Naadir Tharpe was proudly displaying a full set of 10 fingers in the air. Proving that now Kansas has officially won at least a share of it's 10th Straight Big 12 Conference Title.
"For us to win 10 League Titles in a row, is pretty special." Bill Self states after the post game interview. Special indeed, the Big 12 title puts Kansas in vast royalty with their 10th crown in a row. As they are now the most recent program to win 10+ Conference Championships from a power conference dating back to well..the John Wooden days of UCLA. Where he was part of 9 out of 13 in a row.
Kansas won tonight with not a lot of smoothness and elegance to their game. Opposed to Saturday night's debacle of Texas. Where every shot fell and Kansas for once looked locked in defensively. That case wasn't anywhere close of being met tonight.
Kansas started out of the gates fast and furious. The first 8 minutes Joel Embiid was a big time nuisance for Oklahoma's Spangler to deal with down low. But as the 1st half dragged on. Suddenly it felt as if a lid was on KU's rim. Instead of attacking to the rim and paint. The main reason Kansas pulled out to a 11 point advantage early. Kansas became a jump shooting team for the remaining 9 minute stretch of 2nd Half.
Andrew Wiggins attacked the basket early and often in 2nd Half. Yet, it didn't mean much. Because once again, Kansas fell into the trap of half-court perimeter defense that they have all year. Giving up 3 pointers by Cameron Clark and Buddy Heild kept Oklahoma within a basket from the lead multiple times. As the game got tighter, possessions more important. Naadir Tharpe the same player who flashed the "10 Straight sign" to the crowd after the victory. Was the same point guard who has become the scape goat of recent Jayhawk mishaps.
As Bill Self reffers to as "cutting the head off" the snake of a point guard provides you an inflated chance of winning most games. Tharpe didn't quite pull of the notion. But, came close offensively when matter most. Making 10 of the last 13 points for Kansas, with the 5 minutes remaining. Became Kansas' ability to increase its lead just enough to escape with a win.
The win marks 10 Straight Conference Championships for Kansas. More importantly, it might have woken up a few cobwebs from Naadir Tharpe's play too.