BIG 12 Awards and Tournament Predictions
The Big 12, while may not having a lot of competition, was nonetheless very exciting. The first storyline was the race for first between the two best teams in the country, Kansas and Baylor. Kansas would take that title, but it was Baylor’s to lose for most of the season. The next was, of course, the Kansas-Kansas State brawl involving a player picking up a stool, one of the more eventful parts of the year. Finally, it was the rising and falling of a few teams. West Virginia was a Top 10 team and primed for a 2 seed in the tournament before going ice cold and dropping to a 6 seed at best. Texas was quite the opposite, going from not even a consideration for the tournament to being a lock with two wins in the Big 12 Tournament.
With the regular season completed, we head to what could be an exciting Big 12 tournament, which will tip-off on Wednesday. Below is our All-BIG12 teams, as well as a preview for each game of the tournament.
Jared Butler- Baylor
Devon Dotson- Kansas
Marcus Garrett- Kansas
Desmond Bane- TCU
Udoka Azubuike- Kansas
Tyrese Haliburton- Iowa State
MaCio Teague- Baylor
Kristian Doolittle- Oklahoma
Oscar Tshiebwe- West Virginia
Freddie Gillespie- Baylor
Freshman of the Year- Oscar Tshiebwe, West Virginia
Coach of the Year- Scott Drew, Baylor
Defensive Player of the Year- Marcus Garrett, Kansas
Player of the Year- Devon Dotson, Kansas
First Round- Wednesday, March 11
Oklahoma State vs. Iowa State – 6 PM – ESPNU
Neither of these teams has played very well this season and barring a miracle, neither team will make it past the second round of the tournament. Iowa State has not had their star player Tyrese Haliburton due to injury, and that will be a big factor in this game. If Iowa State wants a chance to win, Michael Jacobson will have to score 15, double his season average.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 71 Iowa State 65
TCU vs Kansas State – 8 PM – ESPNU
TCU has no excuse to lose this game. Desmond Bane will dominate this game, and TCU should win this one easily. Kansas State has only won one game since the start of February.
Prediction: TCU 78 Kansas State 57
Quarterfinals- Thursday, March 12
Texas vs Texas Tech – 11:30 AM – ESPN/ESPN2
This should be one of the best games of the tournament. Texas was looking red hot, winning five straight, including against Texas Tech before a fluke loss to Oklahoma State. Shaka Smart is not only fighting for a tournament bid but his job as well. With all that being said, Chris Beard knows what to do in March, and Jahmi’us Ramsey may be too much to handle.
Prediction: Texas Tech 65 Texas 62
Kansas vs Oklahoma State – 1:30 PM – ESPN/ESPN2
These teams played twice in the regular season. The first time, Kansas won by 15 on the road. The second time, they won by 25 at home. Don’t expect anything different this time around. This is almost a second bye for them, with no disrespect to Oklahoma State.
Prediction: Kansas 84 Oklahoma State 62
Baylor vs TCU – 6 PM – ESPN/ESPN2
This also has the potential to be a good game. These two teams played two weeks ago and TCU actually beat them on the road. If TCU wants to win this game again, PJ Fuller is going to have to have a big game like he did before. Baylor will need their bench to perform at a high level as well, which should be the case.
Prediction: Baylor 65 TCU 60
Oklahoma vs West Virginia – 6 PM – ESPN/ESPN2
This should be another good game. Oklahoma won both games against West Virginia this season, and if Kristian Doolittle scores 20, they’ll do so again. West Virginia needs star freshman Oscar Tshiebwe to have a big game, which he failed to do in both of their first two meetings.
Prediction: Oklahoma 65 West Virginia 58
Semifinals- Friday, March 13
Kansas vs Texas Tech – 6 PM – ESPN/ESPN2
Besides Baylor, Texas Tech has been Kansas’ hardest Big 12 opponent, winning both games by a combined 7 points. This game could have upset potential, but Kansas is too strong right now, and Udoka Azubuike has been unstoppable. Texas Tech should still have a decent seed after the game and will be a problem in the March Madness tournament.
Prediction: Kansas 75 Texas Tech 70
Baylor vs Oklahoma – 8 PM – ESPN/ESPN2
Oklahoma is really fighting for a better seed, while Baylor wants the two overall seed in the tournament. Baylor won both games this season, and Jarred Butler should have a big game. Unless Brady Manek hits 5 or more threes, this game should belong to Baylor.
Prediction: Baylor 65 Oklahoma 58
Finals- Saturday, March 14
Kansas vs Baylor – 5 PM – ESPN
Two of the best teams in the country face off in an instant classic. Kansas’ only loss in conference play this season was to this team, and Baylor’s first loss in conference play was to Kansas. Expect a lot of defense in this game and great play from big men Udoka Azubuike and Freddy Gillespie. This game can go either way, and both will be one seeds in the tournament regardless of the result.
Prediction: Kansas 64 Baylor 62