Big 12 Tournament Has Plenty of Jayhawk Flavor

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 10: Head coach Tad Boyle of the Colorado Buffaloes looks on from the sideliines during their quarterfinal game against the Kansas State Wildcats in the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 10, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Four teams remain in the Big 12 tournament and the top seeded Jayhawks are still in the mix.  But when you look a little deeper, the remainder of the tournament has a few other Jayhawk storylines that Brent Musberger and Holly Rowe can talk about ad nauseum as we head into the weekend.

Yes when you think Kansas basketball it's fun to point out those historical greats and the connections to Kansas.  Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, Phog Allen, Larry Brown etc.  But in the modern day Big 12, the Jayhawks have two former players coaching in two separate games today and obviously neither of those is the head man for Kansas.

Mark Turgeon and Tad Boyle both overlapped a bit right around the Danny Manning era.  Tad Boyle was the captain of the 1985 Jayhawk squad and as he likes to say, "Danny Manning played with me".  Turgeon captained the '86 and '87 squads and was a big part of the '86 Final Four team that finished 35-4.  Throw in the fact that Manning sits on the Kansas bench and is widely considered one of the best at developing big men and you have quite a little coaching tree of former Kansas players from the Brown era. 

Now Turgeon was actually an assistant for Larry Brown on the Danny and the Miracles 1988 Kansas National title team, while Boyle's coaching career didn't get going until he joined the Oregon Ducks as an assistant alongside fellow Jayhawk Turgeon who had shifted West for a stint.  The two would reunite when Turgeon hired Boyle as an assistant at Jacksonville State, Turgeon's first head job, and then both moved back to Kansas to Missouri Valley's Wichita State.  One year before Turg's move to A&M, Boyle took over a new division one program at Northern Colorado, the same Northern Colorado that was able to win their conference regular season and tournament this season and clinch the schools first ever NCAA tournament bid one year after Boyle left.  As for their current seasons, both Boyle and Turgeon will be playing in the Big Dance less than a week from now.

Turgeon, Boyle and the Kansas Jayhawks.  That's a lot of crimson and blue on the sidelines this weekend and one has to wonder if Colorado's three game sweep of Kansas State and A&M's two game sweep of Missouri had anything to do with a pair of Jayhawks taking up old rivalries?

Now the current Jayhawks could potentially play both former Jayhawks along their path to the Big 12 tourney title depending on how things pan out, but either way the success of THE current Kansas basketball Jayhawks and these two former Jayhawks is another indication of just how deep the tradition of Kansas basketball really goes.  Good luck to both from the Jayhawk nation as long as Kansas isn't on the other bench.

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