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

Forecasting the first round of the men’s basketball Big 12 Championship. #8 K-State vs #9 OSU, and #7 Texas Tech vs #10 TCU.

Consider this post your open thread for the first round of the Big 12 tourney… and Wreck ’em Tech!

Game #1:

Date: Wednesday, March 9th
Time: 6:00 pm
Teams: #8 K-State Wildcats (16-15, 5-13) vs  #9 Oklahoma State Cowboys (12-19, 3-15)
Location: Sprint Center | Kansas City
TV/Stream: ESPNU

First Regular Season Meeting:  Kansas State won at home 89-73

Second Regular Season Meeting:  Oklahoma State won at home in overtime 58-55

About K-State:  From

  • K-State is 31-37 (.456) all-time at the Big 8/12 Championship dating back to 1977, including an 11-19 (.367) mark in the 19-year history of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. The Wildcats have won 2 titles (1977, 1980), while they have advanced to the finals on 5 other occasions.
  • K-State is 12-11 in the Sprint Center, including 1-1 this season. The team knocked off Missouri, 66-42, on Nov. 23 then lost to No. 9/8 North Carolina, 80-70, on Nov. 24 in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic Championship.
  • K-State has improved nearly every offensive category from 2014-15, surpassing marks for scoring, field goals, 3-point field goals, points in the paint, second-chance points, rebounds, blocks and steals. The 236 steals are the 8th-most in school history and the most since 247 in 2012-13.
  • K-State owns the 22nd-best strength of schedule and has played a school-record 13 Top 25 opponents, including 11 in Big 12 play. Thirteen of the 15 losses have come to teams that are currently ranked in the AP Top 25, including 6 in Top 10, with a combined record of 186-61 (.753).
  • One of the youngest teams in the country, K-State has had at least 2 true freshmen start together in 27 of 31 games (14 of 18 Big 12 games), while there has been at least one freshman starter in all 31 games.

About OSU: From

  • The Cowboys field a solid defensive unit that ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring defense at 66.9 points allowed and third in field goal percentage defense at 40.7 percent. OSU held 13 of its Big 12 foes to 44.0 percent shooting or less, including six opponents under 40 percent. The Cowboys have held their Big 12 opponents to 69.3 points and 42.9 percent shooting, which ranks fourth and third in the conference, respectively.
  • Travis Ford has jokingly said he is coaching his third or fourth different Cowboy team this season, but there’s a lot of truth to that. After losing three starters from last year’s team, Ford and the staff spent the offseason molding the squad around senior captain Phil Forte. OSU lost Forte to a left elbow injury in the third game of the season, and OSU spent the next month redefining itself. Point guard Jawun Evans emerged as one of the nation’s top freshmen, but an injury to his right shoulder on Feb. 3 had Ford once again going to the drawing board. Other injuries and illnesses have popped up throughout the season, and OSU was forced to play Monday night’s game at Iowa State with just eight scholarship players.
  • Point guard Tyree Griffin has filled in admirably in the absence of freshman phenom Jawun Evans. Over the last nine games the sophomore has posted 47 assists to just 25 turnovers while playing a whopping 37.3 minutes per contest. Griffin dished out 12 assists on a rolled ankle against Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse, which was just one dime shy of the KU opponent record set by Texas’ D.J. Augustin. He followed that up with eight assists and zero turnovers against Texas Tech. Griffin is now averaging 4.19 assists per game in league play, which ranks fifth in the Big 12.
  • The Cowboys are a perfect 11-0 in the first round of the Big 12 Championship. OSU is 23-17 overall in the Big 12 Championship, including a 6-7 record in the Sprint Center in Kansas City. OSU is also a perfect 3-0 against No. 8 seeds in the Big 12 Tourney.

Prediction: Without Phil Forte and/or Jawun Evans on the court, OSU is a much different team. The Cowboys are down right now and the Wildcats will try to pounce on them. K-State is the better team in this matchup and should give OSU their first loss ever in the first round of the Big 12 Championship.

Game #2:

Date: Wednesday, March 9th
Time: 8:00 pm
Teams: #7 Texas Tech Red Raiders (19-11, 9-9) vs  #10 TCU Horned Frogs (11-20, 2-16)
Location: Sprint Center | Kansas City
TV/Stream: ESPNU

First Regular Season Meeting: Texas Tech won on the road 76-69

Second Regular Season Meeting:  Texas Tech won at home 83-79

About Texas Tech: 

  • Our Red Raiders finished the Big 12 at 9-9 and are a clear level above the three teams below them in terms of competition entering the Big 12 Championship.
  • Texas Tech has not won a Big 12 tournament game since 2013 when Dejan Kravic put in a buzzer beater for the first round win over West Virginia.
  • Norense Odiase played 8 minutes last game against K-State. He will most likely keep getting more minutes into the Big 12 tourney as his post presence and added depth to the frontcourt will be an added bonus.
  • We went from the the #9 team in the Big 12 last season at free throw percentage (64.2%) up to #1 this season in the conference (74.8%). This is a weapon when it comes time for clutch makes late in the game from the charity stripe.
  • From the DT

    When looking at the tournament, sophomore forward Zach Smith said the hardest part is playing teams Tech has faced multiple times before. “By then they know most of your plays, they have a detailed scouting report on every player, they know your tendencies,” Zach Smith said. “I think a lot of it comes down to execution and just who wants it more defensively and offensively.”

  • From – 

    Tubby Smith after last game: “We have to win. I know we open up against TCU in the Big 12 Tournament. The only lock (for the NCAA tournament) is the tournament champion – that’s the only one who gets an automatic bid. That’s been our goal from day one. We know how tough this league is. We know how tough that tournament is. We have to take it one practice at a time. We’ve done some good things this year, which gives us a legitimate chance at making the NCAA Tournament. We can’t leave things to chance. We have to keep playing well. We have to play better than we played today. Even though we shot well today, 59 percent, we had some problems rebounding the ball. They beat us by about 20 on the boards up in West Virginia, and today we got beat by 10. We’re really struggling in that area. If you’re going to win and advance in the tournament, you have to rebound the ball. We’ve got to really work on that, but I like our chances of getting to the NCAA tournament right now.”

About TCU:  From

  • TCU and Texas Tech will play for the 128th time in program history Wednesday. The Red Raiders lead the all-time series, 78-49, but the Frogs have won six times in the last 16 meetings after sweeping Tech a year ago. The Frogs’ series history against the Red Raiders ranks No. 7 among the lengthiest in the history of the program.
  • Chauncey Collins and Malique Trent have begun to score the ball at a high percentage as of late. In the last four games, the duo has combined to score over 45 percent of TCU’s total points against Texas Tech, Baylor, K-State and Oklahoma. When broken down, Collins and Trent have accounted for 123 of the Purple and White’s 271 total points.
  • Chauncey Collins, who had 17 versus No. 19 Baylor and a career-high 29 at Texas Tech, has begun to make his mark as of late, scoring the basketball from all over the court. The sophomore, who scored in double-figures in 14 out of the 18 league games, which includes games of 20 twice versus West Virginia and 19 against Texas Tech at home, has hit three or more three’s in nine out of the 18 games. In the 10 games against league foes ranked in the top-25, Collins averaged 14 points per game and 2.6 assists per contest. He also shot 44 percent from behind the arc in the 10 outings.
  • Heading into Wednesday, TCU has only had three players see action in all 31 games this season in Vladimir Brodziansk, JD Miller and Brandon Parrish. When broken down even further, Parrish is the only Frog to have started all 31 games. The junior led the Purple and White with a season-high 20 points versus No. 6 Oklahoma. He also had 19 at Texas Tech in February.
  • TCU and Texas Tech will collide in a conference tournament game for only the seventh time in program history Wednesday. The two Texas schools have battled to a 3-3 draw in the previous six outings. The last time the Horned Frogs and Red Raiders met in post-season came in 1993. TCU’s last victory over Texas Tech in a conference tournament came in an 84-68 victory in 1989.

Prediction: For Texas Tech it looks like we are a lock to get in the NCAA tournament. To leave no doubts with the selection committee on Sunday we do not want to slack in this game and have TCU hand us a “bad loss” to put on our tourney bid resume. The Red Raiders are definitely the better team, but TCU has nothing to lose. That puts all the pressure squarely on our shoulders.

It is comforting to us fans that Tubby Smith is telling the guys to focus on winning the Big 12 Championship to get an automatic NCAA bid. They need to focus on this tournament before thinking about March Madness. This squad has had excellent discipline and not faltered on the Tubby Smith game-plan system much all season. Tech should have the diligence to put away TCU in this game if they continue to play their Tubby Smith style ball.

Last time we played TCU it was a close game in Lubbock. The Horned Frogs hit 9-20 (45%) from downtown, Chauncey Collins hit 3 of those and finished with 29 total points. Earlier in the season at Fort Worth, Tech came away with a 10 point victory over TCU while the Horned Frogs hit 6-18 (33%) from downtown. Collins had 5 makes from downtown, but only 19 total points in that contest. The key to the game is simple, shutdown Collins from scoring and defend the beyond the arc shots.

My prediction is that the Red Raiders will come out on top in this game, and be gearing up for a showdown with West Virginia on Thursday. Wreck ’em Tech!!!


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