Feb 25, 2014 02:47 PM EST
Kansas Wins 10th Straight Big 12 Title, Sets Sights on NCAA Tournament Seeding
The Kansas Jayhawks' win over Oklahoma marked the 10th straight season they will be the Big 12 conference champions.
It is also the first time in three seasons junior guard Naadir Tharpe will get to bask in the glory in front of the home faithful. For freshman like Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, the experience may be a one-timer.
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"Just a great feeling," Tharpe told reporters, according to the Associated Press. "To be at home, to hear the fans and all that, it's a beautiful feeling. It just shows the tradition of Kansas and what it means to us."
Wiggins and Embiid could very well be high NBA Draft picks later this year, so they are looking to make the most of their championship run this season.
"Winning the championship," said Wiggins, "just a great feeling on the court."
Tharpe led the way against Oklahoma with 19 points, but all five starters contributed at least 11 points. Embiid scored 12, grabbed 13 rebounds, blocked three shots, registered four steals and even assisted three baskets.
A particularly young team this season, Kansas had to travel more than usual early in the year and also played 10 ranked opponents, winning seven of those games. They also have played in a highly competitive basketball conference, which coach Bill Self acknowledged after the win.
"In a league this competitive, thought by many to be the toughest league in the country, to have a three-game lead with three to play is pretty special," Kansas coach Bill Self said.
The last time Oklahoma won the Big 12 was 1993, but the last decade has been especially tough on Kansas' opposition due to Self's continually competitive teams.
"It's so tough here for a lot of reasons," Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger told reporters, according to the AP. "Bill does a great job, they're very talented, the atmosphere is great, the difference really is in the runs they make, and that's what you have to avoid. Easier said than done."
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Kansas finishes its season against Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and West Virginia and currently figures to likely earn a two-seed in the NCAA Tournament.