Business As Usual

In the final standings, Kansas and Kansas State finished the regular season tied for the Big 12 regular season title. But, the schools couldn't have celebrated the feat in more opposite fashions on Monday.

In the final standings, Kansas and Kansas State finished the regular season tied for the Big 12 regular season title. But, the schools couldn't have celebrated the feat in more opposite fashions on Monday.

In Lawrence, it was business as usual in preparation for this week's Big 12 Championship in Kansas City. The Jayhawks did receive their shirts and hats commemorating the feat after watching film on this past weekend's game, but after falling in the season finale at Baylor, it was time refocus on the "third season" as coach Bill Self calls it.

Meanwhile, in Manhattan, the Wildcats held a raucous rally to celebrate the tie and even though Kansas swept K-State in the regular season, their coach Bruce Weber told the Wildcats fans that an all out title was merely kept away by questionable officiating in a Kansas game earlier in the season. Regardless, it was a party to send the Wildcats off to Kansas City.

"We're Kansas, so we're not going to do that," center Jeff Withey said. "We're just looking forward to the (Big 12) tournament coming up."

Indeed, Kansas is carrying themselves like they've been here before, nine times to be exact. The contrast to the two schools as they react to the Big 12 championship will only be one of the storylines, as they know that it is very possible they could play again, Saturday evening.

However, a third Kansas/K-State matchup is nowhere near guaranteed, as the tournament will showcase high caliber teams that could easily get on a run that propels them to the title.

"Personally, I've never seen the league better, with more teams that can win the league tournament than what we have now," Self said. "There's six teams that can win three games in a row."

Kansas will take the floor, Thursday afternoon at 2:00 as the number one seed in this week's Big 12 Championship and face either West Virginia or Texas Tech, both teams that they've faced recently.

A victory there could set up a difficult semifinal matchup against either Iowa State or Oklahoma, who could have beaten the Jayhawks in any matchup this season, with the Sooners scoring a victory in Norman, in February and the Cyclones taking Kansas to overtime in both meetings during the regular season.

Saturday's championship game will be played at 5:00 and could bring a variety of matchups against the likes of Kansas State, Baylor or Texas, the latter two gaining steam, especially the Longhorns, with the late season return of guard Myck Kabongo.

Regardless, the Jayhawks are excited to play as many as the next five games, including the first two games of the NCAA Tournament in Kansas City, just 30 minutes away from their campus.

"I'm very excited," forward Travis Releford said. "It's back and home and for it to be my last go around and to be at home to play, I'm excited and the team's excited and we're looking forward to it."


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