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Kansas claims ninth straight Big 12 title despite loss at Baylor

Mar 9, 2013, 8:16 PM EDT

Kansas Baylor Basketball AP

Even when they lose, they win.

Kansas appeared to be sleep-walking at Baylor, losing 81-58 tonight, but still took home a share of the Big 12 title. Kansas has earned at least a share of the league crown in each of the past nine seasons. The Jayhawks were assured of the milestone when Oklahoma State beat Kansas State earlier in the day. The Jayhawks swept the Wildcats in season play, so they get the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 tournament.

That may not seem quite fair, but there’s every chance that Big 12 opponents will get the last laugh. Kansas has – at least temporarily – fallen off the No. 1 seed line in the NCAA tournament, and once again showed the baffling inconsistency that plagued the team during a three-game February losing streak. The inability to create game-saving runs when playing behind may come back to haunt the Jayhawks on the bigger stage of late March.

Bill Self got strong play from his freshmen in the loss. Ben McLemore splashed 23 points, and backup big man Perry Ellis chipped in twelve.

Pierre Jackson went off for Baylor, throwing down an epic open-floor dunk in the game’s final minutes. It was the highlight-reel capper to a stellar senior day performance that saw the point guard score 28 points to go with six boards, ten assists and two steals. Forward Cory Jefferson, who had not hit a trey all season long, went 3-3 from deep as part of a 25-point effort. Isaiah Austin and A.J. Walton were in double figures as well.

The Bears had a great night in front of RGIII and Pierre Jackson’s dancin’ grandma, but their tourney hopes at this point are best summed up by this tweet from SI.com’s Andy Glockner:

The Bears will have to run the table in the Kansas/Oklahoma Invitational Big 12 Tournament in order to know they’re in the Big Dance.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.