No. 2 Kansas one game away from clinching 12th straight Big 12 title

No. 2 Kansas is so close to its 12th straight Big 12 title that it can almost taste it.

The Jayhawks went on the road to Waco on Tuesday to take on No. 19 Baylor, and passed their toughest remaining road test of the season with a 66-60 win. And as Bill Self’s group so often has this season, they showed resilience to get it there.

With Baylor leading 47-39 with about 14 minutes left, the Jayhawks went on a run to close the gap and even take the lead. Devonte’ Graham, who has been terrific late in the year, keyed the run, knocking down a 3 to cut the lead to five, dished out three assists on the next three possessions down to cut the lead to one after Baylor scored once, then bookended the run with another big 3-pointer. Six points and three assists in five minutes later, the Jayhawks had a two-point lead that set up a close finish which eventually saw Kansas come out on top.

Graham was the key during that run, but the Jayhawks’ true catalyst was his backcourt mate Frank Mason III, who led the team with 19 points, four rebounds and three assists. It’s poetic that the much-maligned, lightly-recruited backcourt that took some heat early in the season for its unspectacular play is now leading the way down the stretch for Kansas toward another Big 12 title, and that’s exactly where Kansas is headed at this point.

The Jayhawks have home games against Texas Tech and Iowa State remaining as well as a road game against Texas. If they win one of those games, they will clinch at least a share of the Big 12. Win two, and they’ll be the outright champion.

Given that Kansas rarely loses at home and they have two home games remaining, it’s fair to say that the Big 12 title is practically in the palm of their hand.

They just have to grab it.

Frank Mason and Devonte' Graham have been great down the stretch. (USATSI)
Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham have been great down the stretch. (USATSI)

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