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9:00 pm, October 24

2017 Big 12 Tournament Preview

Big 12 Regular Season Standings

Seed School Conf. Overall
1 Kansas 16–2  28-3
2 West Virginia 12–6  24-7
3 Baylor 12–6  25-6
4 Iowa State 12–6  20-10
5 Oklahoma State 9–9  20-11
6 Kansas State 8–10  19-12
7 Texas Tech 6–12  18-13
8 TCU 6–12  17-14
9 Oklahoma 5–13  11-19
10 Texas 4–14  10-21

Big 12 Tournament Schedule

Game Time Matchup Television
First round – Wednesday, March 8
1 7:00 pm #8 TCU vs #9 Oklahoma ESPNU
2 9:00 pm #7 Texas Tech vs #10 Texas
Quarterfinals – Thursday, March 9
3 12:30 pm #4 Iowa State vs #5 Oklahoma State ESPN2
4 2:30 pm #1 Kansas vs Winner of game 1
5 7:00 pm #2 West Virginia vs Winner of game 2 ESPNU
6 9:00 pm #3 Baylor vs #6 Kansas State
Semifinals – Friday, March 10
7 7:00 pm Winner of game 3 vs Winner of game 4 ESPN2
8 9:00 pm Winner of game 5 vs Winner of game 6
Championship – Saturday, March 11
9 6:00 pm Winner of game 7 vs Winner of game 8 ESPN

Big 12 Tournament Preview

The Big 12 has five teams locked into the NCAA tournament already. Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, and Oklahoma State are all guaranteed to make the big dance, but the Big 12 could get a sixth team in. Kansas State could make the tournament with a win against Baylor, and a second win after that would assure them a bid. The other four teams would need to win the conference’s auto-bid to make the tournament, which would be a long shot.

Big 12 Tournament Predictions

The opening day of the Big 12 tournament with an interesting 8-9 game. TCU was right on the bubble towards the end of the year, and they were in my projected field at one point, but the Horned Frogs choked down the stretch, losing their last seven straight, including multiple games where they either blew a lead or lost in a close game. Oklahoma is clearly not as good as last year, but the Sooners are battle tested, they’ve faced the toughest schedule in the country, and they just beat TCU on Saturday, I see them pulling the upset, and beating TCU again here.

The second opening day matchup is a little less of a tossup. Texas Tech was another team that flirted with the bubble after wins over West Virginia and Baylor, but they tailed off towards the end. They lost all but one game during that stretch, and that one win came against their first round opponent, the Texas Longhorns. Texas has recruited well, but that hasn’t translated to wins on the court, the Longhorns ended the year on sevens straight losses, and I see Texas Tech rebounding after a disappointing end to the season, and making that streak eight.

The quarterfinals kick off in a non-traditional way. Instead of the one seed opening up the round, the 4-5 matchup will. Iowa State and Oklahoma State just played on Tuesday, meaning all three of the games so far are rematches from the past ten days or less, but it may be one of the best quarterfinals of any conference tournament in the country. Oklahoma State has the best offense in the Big 12 (and maybe the country) and Iowa State comes into the tournament with momentum, winning six of their past seven. Oklahoma State’s offense is run through Jawun Evans. Evans is a potent offensive scorer, but like his team, he can really struggle on the defensive end. That will give Monte Morris a good matchup, and he will lead Iowa State to a victory.

Kansas-Oklahoma is the second quarterfinal of the day. Again, these two teams played in the last ten days, a ten point home win for Kansas on Monday. Oklahoma is a young team, and while the Sooners will get back to the final four someday, they won’t even make the final four of their conference tournament, as a Kansas team that swept them during the regular season will get their third win over Oklahoma, and advance.

The second session kicks off with West Virginia facing Texas Tech. These two teams had a pair of exciting games in the regular season, as BOTH of the games between these teams went to overtime, with the more recent one going to double OT.  Texas Tech dealt well with West Virginia’s press in both of the early season matchups, but in this scenario, the Red Raiders will be tired, having just played yesterday, and they will struggle to break the press, leading to West Virginia forcing turnovers, and ultimately moving on to the next round.

A great day of quarterfinals caps off with Kansas State and Baylor. K-State would need a win here to keep their tournament hopes alive and maybe another win after that. The Wildcats finished the year 3-5 in their past eight, with the three wins being against Big 12 bottom feeders. The Wildcats and Bears split the regular season series, but I lean towards Baylor winning the third battle. BU can control the pace of the game with the slowest tempo in the Big 12, something that the high-scoring teams of the Big 12 don’t deal with every day, that will force Kansas State to score against a defense ranked tenth in the country via Kenpom, and the Wildcats aren’t equipped to that. Give me Baylor.

The semifinals here are almost on the same level as the ACC. Kansas and Iowa State will face off in the first of the two. These two teams split the regular season series, with it being a close game each time. Kansas comes into the tournament with a chance at the #1 overall seed, and Iowa State is fighting to get a top four seed in the big dance. The Cyclones are the most experienced team of the power seven conferences, but they really struggle inside. Their post game is average, and their rebounding is the worst in the conference both offensively and defensively, that will show against a Kansas team that should have a major advantage down low.

Baylor and West Virginia will face, with a spot in the title game on the line. They split the season series, with Baylor winning the more recent game between the two. The Bears shut down West Virginia defensively, and were able to outrebound the Mountaineers, I don’t expect Bob Huggins to let that happen again. “Press Virginia” will be able to force turnovers. The Mountaineers force the most turnovers and commit the most steals of any team in the nation according to Knepom. Through the chaos will come opportunities for easy baskets, which are hard to come by against Baylor’s potent defense. This game will come down to the wire, and I could see overtime, but at the end of the day, I’ve got the Mountaineers.

So, here we are, at the final, the championship game. I’ll say it right now. I see Kansas walking away with the championship. Again. I know, I know, not creative, but if you break it down, it makes sense. Kansas already plays the fastest tempo in the Big 12, so the press defense isn’t going to force them to play at an uncomfortable speed like it did against teams like Virginia and Baylor. To add to that, West Virginia fouls a lot, and Kansas makes it’s free throws, Frank Mason is a POY contender, and, if you pick anyone other than Kansas in this tournament, you are crazy. Bill Self is one of the top three active coaches right now, and I think you can make a legitimate case for #1. Kansas wins tight games, because they have a mix of talented freshman and seasoned veterans, and they will beat West Virginia here, and secure a 1 seed in the NCAA’s.

Big 12 Tournament Bracket

First Round
Wednesday, March 8
Quarterfinals
Thursday, March 9
Semifinals
Friday, March 10
Championship
Saturday, March 11
1  Kansas
9  Oklahoma
8  TCU
9  Oklahoma
 Kansas
4  Iowa State
4  Iowa State
5  Oklahoma State
 Kansas
2  West Virginia
2  West Virginia
7  Texas Tech
7  Texas Tech
10  Texas
2  West Virginia  
3  Baylor
3  Baylor
6  Kansas State

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