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Four bench players scored 49 points for the Texas Longhorns on Thursday as they cruised past the Oklahoma Sooners, 74-54, in the second round of the Big 12 tournament. Texas was a heavy favorite entering the game (13.5 points) and dominated this one from the start jumping out to a 43-20 halftime lead.
Jordan Hamilton scored 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting and 10 boards leading the Longhorns. On OU's side, Cade Davis put up 17 points one night after putting up 24 in the Sooners upset over Baylor.
Oklahoma shot 57 percent from the floor and 50 percent (9-of-18) from three-point land against Baylor. Against Texas, those numbers dropped to 40 percent and 23 percent (3-of-13).
Texas moves onto play the winner of the Missouri-Texas A&M game Thursday night.
The Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners will meet once again as the Big 12 tournament schedule rolls on. The Longhorns are clearly the favorites in this game and I would say, without jinxing them, that they will win this game.
But Oklahoma, the 10th seed in the tourney, played like a different team against Baylor in the opening round shooting 57 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point land. If they can play like that, and get another 24 points out of Cade Davis, this may be a closer game than I imagine.
Oklahoma had lost eight consecutive games before winning their regular season finale against Oklahoma State and then winning again in the first round of the Big 12 tournament. There's something to be said for teams that are hot.
All that said, it's hard to envision a scenario where Texas doesn't win. They're huge favorites -- then again, so was Kansas -- so I'll stick with them in my prediction.
The Colorado Buffaloes certainly have Kansas State's number. The Buffs beat the Wildcats for the third time this season knocking them out of the Big 12 tournament earlier than the Wildcats had hoped. The final score was 87-75 in favor of Colorado.
This isn't a major upset because Colorado had already beaten K-State twice this year but it is is a little surprising. I really thought KSU would win this game, particularly with the wayt hey've played lately. They've won 8 of their last 10 games and both losses have come against Colorado.
Colorado moves on to face Kansas on Friday night. KU will be heavily favored but don't sleep on CU. They've shown the ability to pull off an upset.
The Kansas Jayhawks survived an outstanding effort from the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the second round of the 2011 Big 12 tournament. The bracket had these two teams matched up and, as a 14.5 point favorite, I figured KU basketball would walk away with this.
Apparently not. OSU lead for part of the game and stayed with Kansas all the way down to the final seconds. OSU had a chance to hit a potential game-winner but a broken play resulted in J.P. Olukemi's shot missing the mark .
Marcus Morris lead Kansas with 16 points and 11 boards while brother Markieff added 10 points and six boards. Kansas didn't play great but they also didn't play terrible. Credit OSU for coming out early and hitting their shots, as they did against Nebraska on Wednesday.
Kansas moves on and will play the winner of the Colorado-Kansas State game which is starting right now. We could be seeing a KU-KSU matchup on Friday....I think that's what I'm rooting for. That will blow the roof off the Sprint Center.
The Missouri Tigers escaped Texas Tech in the first round of the 2011 Big 12 tournament setting themselves up with a matchup against Texas A&M. The Tigers are the sixth seed in the tournament while the Aggies finished as the third seed. Here's the full Big 12 tournament bracket.
The game will take place in Kansas City at the Sprint Center so we can expect a good sized contingent of Mizzou fans. Those Mizzou fans may be important because you should remember that the Tigers have a lot of trouble winning away from home.
This should be one of the day's best games because these teams are evenly matched. Mizzou lost to Texas A&M earlier in the season but it was by two points in overtime and on the road.
The Tigers had a big game from Marcus Denmon in round one and they'll need that again in round two as they hope to slow down the Aggies.
This is a winnable for Mizzou though the same can be said for Texas A&M. I'm picking the Tigers and I think they get a boost from the "home" crowd at the Sprint Center.
The winner of this game will face the winner of the Oklahoma-Texas game.
It's a rivalry in football because both programs are among the elite in the country. In basketball? Not so much. Oklahoma and Texas will tip off on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. in the second round of the 2011 Big 12 tournament bracket.The Sooners upset Baylor in round one of the tournament -- and looked good doing it -- meaning the Longhorns now face the Sooners once again.
On paper, this one is easy to figure out. Texas is clearly the better team and they should have no problem taking care of Oklahoma. Of course, that's what we said about Baylor-Oklahoma on Wednesday and the Sooners came out shooting 57 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc. Not exactly a push-over, huh?
Look, Texas should definitely win this game but they've also lost two of their last three and three of their last five. They've lost to Nebraska and Colorado in that stretch so losing to Oklahoma is not out of the question.
That said, I'm picking Texas for all the reasons listed above. I enjoyed watching Oklahoma on Wednesday but realistically I can't see them come out and shoot like that again. Go with the Longhorns.
The Kansas State Wildcats will be looking for some revenge against Colorado after the Buffaloes swept the season series between the two teams. K-State will play their first game of the 2011 Big 12 tournament bracket in the quarterfinals against Colorado.
This will surprisingly be one of the best matchups today. K-State is, in my opinion, the better team and they're playing really well right now. However, Colorado sweeping the season series 2-0 is no joke. They've shown they can beat quality Big 12 teams, including KSU.
So what happens on Thursday? I'm predicting a KSU victory. It's hard not to.
The Wildcats have won eight of their last nine games -- the one loss coming to Colorado -- and Jacob Pullen, a Big 12 player of the year candidate like Colorado's Alex Burks, has been at the top of his game. Plus, it's hard to beat anyone in any sport three times in one season. I think Frank Martin figures them out and Kansas State wins it.
I haven't seen a line for the game yet but I'd imagine K-State is slightly favored in this one. The Sprint Center crowd in Kansas City will be purple and they'll be fired up because, if KU wins right before them, they'd be playing for a matchup against the Jayhawks.
Colorado-Kansas State will be going down at 2:00 p.m. in Kansas City and can be viewed on the Big 12 Network (or KMCI in Kansas City....or channel 8 for Time Warner folks).
The Kansas Jayhawks will play their first game of the 2011 Big 12 tournament on Thursday against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The game tips off at 11:30 a.m. and there are sure to be plenty of Jayhawk fans in the house to cheer on the tournament's No. 1 seed. Here's the full Big 12 tournament bracket.
There's not a whole lot to say about this game other than Kansas is clearly the top team in the conference and, on paper, should have no trouble with Oklahoma State.
The Jayhawks are a 14.5 point favorite which sounds about right. The last time these two teams played Kansas won, 92-65. Marcus and Markieff Morris combined for over 40 points and 12 rebounds while OSU's Marshall Moses had 27 points. Those are the obvious players each team needs to watch out for.
Kansas, though, is so deep that even if the Morris twins struggle, they can still cruise. Guys like Travis Releford and Josh Selby would start on most Big 12 teams but are role players for KU. The Jayhawks bench is one of their biggest assets.
I'm predicting a KU victory here and I don't think it'll be close. The Jayhawks should take advantage of an Oklahoma State that played a rough game against Nebraska 24 hours before.
The Texas Longhorns first game in the 2011 Big 12 tournament will come against the Oklahoma Sooners. Most of us were expecting to see Baylor in this spot but the Bears, after hearing freshman Perry Jones III was now ineligible to play, were upset by Oklahoma, 84-67.
That means Oklahoma will face the task of beating the team that sat atop the conference standings for much of the season. Texas has lost their of their last five games after starting the conference season undefeated.
They'll be favored in this game but there has to be some concern after watching Oklahoma shoot 57 percent from the field against Baylor. Texas is the better team but any team in the conference would have had some trouble with the Oklahoma team that played on Wednesday.
This will be the third game of the day after Oklahoma State-Kansas and Colorado-Kansas State. The Longhorns and Sooners will tip-off at 6:00 p.m. (CT) on Thursday.
The Baylor Bears were the seventh seed in the 2011 Big 12 tournament and they went down quickly. Oklahoma topped Baylor, 84-67, in round one of the conference tournament. Oklahoma moves on in the bracket to face Texas in the quarterfinals. Here's the full Big 12 tournament bracket.
Baylor was an 8.5 point favorite a day before the game but just hours before Wednesday's game they received word that the NCAA had ruled standout freshman Perry Jones III ineligible and he wouldn't be playing in the game. Baylor appealed the ruling but that didn't get him on the court on Wednesday night.
Oklahoma had four guys in double digits and, as a team, shot 57 percent from the field. Cade Davis lead the Sooners with 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-8 from three-point land. Carl Blair added 14 points while Cameron Clark and Steven Pledger scored 10 points apiece.
Baylor's bright spot came from Quincy Acy who went 6-of-9 from the field for 21 points and a whopping 15 boards. Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn had to step up in Perry Jones III absence and he went a miserable 3-of-15 from the field for 11 points.
Baylor ends a disappointing 18-12 season with a first round tournament loss. Meanwhile, Oklahoma will do something many didn't think they'd be doing -- playing on Thursday.
Check out Crimson and Cream Machine for more on Oklahoma's victory.
The Baylor Bears got word just a few hours before Wednesday's game against Baylor that freshman Perry Jones III was ruled ineligible by the NCAA and won't be playing in the game (or the rest of the season). Apparently, they're having trouble replacing his nearly 14 points and seven boards per game.
Oklahoma has jumped out to a 17-point halftime lead over Baylor, 39-22. The Bears simply aren't on their game hitting on just 36 percent of their shots while Oklahoma is playing very well shooting 56 percent from the field.
Cade Davis has 14 points and three boards to lead the Sooners at halftime while Quincy Acy leads Baylor with eight points and seven boards. Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn is just 1-of-5 from the field with three points.
The news on Jones III couldn't have helped Baylor's situation heading into the game. They prepared to play Oklahoma with him and just hours before the game one of their leading players isn't there anymore.
Baylor is an 8.5 point favorite in this game according to the college basketball odds we saw (pre-Jones III ineligible ruling).
The winner of this game will go on to face Texas on Thursday. Right now, it looks like that team will be Oklahoma.
Check out Crimson and Cream Machine for more on the game.
The Baylor Bears officially announced in a press release that freshman Perry Jones III has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA and will not play against the Oklahoma Sooners in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Baylor was informed of the decision on Wednesday afternoon, hours before they were set to tip-off against Oklahoma, and immediately appealed the decision.
The official cause of the suspension: "pre-enrollment amateurism violation/preferential treatment". Here's what the release said:
Jones III had no knowledge of three, 15-day loans between his mother and AAU coach that were provided while Jones III was in high school. The loans were repaid in a timely manner, according to interviews conducted by Baylor officials and the NCAA staff. Prior to his enrollment at Baylor, Jones' AAU coach also paid for Jones' travel to a professional pre-season football game in San Diego, Calif.
Baylor has been cooperative throughout and continue to support Jones III as their appeal is heard.
"Perry is to be commended for being cooperative and forthcoming during this unfortunate process," Baylor AD Ian McCaw said.
Appeal or not, Jones III won't be playing when Baylor needs him the most and that's at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday night.
The first half of the first round of the 2011 Big 12 tournament is over. The day kicked off with Oklahoma State beating Nebraska followed by Colorado holding on against Iowa State. The day will continue with the evening games where we'll see Oklahoma-Baylor and Texas Tech-Mizzou. Here's a quick recap of the afternoon games:
(9) Oklahoma State 53 (8) Nebraska 52
OSU cruised out to an early lead lead hitting their first five three-point attempts. They were really shooting well early and it showed as they held a 24-11 lead midway through the first half. Towards the end of the first half, and the opening of the second half, the light kicked on for Nebraska (and OSU wasn't drilling every shot) allowing them to get back into the game. Nebraska started on an 18-8 run to begin the second half and allowed them to get back into the game. It appeared Nebraska has luck on their side when OSU's Keiton Page, 90 percent free throw shooter, missed the first shot on a one-and-one with 16 seconds remaining. The Huskers got the ball back but couldn't convert leading to Oklahoma State's 53-52 victory.
(5) Colorado 77 (12) Iowa State 77
For a while, this one had upset written all over it. Alec Burks ended the first half with just four points as the Cyclones held a two-point lead over the Buffs. What Burks did next was simply put on a shot. In the second half, he added 25 points and six boards making his total for the game 29 points and 15 rebounds. An incredible performance for him as Colorado put themselves in position to knock Kansas State off for the third time this year.
Whew. That was a little closer than Colorado would have liked. The Buffaloes defeated Iowa State 77-75 on Wednesday in the first round of the Big 12 tournament. Colorado entered the game as a 4.5 point favorite and nearly lost it before securing a victory in the final minute of the game.
The story of the game is, who else, Alec Burks. Before the game, I made a Captain Obvious statement and said Burks, the Big 12 player of the year candidate, would be an important piece to the puzzle and he'd need to come through with a solid game. By halftime, he had just four points putting some doubt on whether he would be a big factor.
The second half answered that question as he put up 25 more points ending with a ridiculous 29 points and 15 boards. Teammate Cory Higgins added 16 points and four boards helping the Buffs secure the win.
Iowa State wasn't short on big time performances in the loss. Darian 'Jake' Anderson scored 33 points points on 13-of-20 shooting from the field while teammate Diante Garrett added 19 points.
After a rough first half for both teams, Colorado came out in the second half shooting significantly better to pull out the victory.
Iowa State, 3-13 and last place in the Big 12, is beating the fifth seed Colorado Buffaloes at halftime, 28-26. The two teams are in the midst of the second game in the first round of the 2011 Big 12 tournament.
I said one of my keys to the game was getting Big 12 player of the year candidate Alec Burks involved in the game so he doesn't disappear. At halftime, Burks has just four points on 2-of-6 shooting from the field. He hasn't been invisible though as he still has nine boards.
Neither side is shooting very well -- both under 40 percent -- and Iowa State is leading thanks in part to four three-pointers compared to Colorado's one. Darion 'Jake' Anderson has 12 points leading the Cyclones and Cory Higgins has eight to lead Colorado.
We'll see if Colorado gets back on track in the second half. They're a 4.5 point favorite in this game and the winner will go on to face Kansas State on Thursday.
Uh, this is pretty big news. Baylor's Perry Jones has been suspended for tonight's Big 12 tournament game against the Oklahoma Sooners, according to a TV report. Adam Winkler of KEYE TV in Austin, TX reports that Jones III will not play tonight due to the suspension.
He tweets that "it could be more than just a violation of [team] rules." Other reports say the violation involves impermissible benefits and he could be done at Baylor. We're not sure what the situation is.
If so, wow. This is obviously incredibly bad timing for Baylor as they prepare to play Oklahoma at 6:00 p.m. in the Sprint Center for the first round of the Big 12 tournament. The timing is also strange considering the NY Times profiled him just this morning.
This affects a lot of things.
First, it gives Oklahoma a better chance of beating Baylor. Jones III was averaging nearly 14 points per game and over seven rebounds per game. Just a freshman, he's projected to be one of the top picks in the 2011 NBA draft, if he decides to leave. After this, you wonder if he's more or less likely to go pro.
Second, what does this do to Baylor's chances in the Big 12 tournament? If they had any NCAA tournament hopes, they had to make a big run in this tournament. That task just got tougher.
The Big 12 tournament continues with the Iowa State Cyclones and Colorado Buffaloes. The first game in the bracket is in the books with the Oklahoma State Cowboys beating the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Now we look to the fifth seeded Buffs against the 12th seeded Cyclones. Here's the full Big 12 tournament bracket.
Colorado is a 4.5 point favorite in this game so we'll expect something close. The two teams actually split the season series so it really could go either way.
Colorado will bring out conference player of the year candidate Alec Burks, who is averaging nearly 20 points per game. He's been money throughout the year and he'll have a bigger stage to show what he can do. They don't need a super human performance from him to beat Iowa State but he can't disappear. He'll be a key in this game.
Iowa State finished the season 3-13 in the conference so it's hard to expect them to make much noise. In fact, they haven't made noise -- or won a Big 12 tournament game -- since March of 2005. I'm not sure that they're due yet.
The Kansas Jayhawks have their first opponent of the 2011 Big 12 tournament -- Oklahoma State. The Cowboys beat the Nebraska Huskers on Wednesday in round one of the bracket. The Jayhawks are the top ranked team in the tournament so Oklahoma State will have their hands full.
Everyone already knows about the Jayhawks. They're the second ranked team in the country and regular season winners of the Big 12. They have the conference coach of the year in Bill Self and the conference player of the year in Marcus Morris.
Oklahoma State comes in with a 19-12 record and though they're not in the NCAA tournament right now who knows what a victory over Kansas would do.
The two teams played earlier in the season at Allen Fieldhouse and KU took care of business, 92-65. In that game, Marcus and Markieff Morris combined for 42 points and 12 boards so obviously a key in this will be figuring out a way to stop those two. Marcus gets the attention with the player of the year award but Markieff also made the All-Big 12 second team and was the better player at times this year.
Also in that last game, OSU's Marshall Moses put up 27 points so they'll need him to do that again -- with a few more guys chiming in as well.
Kansas is going to be the heavy favorite in this game and rightfully so. KU fans outnumber everyone else there so Sprint Center will be loud, even if the game does come at 11:30 a.m.
Oklahoma State defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 53-52, in the first round of the 2011 Big 12 tournament. In the bracket, OSU was a No. 9 seed facing the No. 8 seed Huskers so this is also our first upset.
Oklahoma State jumped out to an early lead -- 24-11 at one point in the first half -- but as we expected Nebraska came back grinding it out. The Huskers shot under 25 percent in the first half but raised that number in the second half, especially in the first nine minutes when they broke out on an 18-8 run.
The Cowboys, though, hung on in the final minutes of the game. What scared Oklahoma State is that Keiton Page missed the first of a one-and-one off the front of the rim giving Nebraska the ball back with 16 seconds down one point. Page of course is money from the free throw sitting at 90 percent on the season.
The Huskers though couldn't convert as Lance Jeter turned it over. That sealed it -- 53-52 Oklahoma State.
Leading the way for Oklahoma State was Page, who shot 6-of-13 from the field and scored 16 points. For Nebraska is was Jeter who scored 17 points including 7 of 8 from the free-throw line. Both guys had a solid day and this game was about was close as everyone expected it to be with the Huskers entering the game as 1.5 point favorites.
That's one game down in the Big 12 tournament bracket. Oklahoma State will move on to play Kansas on Thursday morning.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers are apparently a team of two different halves. In the first half against Oklahoma State in the first round of the Big 12 tournament, Nebraska looked out of sync and the Cowboys capitalized getting a lead as large as 13 points and entered halftime with a 30-21 lead.
The start to the second half has been much kinder to the Huskers as they've grabbed their first lead of the game, 39-38, with about 11 minutes remaining in the game. Kudos to Nebraska for slowly chipping away at Oklahoma State's lead. Lance Jeter has 11 points leading Nebraska in scoring while OSU's Keiton Page has 10 points.
Nebraska shot 23 percent in the first half and 72 in the second half (through nine minutes of the game). At the moment, the second half score is 18-8 in favor of Nebraska.
There's still plenty of time remaining but this isn't turning into a rout like we once thought it was. Oklahoma State started the game hitting their first five three-point attempts of the game but they haven't hit one in their last seven attempts.
Every year I think I'm going to predict the perfect Big 12 tournament bracket and I've yet to do it. If the first half of Nebraska and Oklahoma State's opening round game is any indication, I'll be wrong once again. The Cowboys took a 30-21 halftime lead over the Huskers only a few hours after I predicted Nebraska to win.
Oklahoma State's lead was as high as 13 points at one time but Nebraska went on a mini-run late in the half to push it to nine points.
The Cowboys are cooling off a little bit offensively. They started on fire hitting their first five three-pointers but slowed down later in the half missing their next five attempts. Keiton Page leads the Cowboys in scoring with eight points including a pair of threes. Reger Dowell and Marshall Moses are the next two leading scorers with six and five points, respectively.
Nebraska's usually staunch defense didn't kick in until midway through the first half. Offensively, they're still struggling. Jorge Brian Diaz has eight points with a game-high nine attempts as well as three boards and two assists. Lance Jeter has added seven points shooting 1-of-5 from the field but 4-of-4 from the free throw line.
I didn't think Oklahoma State would be able to continue shooting at the rate they were early in the game so we'll see which direction they go in the second half. I've predicted Nebraska to win but, through one half, my confidence level in that pick has been shattered.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys had a disappointing 2010-11 college basketball season but they're off to the right start in the 2011 Big 12 tournament. Our first bracket update comes as Oklahoma State jumps out to an early double-digit lead, 23-11, over the Nebraska Cornhuskers halfway through the first half.
Oklahoma State's Keiton Page and Reger Dowell have yet to miss a shot and each have six points. The key for Oklahoma State though has been the three-pointer. It's still obviously very early but the Cowboys are 5-for-5 from three-point land. They're not getting beat if they can keep that up (but it's not realistic to think they can). Oklahoma State is shooting over 70 percent from the field hitting on 8-of-11 shots.
Nebraska on the other hand has hit just 5-of-13 shots and they're struggling offensively. The Huskers strength is their defense but that goes to waste if Oklahoma State continues to hit three-pointers.
Doc Sadler was "beside himself" early on, according to the Big 12 Network telecast, because Oklahoma State was dictating the flow of the game. OSU looks very comfortable and Nebraska does not.
The 2011 Big 12 tournament is nearing the tip-off time of 11:30 a.m. (CT) for the first round game between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Oklahoma State Cowboys. Nebraska is a small 1.5 point favorite entering the bracket as an eight seed to Oklahoma State's nine seed.
We've picked the Huskers to win. I feel that their defense should be enough to win today which will pit them against the Kansas Jayhawks in round two. History over the last few years, though, says it'll be Oklahoma State. While Nebraska did beat them this season, OSU had won the previous five games.
Nebraska doesn't have many individual stars but collectively they were an excellent defense ending the season sixth in the country in field goal percentage defense and 12th in scoring defense. They didn't, however, place anyone on the All-Big 12 defensive team.
The two teams will tip-off shortly at Kansas City's Sprint Center. It's four games on Wednesday, four games on Thursday, two games on Friday and the championship game on Saturday.
Here's the view from the Sprint Center before the Nebraska-Oklahoma State game (via @rmattwill):
Baylor is an 8.5 point favorite over Oklahoma on Wednesday in the first round of the 2011 Big 12 tournament but they don't have the largest line fo the day. That belongs to Mizzou and Texas Tech as the Tigers are 12 point favorites over the Red Raiders.
On the one hand, Texas Tech just fired head coach Pat Knight (but he will coach through the season) and could easily blow this game against Mizzou. On the other hand, the Tigers have lost three consecutive games. So we're pretty sure Mizzou will win but there's a sliver of doubt in there.
SB Nation's Big 12 Hoops likes the line and predicts a Mizzou victory.
With the news of Pat Knight being let go but being allowed to coach this game kind of throws a wrench into picking this game. Yes Tech has not been good this year under Knight but who knows how the team will respond. The Red Raiders have a lot of seniors on their team, do they come out and play as hard as they can or do they try to end the season as quickly as possible? On the Missouri side they have lost 3 straight games coming into tournament and bubble talk is being mentioned so how do they respond to the pressure. Going to have to pick Missouri to play well in front of a virtual home court and beat Texas Tech and cover this spread.
Excellent points from Big 12 Hoops, especially the part about the home crowd. This will be a pro-Mizzou crowd and we all know how Mizzou does at home versus the road. That's not something that can be understated.
It should be interesting to see if the biggest favorites of the day can walk away with a win.
The Baylor Bears first game in the 2011 Big 12 tournament will be against the Oklahoma Sooners. The game will take place at 6:00 p.m. (CT) at the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City. Baylor comes in with more star power than the Sooners who stumbled through the season and find themselves as a 10 seed in the conference tournament.
Baylor is the better team but they've consistently been inconsistent throughout the year so you really don't know what you're going to get. But if Baylor comes out and plays their game, I feel confident picking them in this one. SB Nation's Big 12 Hoops agrees that they win but says it may be closer than the 8.5 point line.
First off I want to say that Baylor is pretty much an unbettable team since you never have any clue which team will show up. That being said I do think that Baylor is going to win this game but I think it might be close as OU might show up and hit some shots. Going to pick Baylor to win the game but not cover this spread.
I'm still going with Baylor stepping it up when they need to the most and running away with this one. Then again, I've been picking Baylor most of the year and they're just 18-9 so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. They're one of those teams that on paper should be one of the better teams in the conference...and then they show up to the tournament as a seven seed.
The fifth seed Colorado Buffaloes and 12th seed Iowa State Cyclones will tip-off at 2:00 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday for the first round of the Big 12 tournament. On the surface, this seems like a fairly boring game but there are a few interesting tidbits in it.
First, we'll get to see Big 12 player of the year candidate Alec Burks. Second, we'll get to see Iowa State go for their first Big 12 tourney victory since March 10, 2005 (six years!). Third, these teams split the season series so we could be headed for a close game.
The Buffs are 4.5 point favorites, which SB Nation's Big 12 Hoops says seems somewhat low.
A part of me questions why this spread is as low as it is. Yes I know Iowa State has been playing better basketball as of late but Colorado is playing for the NCAA Tournament and will have the best player on the court in Alec Burks. While not overly confident with this pick going to go with CU to win the game and cover the spread.
I'm fairly confident that Colorado will win this one. As Big 12 Hoops noted, they're still trying to string together a few wins to state their case for the NCAA tournament, however difficult that may be. This time I'll go with the team that has more to lose, and that's Colorado.
Check out the full Big 12 tournament bracket here.
The first game in the first round of the 2011 Big 12 tournament bracket will be the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Oklahoma State Cowboys at 11:30 a.m. in Kansas City's Sprint Center. Nebraska beat OSU once this season but that comes after the Cowboys had won five straight against the Huskers. (FYI: Here's the Big 12 tournament bracket).
That Nebraska is favored in this game is a little surprising considering where these two teams have been in the last few years. The Huskers are 1.5 point favorites and SB Nation's Big 12 Hoops predicts they'll go home with a victory.
Going to have go with Nebraska to win this game outright and cover the tiny spread associated with it. Just think that the Cornhuskers are playing better basketball than Oklahoma State at moment and they have more reason to get motivated for this game.
I've gotta agree here. Nebraska is the type of team that can lose to Iowa State one day and beat Mizzou the next. You don't know what you're going to get. I think they have enough to pull it off against Colorado though.
Nebraska is leaving the Big 12 so the team and their fans are sure to get a loud reaction at the Sprint Center (though the day games in round one usually have the least attendance).
The first round of the Big 12 tournament bracket will go down on Wednesday and the entire four-day event will take place at Kansas City's Sprint Center. With the games being played in Kansas City, you can expect large crowds for Missouri, Kansas State and especially Kansas.
Kansas and Missouri is one of the longest running rivalries, and Kansas City is split with Jayhawks and Tigers. The one game that can blow the top off the Sprint Center would be Mizzou vs. KU. Even better, since they're on opposite sides of the bracket, these two teams could play in the Big 12 championship game.
Here's how to get Mizzou and KU in the final, which would make for an insane Sprint Center experience:
I've already picked the winners in the first round: Nebraska over Oklahoma State, Colorado over Iowa State, Baylor over Oklahoma and Missouri over Texas Tech. I'm not much for upsets, at least not this year.
That would give us these matchups in round two: Kansas vs. Nebraska, Kansas State vs. Colorado, Texas vs. Baylor and Texas A&M vs. Missouri. These aren't my official picks but from that group I would go Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor and Missouri. Why Baylor and Missouri an upset? Well, you need some upsets. Plus, Texas has been struggling lately. On Missouri, they'll be playing a quasi-home game and nearly beat A&M in their own house.
That would then bring us these matchups in the semifinals: Kansas vs. Kansas State and Baylor vs. Missouri. I'd take Kansas beating K-State and Missouri beating Baylor putting KU and MU in the final.
And then in the final: Kansas over Missouri.
On Wednesday night, the final game of round one in the 2011 Big 12 tournament bracket will feature the sixth seed Missouri Tigers and the 11th seed Texas Tech Red Raiders. RPT from Rock M Nation (and SB Nation KC) wrote a preview suggesting Mizzou needs a good showing in Kansas City this week to gain some momentum heading into the NCAA tournament.
Check out the full preview here. Here are a couple of notes about these two teams heading into the game at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday night.
-Texas Tech fired head coach Pat Knight, but he will coach the team through the rest of the season so this could be his last game. His players could fall apart in the final game knowing he's gone or they could step up and send him off on a high note.
-As RPT noted, Mizzou has lost three in a row. Losing on the road to Kansas State and Nebraska isn't so bad, and neither is losing to the No. 2 ranked team in the country. But losing to Texas Tech would be a major downer.
-Missouri struggles big time on the road but Wednesday night's game will be closer to a home game than a road game. The Big 12 tournament is in Kansas City where the majority of fans are from Mizzou, Kansas and Kansas State. The Tigers will have a bigger crowd than Texas Tech.
Check out more on Mizzou at Rock M Nation.
The Baylor Bears enter day one of the Big 12 tournament bracket as a seven seed facing the Oklahoma Sooners at the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City. College basketball odds say Baylor is a seven-point favorite over Oklahoma, who is a ten seed.
The last time these two teams played on Feb. 2 Oklahoma beat Baylor, 73-66, in a game that was delayed because of weather. On Jan. 11, Baylor registered a 13-point victory over Oklahoma.
Baylor finished the season 18-9 and 7-9 in the Big 12 on their way to losing four of its last five games. Baylor has the talent as evidenced in guys like LaceDarius Dunn (All-Big 12 First Team) and Perry Jones III (All-Big 12 Rookie Team) but couldn't put any sort of consistent run together.
Oklahoma finished the season 13-17 and 5-11 in the Big 12. It had lost eight consecutive games before winning the regular season finale against Oklahoma State.
Baylor is favored to win this game and it's hard to predict it going any other way. Though it's been inconsistent, you have to think Baylor's talent will win out here. Still, that these two teams split the regular season series shows that it really can go either way.
Check out more on Oklahoma at Crimson and Cream Machine.
The Colorado Buffaloes are the fifth seed in round one of the Big 12 tournament against the 12th seed Iowa State Cyclones in Kansas City's Sprint Center at 2:00 p.m. The Buffs are a 3.5-4.5 favorite depending on where you look, according to college basketball odds.
I've been following Colorado with curiosity all season. They're one of the most dangerous teams in the league with their track record for upsets this year and conference player of the year candidates Alec Burks.
Colorado started off the league year beating Mizzou, Kansas State and Oklahoma State roaring off to a surprising 3-0 start. Colorado came back to life going 8-8 in the conference and 19-12 overall that includes wins against Kansas State (twice) and Texas.
Iowa State is the 12th seed for a reason. They're just 3-13 in the conference including a losing streak that lasted from January 19 to February 22.
What could make this game interesting is that Iowa State has won two of their last three -- including a game over Colorado. Indeed, the Cyclones beat the Buffs in Ames just last week, 95-90.
We're picking Colorado in this one because I don't think they have a brain fart like they did last week but don't completely dismiss Iowa State. It's possible they're "peaking", which seems weird to say with a three-conference-wins team, but they can upset Colorado.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers and Oklahoma State Cowboys are the first game on the Big 12 tournament bracket which means they're actually playing in the morning at 11:30 a.m. Nebraska is the eight seed while Oklahoma State is the nine seed.
Nebraska comes into the game at 19-11 on the season and 7-9 in the Big 12 with a couple of big time wins including one over Texas a few weeks ago. They play very well at home so they could use a pro-Husker crowd at Sprint Center on Wednesday.
Oklahoma State meanwhile comes in at 18-12 on the season and just 6-10 in the Big 12. They're on a skid losing five of their last seven. In the middle of that is a four-game losing streak which was started by their loss to Nebraska. Granted, though, that losing streak includes games against Texas, Texas A&M and Kansas -- all ranked opponents.
According to Vegas odds, the Huskers are slightly favored -- 1.5 to 2.5 points depending on where you look.
Nebraska beat Oklahoma State earlier this year for the first time in their last six attempts so the Cowboys have a recent history of winning. In 2011, though, the advantage goes to the Huskers. Nebraska's win over Oklahoma State then kicked off a three-game winning streak, and then a two-game losing streak which included a four-point loss to Kansas State and an OT loss to Iowa State.
So basically they can beat one of the best teams in the league in someone like Texas but lose to one of the worst in someone like Iowa State. That's the best way to describe Nebraska.
Lance Jeter leads Nebraska individually averaging over 11 points per game and they'll need a decent performance from him -- like the 16 points he scored the last time these two teams met -- in order for Nebraska to win.
Texas Tech will be playing the Missouri Tigers the first round of the Big 12 tournament and they'll have to play knowing their head coach is on the way out. According to Chris Level of Red Raider Sports, head coach Pat Knight has been fired by Texas Tech.
He will coach in the Big 12 tournament which starts Wednesday.
How will this affect Wednesday's game? It can't be good for Texas Tech, who was a poor Big 12 team to begin with. Tech went 13-18 on the season and 5-11 in the Big 12. They already lost to the Tigers last month.
Mizzou, who has struggled as of late, may have caught a break. On the one hand, I can't imagine a team like Tech playing better after something like this. On the other hand, you wonder if they'll be extra motivated to send their head coach out on a winning note.
Texas Tech finished the season tied for 10th in the Big 12 conference and got the 11th seed in the tournament. Wednesday's game against Mizzou starts at 8:30 p.m.
For more, check out SB Nation's Double T Nation.
I've been looking at the 2011 Big 12 tournament bracket and schedule looking for some of the potential upsets in Kansas City this week. Suffice to say, there are plenty of chances for upsets with the talent level of all the teams involved. Even the sixth team, Mizzou, could hang with a couple of the best teams.
Here's the full Big 12 tournament bracket and here are a few upsets I could see happening this week depending on the matchups.
Missouri-Texas A&M: If Mizzou wins, they'll play the Aggies. The last time these two teams played the Aggies won in OT by two points. This time, though, the Tigers will be playing in front of a more pro-Mizzou crowd and, as we know, they're very good at home.
Baylor-Texas: I know Texas just beat Baylor but the Bears are that team who has enough talent that they're going to at least make you think about an upset. I wouldn't bet on this one happening but it's not completely crazy to think Baylor could beat them in the second round.
Kansas State-Kansas: This would be a semifinals matchup and it would be a great one, maybe the best possible matchup of the week. K-State obviously already beat Kansas once this year and the crowd would be split between Wildcats and Jayhawks. This one could go either way.
I could see other upsets too. Maybe a Mizzou run taking them past A&M and Texas, or perhaps a K-State title run. This should be a fun week of games.
One of the things I miss most about not working in an office anymore are the pools -- weekly NFL pools, Big 12 tournament pool and of course NCAA tournament pools. Now that I'm working at home blogging all day there's no one around with whom I can gamble.
So while you fill out your bracket, here are a few things to keep in mind regarding possible matchups:
-The tournament is at Kansas City's Sprint Center meaning we'll see more Kansas, Kansas State and Mizzou fans at the games. For teams that are better at home than the road (lookin' at you, Mizzou) that's an important factor.
-Colorado has beaten Kansas State twice this year -- on the road and at home. If the Buffs win, they'll play the Wildcats in the quarterfinals.
-Missouri lost to Texas A&M by two points in OT earlier this year and could meet them again in the quarterfinals but with more of a Mizzou crowd.
-Most people will probably pick the matchups they want to see the most like Kansas-Kansas State or Kansas-Texas. You could go for the upset and pick something other than that.
Click on this image and it will take you to a separate page where you can print the bracket easily. Or, you can google printable bracket and find it in just about any other layout you want (like this one, which comes from CBS Sports):
The Kansas Jayhawks are the favorites in the Big 12 tournament despite taking control of the conference for the first time last week. The Texas Longhorns were the conference leaders much of the season only losing their first Big 12 game on February 19. The problem is that Texas' loss that day was the first of three three total losses over the next nine days which helped them give control of the Big 12 to Kansas.
So the Jayhawks now sit here as the favorites to win the Big 12 tournament, and it's hard to argue with that. Here are three reasons Kansas will win the Big 12 tournament this week.
Kansas is the deepest team in the conference and can handle playing three physical games in three days. I'm not sure every team, like K-State for example, can handle playing that many games in a row. KU's eighth and ninth guys would start on most teams in the conference so, in theory, they'll be fresher than anyone.
Kansas has the best player in the conference. Marcus Morris took home the conference player of the year award ahead of guys like Colorado's Alec Burks and Kansas State's Jacob Pullen. I think Kansas needs a couple of big games from Morris to win this tournament and I think they'll get it. All these teams have played Kansas, and their goal is going to be to stop Marcus Morris. KU's ability to work against that will be key.
Kansas has the best coach in the conference. Oh, you didn't hear Bill Self won Big 12 coach of the year? Yeah, he's good and his ability to manage his players will stand out in a sprint like the Big 12 tourney. He knows how to put the pieces of the puzzle together so that the team is operating most effectively.
Check out Rock Chalk Talk for more on KU basketball.
The Big 12 tournament will start on Wednesday with seeds 5-12 while the top four seeds receive a bye and won't play until Thursday. Those top four seeds are No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Texas, No. 3 Texas A&M and No. 4 Kansas State. In theory, the top seed should have the easiest path. That, however, is not the case here.
First, here's a link to the Big 12 tournament bracket. Here's a look at each of the top four seeds' path to the Big 12 championship.
No. 1 Kansas will play Nebraska or Oklahoma State in the second round and they should be fine beating either one. After that, though, they could be playing Kansas State, arguably the hottest team in the tournament. To me, that should be a championship matchup, not a semifinal matchup, but K-State struggled early and didn't get hot until the last few weeks, so their seeding suffered. K-State in the semifinals? Tough draw.
No. 2 Texas has a more dangerous opponent in round two in Baylor, assuming the Bears beat Oklahoma in round one. Baylor has a ton of talent making them dangerous but they've been really beatable this year. The Longhorns are likely battling against Missouri or Texas A&M if they can beat Baylor in round two. Texas already beat Mizzou once this year (by 13 points) and they've dominated A&M twice by 20 points and 21 points.
No. 3 Texas A&M draws arguably the toughest matchup in the second round against Missouri, who should beat Texas Tech in round one. Missouri may have the edge here as they lost an OT matchup in A&M earlier in the year, but will play in front of a pro-Mizzou crowd in Kansas City if the two meet.
No. 4 Kansas State will play the winner of Colorado vs. Iowa State, and the Buffs are likely to win. That means Colorado vs. Kansas State would come in round two. Um, bad news for the Wildcats. K-State lost to Colorado twice this season -- in Manhattan and in Boulder. The first loss came by eight points and was in the middle of K-State's tailspin on January 12. The second came on February 12, in the middle of K-State's hot streak (and it came on a last second three-pointer KSU made that was ruled no good). Kansas State's really dangerous but this team still lost nine games. They can be inconsistent and Colorado has beaten then when they were cold and when they were hot. Potentially a tough draw for K-State.
Finally. The Big 12 tournament is here. Since I'm in Kansas City, where the games will be played at the Sprint Center, I'm particularly excited as I hope to catch a few of the games.
We've got our Big 12 tourney brackets below -- I guess they're printable -- for the action that will start on Wednesday morning.
[Editor's note: It's times like these I miss working in an office where I can get in on a pool with a bunch of people. Will anyone out there invite me to their office pool....? Please?]
Your top four seeds receiving a bye are the Kansas Jayhawks, Texas Longhorns, Texas A&M Aggies and Kansas State Wildcats. The fifth seed is the Colorado Buffaloes while the Missouri Tigers are the sixth seed and Baylor Bears are the seventh seed. The Nebraska Cornhuskers come in with the eighth seed while the Oklahoma State Cowboys have the ninth seed. Rounding out the list are the Oklahoma Sooners with the 10th seed, Texas Tech Red Raiders with the 11th seed and the Iowa State Cyclones with the 12th and final seed.
The action starts on Wednesday with the first round and the following day we'll have continue with the quarterfinals. After that, it's the semifinals on Friday and then the Championship on Saturday.
TV stations will be a combination of KMCI-38 and ESPN. Check here for a full TV listing of the games.
Following that, it's Selection Sunday for the 2011 NCAA tournament.
Here's the full bracket (courtesy of CBS Sports...click to make it larger):
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