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Kansas Basketball: Jayhawks Earn Several Big 12 Confererence Honors

Kansas Basketball: Jayhawks Earn Several Big 12 Confererence Honors

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Wiggins wrapped up his freshman regular season with a 41 point explosion in a loss to West Virginia.  Despite the loss, the performance put the punctuation on a season that would earn Wiggins Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors on Sunday.

In addition to Wiggins, a host of Jayhawk players were honored for their season, a season that ended in a 10th consecutive Big 12 Conference Championship and one that was won outright with three games to play.  Despite missing time throughout the regular season, Joel Embiid was named Big 12 Defensive player of the Year.  Kansas will hope to have the 7 footer return for the NCAA tournament, but several reports have him in Los Angeles meeting with a second physician for an opinion regarding his back.  Embiid also earned second team honors while frontcourt teammate Perry Ellis earned 3rd team honors.  The Kansas starting five rounded out the day with two honorable mentions for both Naadir Tharpe and Wayne Selden.

Oddly enough Kansas missed out on an honor that seems like it should have been a no brainer as Rick Barnes was named Coach of the Year in the Big 12.  Without question Barnes did a nice job with a team that many expected to struggle.  However, Bill Self turned over an entire starting five, had two players that provided any significant minutes returning and he won his 10th straight league title outright with room to spare.  Barnes and Texas finished with seven league losses and a fourth place finish.  No disrespect to what was one of Barnes better coaching jobs, but Self deserved this one.

Kansas now enters the Big 12 tournament as the no. 1 seed.  A win on Thursday would go a long way toward locking them into the no. 2 spot in the Midwest.  Win out and it's maybe still possible for Kansas to squeek into a top seed with some help.  Lose on Thursday and there is probably an outside chance of dropping to a no. 3.  All in all the resume is very good, the losses are to quality opponents.  Kansas will get a favorable seeding, but they're going to have to pull together some level of consistency in the coming weeks to make a deep run and they'll need to hope for a healthy Embiid.