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

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

Game #1:

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Date: Wednesday, March 13th
Time: 6:00 pm
Teams: #8 TCU vs #9 Oklahoma State
Location: Sprint Center | Kansas City
TV/Stream: ESPNU

TCU Notes: 

  • TCU is 4-6 all-time at the Big 12 Championship and has played in the quarterfinals in each of the last four seasons. Last season, fifth seeded TCU lost to fourth seeded Kansas State in the quarterfinals, 66-64 in double overtime. TCU has never won a postseason conference championship.
  • TCU is 4-0 this season and 12-3 under Jamie Dixon in neutral site games.
  • Desmond Bane (2nd Team), Alex Robinson (3rd Team) and Kouat Noi (Honorable Mention) were named All-Big 12.
  • Alex Robinson ranks seventh in the nation at 6.9 assists per game. He is TCU’s all-time assist leader at 633 and ranks No. 2 nationally with 712 total career assists when including his freshman season at Texas A&M. Robinson along with Owen Aschieris were named Academic All-Big 12.
  • Desmond Bane (4th/15.2), Kouat Noi (9th/14.1) and Alex Robinson (11th/12.7) all rank in the top 11 in the Big 12 in scoring. No other team has three in the top 15.
  • Kevin Samuel’s 66.7 percent shooting ranks second in the Big 12 and his 2.1 blocks per game ranks fourth in the conference. He has recorded at least one block in the last 14 games. His 65 blocked shots is the most ever by a TCU freshman. He also ranks fifth in the Big 12, first among freshman, with 7.0 rebounds per game.
  • The Horned Frogs rank 20th in the nation with 16.3 assists per game. For the third-straight year, TCU is leading the Big 12 in assists.
  • On TCU’s current roster, only four played in a Big 12 game prior to this season. Six are freshmen or redshirt freshmen.

Oklahoma State Notes:

  • Revitalized Cowboys – Down to seven scholarship players after the dismissal of four players, Mike Boynton set aside his birthday plans and hel
    walk-on tryouts at 6 p.m. on Jan. 17 in Gallagher-Iba Arena. Six of the 48 participants got a call back to join the Cowboys, and Boynton credits these walk-ons with helping OSU regain their edge with competitive and lively practices. Over the last four games, OSU has taken two top-15 squads to the brink, beat Baylor in Waco for the first time since 2015 and won its regular season-finale against West Virginia.
  • Anei Quick Hitters – Just three days after blocking six shots in a win at Baylor, Yor Anei blocked eight shots in helping the Cowboys take down West Virginia, and earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors. Here’s some perspective on that performance. The eight blocks are tied for the second most ever by an Oklahoma State player, and are only two off the program’s single-game record set by Joe Atkinson in 1985. It’s the most blocks by a Big 12 player this year and tied for the 15th best performance in the history of the league. Only nine players in the country have had more blocks in a single game this season.
  • All-Big 12 Conference Honors – Just hours after leading the Oklahoma State basketball team to its second straight victory, junior captains Cameron McGriff and Lindy Waters were named Phillips 66 All-Big 12 Conference honorable mention. These are the first career conference awards for McGriff and Waters, who stepped into the spotlight for the Cowboys in 2018-19. OSU has now had at least two players represented on the All-Big 12 team or the Associated Press All-Big 12 team since the league began in 1996-97.
  • Downtown Cowboys – Oklahoma State is one of the country’s best 3-point shooting squads. The Cowboys lead the Big 12 in 3-point makes per game (8.8) and 3-point percentage (37.6), and the 37.6 percent clip ranks 39th in the NCAA. Their 272 makes from deep rank fifth in school history for a single season, and their 37.6 percent mark is the 10th best by a Cowboy squad. Only two teams in program history hit more than 8.8 3-pointers per game – 2008-09 (9.3) and 2016-17 (8.9).
  • Splash Brothers – Lindy Waters and Thomas Dziagwa are shooting 45.3 and 42.8 percent from 3-point this year, respectively, which ranks third and fourth in the Big 12. That makes OSU one of just four teams (joining UC Riverside, San Diego State and Quinnipiac) in the country with two players that average more than 2.0 3-point makes per game while also shooting 42.8 percent or better from deep. At 101 makes, Dziagwa is just the sixth Cowboy to ever knock down more than 100 3-pointers in a season, while Waters’ career clip of 41.8 percent ranks sixth in OSU history.

Prediction: TCU has dropped 6 of their last 8 games, and the Frogs find themselves a bubble team that is being projected to barely get invited to the Big Dance. OSU has nothing to lose as they aren’t headed to March Madness. Though, the Cowboys have finished the end of the regular season on wins against Baylor and West Virginia. This game is a must win for TCU to have a chance to go dancing, so for me… I’m picking the Frogs to beat OSU in Game #1.

Game #2:

Embed from Getty Images

Date: Wednesday, March 13th
Time: 8:00 pm
Teams: #7 Oklahoma vs #10 West Virginia
Location: Sprint Center | Kansas City
TV/Stream: ESPNU

OU Notes

  • Oklahoma is the only school in the country with a win over a team from every major conference (Power Five + Big East).
  • OU sits at No. 40 in the NCAA’s new NET Rankings. Oklahoma is the only team in the country that has not played a “Quadrant 4” game. OU’s average opponent NET Ranking of 63 is the second best in the country, and the evaluation tool ranks OU’s schedule as the 18th toughest in the country. OU is 15-2 in “Quadrant 2 and 3” games and 4-10 in “Quadrant 1” games.
  • Sometimes the key to victory can be as simple as making shots. Oklahoma is 19-0 when it holds a better shooting percentage than its opponents and 0-11 when the Sooners have a worse shooting percentage (0-1 when the percentages are equal). Oklahoma is shooting .475 (.373 from 3-point range) in its 19 wins and .396 (.305 from deep) in its 12 losses. The Sooners are 13-2 when they shoot above 45 percent.
  • The Sooners are 12-4 when limiting opponents to under 70 points and 4-1 when opponents score less than 60.
  • Oklahoma is 18-4 when it scores at least 30 points in the first half.
  • The Sooners are 13-1 when outrebounding their opponents. In its 19 wins, Oklahoma is winning the rebounding margin by an average of 3.5 boards.
  • OU opponents are shooting 40.3 percent from the field – the second lowest opponent field goal percentage in the conference and 23rd nationally. The Sooners rank 23rd in’s adjusted defensive efficiency.
  • Oklahoma is 22nd in the nation and first in the conference in defensive rebounding with 28.3 defensive boards per game.
  • OU has three players ranked in the top 11 in rebounding in the Big 12: Kristian Doolittle (sixth, 6.9), Christian James (eighth, 6.4) and Brady Manek (11th, 6.1). TCU is the only other school with multiple players (two) ranked in the top 11.
  • Oklahoma is 17-5 when outscoring its opponents in the paint. OU is averaging 33.8 paint points per game.

About WVU:

  • Huggins was asked on Monday morning how he plans on getting his young team prepared for the grind of a Big 12 tournament. “I don’t know. If you’ve got an idea, I’d be willing to listen,” he joked. “We’re just going to go play. The great thing about youth is their enthusiasm.”
  • Only two West Virginia players who got into last year’s Big 12 championship game against Kansas will suit up for Wednesday night’s game against Oklahoma – forwards Lamont West and Logan Routt.
  • Sagaba Konate, who scored 18 points, grabbed five rebounds and blocked three shots against the Jayhawks, will be sitting on the bench in street clothes. He hasn’t played a game for the Mountaineers since scoring 16 points, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking seven shots in a 69-59 victory over Pitt on Dec. 8.
  • Freshman forward Derek Culver was the only West Virginia player named to the All-Big 12 teams announced Sunday.
  • West Virginia’s 2018-19 schedule is rated the 10thtoughest in the country, according to this week’s NCAA NET rankings.
  • The Mountaineers have used 17 different starting lineup combinations this year, encompassing 14 different players. The present starting five consisting of McCabe and Haley at guard and Culver, West and freshman Emmitt Matthews Jr. have started the last six games.

Prediction: OU is in March Madness, yet this game could decide if they are an 8 or all the way down to 11 seed (if they lose). It is a must needed victory by the Sooner’s to increase their tourney seeding, as they have won 4 of their last 6 games to help punch a ticket to the NCAA tournament. WVU has had a miserable regular season… but, they ended with 2 out of 4 wins pulling off a couple home games over TCU and ISU. The easy pick here is OU, I have no reason to think WVU can pull it off. Texas Tech plays the winner of this, so pay attention.


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