Basketball

Preview and Open Thread | Big 12 Men’s Tournament – Quarterfinals

We continue to preview the second day of action in the men’s basketball Big 12 tournament.

Consider this post your open thread for the second round of the Big 12 tourney.

Game #3:

Date: Thursday, March 10th
Time: 11:30 am
Teams: #4 Texas Longhorns (20-11, 11-7) vs  #5 Baylor Bears (21-10, 10-8)
Location: Sprint Center | Kansas City
TV/Stream: ESPN2

First Regular Season Meeting:  Texas won on the road 67-59

Second Regular Season Meeting:  Baylor won on the road 78-64

About Texas:  From texassports.com

  • 20 WINS, AGAIN: With the victory in Stillwater last Friday, Texas reached the 20-win plateau for the 16th time in the last 17 years.
  •  TAYLOR ON POINT: Junior point guard Isaiah Taylor became the first Longhorn since 2011-12 (J’Covan Brown) to earn a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team. Taylor leads the team in scoring (15.0 ppg), assists (4.8 apg), steals (28) and minutes (30.6 mpg) and has posted a 2.6 assist-to-turnover ratio (149 assists, 57 turnovers).
  • ROACH ON A ROLL: Freshman guard Kerwin Roach Jr. has averaged 10.3 ppg and 3.8 rpg in 19.6 mpg while hitting 59% of his field goals (38-64) in the last 12 games.

About Baylor:  From baylorbears.com

  • Thursday is the 248th all-time meeting between Baylor and Texas, the most-played rivalry for both schools.
  • Baylor has won 10 of the last 17 games in the series after snapping a 24-game series losing streak in 2009.
  • Baylor has used only two starting lineups all season. Taurean Prince, Lester Medford, Ishmail Wainright and Al Freeman have started all 30 games. Rico Gathers has started 25 games and Johnathan Motley has 6 starts.
  • Baylor has won 3 straight conference tournament games against Texas, including semifinal games in 2009 and 2014. Prior to that stretch, UT won 4 straight tournament games against Baylor, dating back to 1991.

Prediction:Texas has the better team, but Baylor has tough players on the court that can muck things up. For UT, if Taylor can play up to his potential Baylor will have trouble. Both these teams have beat each other on the road, which tells me they both can win this game at a neutral site. Shaka Smart is a much better coach than Scott Drew, but I have a feeling that Baylor might still rough up the Longhorns.

I pick Baylor to win, I’m going with the upset and think Texas might not be fully into this game with March Madness dreams on their minds. If I am wrong, then I will admit to having severely underestimated Shaka Smart’s postseason coaching ability.


Game #4:

Date: Thursday, March 10th
Time: 1:30 pm
Teams: #1 Kansas Jayhawks (27-4, 15-3) vs  #8 Kansas State (17-15, 5-13)
Location: Sprint Center | Kansas City
TV/Stream: ESPN2

First Regular Season Meeting:  Kansas won at home 77-59

Second Regular Season Meeting:  Kansas won on the road 72-63

About Kansas:  From kuathletics.com

  • Kansas averages 81.8 points per game and has a Big 12-leading +14.0 scoring margin and 39.7 field goal percentage defense. KU is second in the conference with a 49.2 field goal percentage and 42.9 3-point field goal percentage. KU pulls down an average of 37.9 rebounds per game and has a +4.9 rebound margin. The Jayhawks also average 15.7 assists, 6.6 steals and 4.2 blocked shots per contest.
  • Kansas is making 42.9 percent from 3-point range which is third nationally and second in the Big 12. At their current percentage pace, the 2015-16 Jayhawks would finish second on the school’s single-season 3-point field goal percentage list. Additionally, Kansas’ 263 3-pointers made this season are currently second most in school history for a season ranking behind the 271 in 2010-11.
  • Including the 2015-16 title, Kansas has won 16 of the 20 Big 12 regular-season championship (includes ties), including the last 12, which ranks second on the NCAA all-time consecutive list. Kansas’ 59 conference titles are the most in NCAA Division I. Kentucky is second with 52 and Penn third at 37. KU’s 12-straight league titles are the longest active streak in NCAA Division I and the longest streak in school history.

About K-State:  From kstateports.com

After last night’s win, the road doesn’t get any easier for K-State. Wade and the Wildcats return to the floor this afternoon to take on the Big 12 regular-season conference champions and Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship No. 1 seed Kansas (27-4) at 1:30 p.m.

“The K-State-KU games are always intense rivalry games,” said Wade. “It’s a big game for us. We’re just going to go back to the hotel, get some rest and bring it back tomorrow.”

/snip

“Now we have No. 1 again,” said Weber on today’s matchup. “We played No. 1 Oklahoma a couple of times and found a way to win, and we’ve played Kansas a couple of times; we just have to go and play. Obviously we’re going to have to play at a high level, but it should be fun for our guys being a part of March Madness.”

Prediction: K-State needs to hope for a miracle, because Kansas is a scary team. I do not believe there is any way the Jayhawks can lose this game.


Game #5:

Date: Thursday, March 10th
Time: 6:00 pm
Teams: #2 West Virginia Mountaineers (24-7, 13-5) vs  #10 TCU Horned Frogs (20-11, 9-9)
Location: Sprint Center | Kansas City
TV/Stream: ESPNU

First Regular Season Meeting:  West Virginia won on the road 95-87

Second Regular Season Meeting:  West Virginia won at home 73-42

About West Virginia:  From wvusports.com

  • WVU’s No. 2 seed is its highest in a conference tournament since a No. 1 seed in the 1989 Atlantic 10 Tournament
  • WVU has posted 20 wins for the 30th time in history. Bob Huggins now has 27 20-win seasons in 34 years as a coach
  • WVU outrebounded its opponents on the offensive glass 575 to 312 last season and 503 to 268 this season.
  • WVU ranks second in the country in offensive rebounds, forced turnovers and steals and third in FT attempts
  • The Mountaineers have won 39 of their last 40 games when holding opponents to 69 points or less.

About TCU:  From gofrogs.com

  • In two games against West Virginia this season, Chauncey Collins, who scored 19 against Texas Tech Wednesday, is averaging 20 points per game, while shooting a blistering 50 percent (7-of-14) from behind the arc. In his lone contest against WVU this season, junior Karviar Shepherd scored a season-high 18 points and only missed one free throw, going 10-of-11 (.909) in January. For his career, Collins is averaging 13.3 points per game and 2.7 boards against West Virginia, while Shepherd has totaled 9.4 points in five games and is shooting 47 percent (15-of-32) from the field.
  • Heading into Thursday, TCU has only had three players see action in all 32 games this season in Vladimir Brodziansky, JD Miller and Brandon Parrish. When broken down even further, Parrish is the only Frog to have started all 32 games. The junior led the Purple and White with a season-high 20 points versus No. 6 Oklahoma. He has scored in double-figures in three out of the last five games.

Prediction: Ugly game yesterday for the Red Raiders. They did not play with any inspiration, and TCU jumped all over Texas Tech to get the big time upset. That will not be the case today, as West Virginia is playing some mighty fine basketball. WVU can run anyone into the ground with their pressure defense. TCU is prone to commit turnovers. Not a good matchup, as I pick WVU to crush TCU in this game.


Game #6:

Date: Thursday, March 10th
Time: 8:00 pm
Teams: #3 Oklahoma Sooners (24-6, 12-6) vs  #6 Iowa State Cyclones (21-10, 10-8)
Location: Sprint Center | Kansas City
TV/Stream: ESPNU

First Regular Season Meeting:  Oklahoma won at home 87-83

Second Regular Season Meeting:  Iowa State won at home 82-77

About Oklahoma:  From soonersports.com

  • OU enters Thursday’s contest having scored at least 80 points in 15 of 30 total outings this season (averaging 80.9 points per game, which is ranked 21st nationally). OU is 14-1 this season when scoring 80-plus points.
  • Oklahoma currently ranks second in the country in 3-point field goal percentage (.430). OU’s all-time record for 3-point field goal percentage in a season is .414 (1986-87). The Big 12’s record is .426 by Oklahoma State (2004-05).
  • Senior Buddy Hield is currently averaging 25.1 points per game, which ranks first in the Big 12 and second nationally (first among Power 5 conferences). The two-time Big 12 Player of the Year has scored at least 20 points in 22 games this season and his 47.3 percent (124-262) shooting from downtown ranks fourth in the country. His 4.13 3FGM per game is tops in the nation. The Bahamas native has nine games of at least 30 points this season (same total as the rest of Big 12 combined) and 11 total such games in his career at Oklahoma (tied with Kevin Durant for second-most in Big 12 history).

About Iowa State:  From cyclones.com

  • Iowa State heads to Kansas City with hopes of winning a third-straight Big 12 Championship title…Kansas (twice) and Oklahoma are the only schools to win three titles in a row.
  • ISU has had seven different players score 20 or more points and is only top-25 team with six active players averaging 10 or more points…ISU, which looks to lead the Big 12 in scoring for the fourth consecutive season, is the league’s top scoring team (82.0)…the Cyclones are second nationally and lead the Big 12 shooting 50.3 percent from the field.
  • Niang has averaged 16.4 points in 10 meetings against Oklahoma…he’s scored 20 or more points in four of the last six games against the Sooners…in five meetings against OU, Jameel McKay has averaged a double-double of 12.0 points and 10.4 rebounds.

Prediction: Buddy Hield is something special for Oklahoma. He can light up any game, at any time. Georges Niang is a great player, but not up to the caliber talent that Hield possesses. ISU has been a little bit of a disappointment this year falling to #6 in the conference standings. Oklahoma had some slips to end the season, but is the much stronger team.

It may be back-and-forth for most of play, but I pick Oklahoma to win in this game.

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