The Big 12 has been the class of college basketball all season, and on Saturday Kansas made an argument for being the class of that conference.
Just a couple hours after Texas struggled with last-place Oklahoma, the No. 7 Jayhawks notched a statement win against No. 9 Baylor.
Trailing by as much as 17 in the first half, Kansas completed a stunning 34-point swing with four minutes to play, taking an 80-63 lead, and eventually finishing off an 87-71 win.
With the win, Kansas moves into a tie with Texas for first place in Big 12 standings, with each program sitting at 10-4. Baylor, meanwhile, sits at 9-5.
Baylor hit nine 3-pointers in the first half to take a 45-32 lead into the locker room, but a 55-point blitz from KU after the break was Baylor’s undoing. Kansas hit 63.3% of its shots in the second half and 50% from long distance. The biggest 3 came from Gradey Dick, whose trey with 14:29 gave Kansas the lead for good.
Michigan and Michigan State
The final score might have read 84-72 in favor of Michigan but make no mistake: There was no loser in this matchup, one of the most heated rivalries in college sports.
Less than a week after a gunman opened fired on their campus and killed three students, the Spartans returned to the court and gave a gutsy performance in the road loss. There were reminders everywhere of what had just happened: Michigan players wore T-shirts that read, “Michigan basketball stands with MSU” and thousands in the arena held up signs that said, “Spartan Strong.”
Michigan State didn’t score in the final 2:29 of a game that featured nine lead changes and 11 ties, but the Spartans’ play was more about bringing a grieving community together in the wake of tragedy. At a vigil honoring the victims Wednesday, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo gave a moving speech where he told those gathered, “Let’s do a better job taking care of each other. We need each other.”
Saturday, the Spartans and the Wolverines did exactly that.