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Kansas Basketball: Expect Jayhawks to Make Push for No. 1 Seed This Week

Kansas center Jeff Withey ranks third in the nation in blocks per game.
Kansas center Jeff Withey ranks third in the nation in blocks per game.Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Sam StrykerContributor IIIMarch 4, 2013

Heading into the last week of the season, the No. 6 Kansas Jayhawks are playing hot, riding a six-game win streak. And don’t expect them to take their foot off the gas. 

The Jayhawks are set to square off against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Monday night at the Allen Fieldhouse before heading south to take on the Baylor Bears in their last regular-season contest of the year.

Kansas beat both teams handily earlier in the season, topping Texas Tech 60-46 on Jan. 12 and besting Baylor 61-44 just two days later. 

They endured an ugly three-game losing streak since then at the beginning of February, but aside from that blemish on their resume, Kansas has made a strong case for a No. 1 seed come Selection Sunday—and if they execute well this week, it may be enough to seal the deal. 

The Red Raiders have an ugly 3-13 record in the Big 12 and since their loss to the Jayhawks, Texas Tech has only two victories. 

Kansas should be able to open up its scoring against Texas Tech at home. Freshman guard Ben McLemore and senior center Jeff Withey lead the prolific Jayhawks offense, which ranks 21st in the nation in field-goal percentage. 

Kansas also rebounds well, averaging 39.6 boards per game as a team, good for 14th in the nation, and Withey ranks third in the nation with 4.0 blocks per game.

By comparison, the Red Raiders average just 66 points per game and 32.7 rebounds per game as a team. Kansas should have no problem handling the Red Raiders.

Meanwhile, the Bears may give the Jayhawks a little more trouble. The team is 17-12 on the season with an 8-8 record in the Big 12. While Baylor has just a 6-7 record since their lost to Kansas, the team has played some close games against quality teams. 

They gave then-No. 22 Oklahoma State a run for their money on Feb. 6, losing in overtime 69-67 and lost to then-No. 13 Kansas State on Saturday 64-61. 

Baylor can score, as the team is 33rd in the nation in points per game at 74.4, and rebound well, averaging 38.1 per game, good for 37th in the nation. The Jayhawks need to be on upset alert against the Bears on Saturday, but they have the tools to handle Baylor. 

If all goes well for the Jayhawks this week, the team may have done just enough to leapfrog past some teams to earn that No. 1 seed. 

 

All statistics via ESPN

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