big Dance.
* Wednesday night is Senior Night as well, meaning three Jayhawks will lace 'em up at Allen Fieldhouse for the last time. A few words on each of them:
* Mario Little – A native of Chicago, Little was a highly-ranked JUCO prospect before joining Kansas during the 2008-2009 season. He redshirted last year and has played an important role for the Jayhawks in his final season, providing a scoring punch off the bench in the post and, occasionally, on the perimeter. The dude may have yet to meet a shot he doesn't like, but he sure makes an awful lot of them.
Little will graduate from Kansas in May with a degree in African and American studies.
* Brady Morningstar – The dude has been a part of 157 wins during his seemingly 20 year career at the University of Kansas. Just kidding, it's only been five. But it feels longer, right? He has been, for lack of a better term, one of the rocks of the Bill Self Era. Dependable both offensively and defensively, the Kansas offense just runs more smoothly when he's a part of the show. Plus, he's one of the most potent three-point threats in school history, currently sitting eighth with a 41.5-percent career shooting percentage from deep.
All that, and he graduated in May 2010 with a degree in communication studies.
* Tyrel Reed – What hasn't Tyrel Reed done well during his time in Lawrence, Kan.? On Feb. 22, he became the 15th player in Kansas history to be named Academic All-America First Team. He graduated from KU in 3.5 years with a degree in pre-physical therapy/exercise science and has been accepted to KU's School of Medicine physical therapy program. Reed is also one of the 10 finalists for the prestigious 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.
On the court, his resume is just as impressive. Reed has consistently been one of KU's most dangerous and dependable shooters. He will end his career ranked in the school's top 10 for three-point field goals made, three-point field goals attempted and three-point field goal percentage. In his four seasons at Kansas, the Jayhawks have won three Big 12 regular-season championships, two Big 12 tourney titles, one Final Four and one NCAA National Championship.
* Now, about the Aggies...
* Texas A&M leads the Big 12 in defensive rebounds at 29.5 per game, and own a +7.3 rebound margin.
* Khris Middleton leads the team in scoring at 11.2 points per game. He lso averages 4.9 rebounds per game and is second on the team with 11 blocked shots this season.
* Nathan Walkup leads A&M in rebounds with a 5.8 average to complement his 9.7 scoring average.
* B.J. Holmes leads the Aggies with 41 three-pointers made and is second in assists with 86 this season.
* And now the Jayhawks...
* Kansas leads the nation in field goal percentage (52.3), scoring margin (18.8) and assists (18.4). The Jayhawks also lead the Big 12 in scoring, scoring margin, three-point field goal percentage, rebound margin, assists and assist-to-turnover ratio.
* Junior forward Marcus Morris has averaged 19 points per game in Big 12 play and leads Kansas in all games with a 17.3 scoring average. Marcus' 6.9 rebounds per game are second-best on KU's team behind his twin brother, Markieff. He also leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 60.7-percent, also just ahead of Markieff who is at 60.2-percent.
* The Morris Brothers are really, really good.
* A win would give Kansas 28 victories for the fourth time in the last five seasons, and make the series 17-1 in favor of the Jayhawks.