KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Kansas forward Marcus Morris did the right thing when asked whether he had a preference between Nebraska or Oklahoma State as an opponent in today's Big 12 tournament quarterfinal.
"No," Morris said. "But I have a preference of who I want to play in the championship."
The Jayhawks didn't weigh in on the Cornhuskers and Cowboys — No. 9 seed Oklahoma State advanced with a 53-52 victory on Wednesday — because KU was the easy favorite against both teams. Picking a side and announcing it could have created a "be careful what you wish for" type of scenario.
But Saturday's championship game? No. 1 seed Kansas wants No. 2 seed Texas, which ended the Jayhawks' 69-game home-court winning streak 74-63 on Jan. 22 in Allen Fieldhouse.
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"If we get Texas, I think that'll be one of the best games we played all year," Morris said, "because we'd be so ready to play that game just because of what happened earlier in the season."
And if it wasn't asking too much, Morris also would like to face a certain fourth-seeded in-state rival in the semifinals on Friday.
"I looked at the brackets, and if we win our first game, and Kansas State wins their first game, we play K-State next," Morris said. "We get that rematch. I feel like we kind of overlooked those guys, and they're getting better. Right now, that would definitely be a quality win, two quality wins (with Texas). I think we need those games."
KU coach Bill Self doesn't want the Jayhawks to get ahead of themselves today. After all, it was just two years ago that they lost in the first round to Baylor in the early quarterfinal game. Self knows that his players want a chance to avenge losses to the Wildcats and Longhorns, but this time of year, that's a dangerous mode of thinking.
"Nebraska and Oklahoma State would like another shot at Kansas, too," Self said. "That's how you have to look at that thing."
Certainly, Self is right. The Cowboys came into Allen on Feb. 21 for a ESPN Big Monday game with the intention of inciting the Morris twins into losing focus and getting off their game. Marcus responded with 27 points, leading KU to a 92-65 victory in Lawrence.
"We weren't too happy when we left Lawrence last time," Oklahoma State guard Keiton Page said.
The Cowboys (19-12) see a chance at redemption today, just like the Jayhawks do in the next two rounds.
"Kansas is probably the best team in America," Oklahoma State forward Marshall Moses said. "They're efficient defensively. Offensively they've got two really good guys inside. They've got shooters. A great point guard. They've got depth on the bench. In order to have a chance against them, it's going to be a team effort."