Big 12 Tournament Preview
For the first time in 15 years, Kansas won’t enter the Big 12 Tournament with at least a share of the regular season title. While credit is due to both Kansas State and Texas Tech for their great seasons, the Jayhawks remain a force to be reckoned with for the remainder of March.
Kansas’ failure to extend it’s Big 12 regular-season title streak isn’t the only story worth noting ahead of the Big 12 tournament. Multiple programs are in need of big wins in Kansas City if they want to add to their resumes before selection Sunday.
Kansas State and Texas Tech shared the regular season title, so they’ll be the first and second seed, respectively. The Red Raiders have a tougher road to the final because Kansas appears in their side of the bracket as the No. 3 seed.
Baylor and Iowa State, the fourth and fifth seed, are already in the big dance and will be playing for the best seed they can possibly get on Selection Sunday. These two teams are set to meet in the quarterfinals, and Baylor will be looking to avenge their two regular-season losses to the Cyclones.
Despite their losing record in the conference this season (7-10), Oklahoma is in decent shape to make the tournament, but it would be smart for the Sooners to try and build on their resume before selection Sunday.
Then there’s Texas and Texas Christian University, both of whom need a big win in the conference tournament to impress the selection committee. Texas has really put itself on the outside looking in, losing four of its last five regular-season games. TCU, who beat Texas on Saturday, still needs another big win to make a strong case to be in the tournament. Since these two schools have “bubble" status, look for them to play with an extra edge in the conference tournament.
As for West Virginia and Oklahoma State, a miraculous run through the conference tournament may be the only thing that can save their seasons. Perennially one of the deepest conferences in all of college basketball, the Big 12 should have big representation in the NCAA tournament, with as many as eight teams expected to make it to the big dance.
Prediction: Kansas over Kansas State
Expect Kansas to use the disappointment of keeping it’s regular season title streak alive as motivation to come out on top in the conference tournament. This definitely isn’t the best team coach Bill Self has had at Kansas, but they have plenty of weapons to prove they’re still the best team in their conference.
Kansas has shown they can come away with big wins on neutral courts, with victories against Michigan State, Marquette, and Tennessee, keeping them comfortable in the conference tournament. With big man and star in Dedric Lawson, Kansas should win the Big 12 Tournament for the 12th time and makes its case to be the third seed in March Madness.
Jack Flanagan is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.