Preview and Open Thread | Big 12 Men’s Tournament – 1st Round

Here we go… today is the first round of the Big 12 men’s basketball championship tournament. We have the preview for #8 K-State vs #9 TCU and #7 Texas vs #10 Texas Tech.

Consider this post your open thread today for the tourney games… and Wreck ’em Tech!

Game #1:

Date: Wednesday, March 11th
Time: 6:00 pm
Teams: #8 K-State Wildcats (15-16, 8-10) vs  #9 TCU Horned Frogs (17-14, 4-14)
Location: Sprint Center | Kansas City
TV/Stream: ESPNU

First Regular Season Meeting: K-State win 58-53

Second Regular Season Meeting: TCU win 69-55

Tourney Preview: K-State is a strange team, meaning that they have beat Kansas, Oklahoma, Baylor, and Iowa State (all at home). But, have been beat quite a lot in the Big 12. They have a talented star in Marcus Foster when he has his head straight and is not in Bruce Weber’s doghouse riding the bench. Luckily for the Wildcats Foster has worked his way back from suspension and into the starting lineup getting heavy minutes. In the first regular season matchup with TCU Foster came off the bench, but played 29 minutes and drained in 23 points. TCU was off to a hot start in the non-conference going undefeated. Then came the Big 12 games. When they met K-State the first time the game was always slightly out of reach and was a hard fought loss.

In the second meeting Marcus Foster came off the bench for only 17 minutes and had 5 points. TCU held a steady lead all game, and came away with a solid victory. Both teams match-up well, but to me the key to the game is one simple thing… Marcus Foster. If TCU can contain the spectacular guard then they can get their first win ever in the Big 12 tournament, if not K-State will likely cruise on to the quarterfinals against Kansas.

Game #2:

Date: Wednesday, March 11th
Time: 8:00 pm
Teams: #7 Texas Longhorns (19-12, 8-10) vs  #10 Texas Tech Red Raiders (13-18, 3-15)
Location: Sprint Center | Kansas City
TV/Stream: ESPNU

First Regular Season Meeting: Texas won 70-61. The game in Lubbock got out of hand early by the Longhorns gaining a nice lead and Tech chipped their way back, but couldn’t complete the comeback. 

Second Regular Season Meeting: Texas won 56-41. In Austin the game was actually fairly close all the way up until the end. It was 47-41 with UT in control under 5 minutes left, and Tech could not hold off a run by the Longhorns to end the game with the score looking much worse then most of the game that was played.

Tourney Preview: Myles Turner was supposed to be the main freshman stud for UT all season. He has been a nice big man player down low, but nothing as dazzling as his preseason hype. Kind of like the Longhorns as a whole, who were supposed to be a top 10 nationally ranked team and they failed to live up to their media buildup. Now they face our Red Raiders and are on the bubble to even get an at-large bid to the Big Dance. Myles had a workmanlike game the first time out against Tech, but the second time around he exploded for 25 points and 12 rebounds. So, the question is if Myles Turner is contained by Tech do we have a chance to win this game?

Tech had a slow start to Big 12 play, but have turned it on late having a few close games as the regular season came to an end. We have watched the team start making more outside shots, and rely more thickly on a squad of younger starters getting more minutes. Odiase had a strong presence down low in the paint, but has struggled to get a rhythm like he had in non-conference play. Manderson has flashes of talent at times and has progressed his game as the season has finished up. These two are going to have to step up big and give all they can against Turner, Ridley, and Ibeh in the frontcourt. A big target that I see as a key for Tech to shutdown the Longhorns is Jonathan Holmes who can burst in just about any game at anytime when UT needs some offense. Our forward Zach Smith is going to have to be excellent on offense and defense if Tech wants to win this game.

The hot and cold shooting for Tech needs to be on fire today from our guards. Gotcher has been heating up, and Williams has to make his clutch shots when he gets open looks. UT likes to stack up and plug the inside so Evans needs to be looking for opportunities to cut to the basket whenever the slim breakdowns for a path to the hoop are there. Our guards also cannot lose their guys, but it seems that they have had some success against the UT guards when they play their grind it out game.

Season stats are great to go off of as you preview teams, but head-to-head matchups are how I feel you have to evaluate a team to have success against their opponent when it comes tourney time. When we look at the head-to-head for the season against UT, it does not look positive for Tech in this game. That does not at all mean that Tech cannot win though. Everything is on the line for the Longhorns in Kansas City and the fate of their future postseason rests in the Red Raiders hands. The winner gets the pleasure of facing Iowa State in the quarterfinals and most everyone expects that to be the real test for UT. Tech has nothing to lose if they go all-in against the Longhorns and can give our young guys hope all off-season long if they can knock off a team of the Longhorns caliber in the tourney. The Red Raiders will have a huge uphill battle tonight in Kansas City, but for those of us that have been watching the team all season… nothing is impossible and our team will never give up. Make those free throws, hit those downtown shots, and grab the boards. Fight like no other, leave everything out on the court. The Red Raiders gladly welcome the position of being the spoiler for the Longhorns hopes and dreams to get to the NCAA tournament. Let’s get pumped for the game and get behind our team to get the huge upset. Wreck ’em Tech! Guns Up!


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