Big 12 Tournament Predictions
The 2013 Big 12 Tournament is set to tip off on Wednesday, March 13th at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO. Kansas and Kansas State shared the regular season title with identical 14-4 conference records. Despite a loss to Baylor in their regular season finale, the Jayhawks have earned the tournament’s top seed thanks to winning both regular season meetings with the Wildcats.
Kansas could wind up with a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament with a strong finish in the conference tourney. Iowa State would be in the Big Dance if the season were to end today, while Oklahoma and Baylor may still have some work to do. Keeping these scenarios in mind, I’m going to go through and make by Big 12 Tournament picks for every game.
First Round – Wednesday, March 13 (Big 12 Network)
7:00 EST – No. 8 West Virginia (13-18) vs. No. 9 Texas Tech (10-19) – The Mountaineers won both regular season meetings with a 77-61 road victory over the Red Raiders on February 2nd, and a 66-64 triumph at home on February 16th. While West Virginia has lost its last six games heading into the Big 12 Tournament, all six came against the top six seeds in this tourney. I look for the Mountaineers to win a 3rd meeting with the Red Raiders in the opening round.
9:30 EST – No. 7 Texas (15-16) vs. No. 10 TCU (11-20) – The Longhorns won both meetings with the Horned Frogs during the regular season. They were victorious 73-57 at home on January 26th, and 68-59 on the road on February 19th. This has been a completely different team since the return of guard Myck Kabongo as Texas has won five of its last eight games overall, which includes victories over Iowa State, Oklahoma and Baylor. The Longhorns will make easy work of TCU in this one.
Quarterfinals – Thursday, March 14 (ESPN2/Big 12 Network)
12:30 EST – No. 4 Oklahoma (20-10) vs. No. 5 Iowa State (21-10) – These teams split both meetings during the regular season with the home team winning each time. Oklahoma is coming off an ugly 70-67 loss at TCU, which has it squarely on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, Iowa State is coming off back-to-back wins over Oklahoma State and West Virginia, which likely has the Cyclones in the NCAA Tournament no matter the result of the Big 12 Tournament. That means this is a more important game for the Sooners, thus I’ll side with them.
3:00 EST – No. 8 West Virginia vs. No. 1 Kansas (26-5) – The Jayhawks won both regular season meetings with a 61-56 win at West Virginia on January 28th, and a 91-65 home victory on March 2nd. I look for the Jayhawks to win for a third time over the Mountaineers with room to spare in this quarterfinal match-up.
7:00 EST – No. 7 Texas vs. No. 2 Kansas State (25-6) – The Wildcats had little trouble defeating the Longhorns in both regular season meeting. They won 83-57 at home on January 30th, and 81-69 on the road on February 23rd. Not even Kabongo’s recent return can keep the Longhorns competitive in the third and final meeting. K-State uses its home-court advantage to roll to victory Thursday.
9:30 EST – No. 3 Oklahoma State (23-7) vs. No. 6 Baylor (18-13) – These teams split their regular season meetings with the home team winning each time. Baylor was victorious 64-54 on January 21st, while Oklahoma State won 69-67 (OT) on February 6th. The Cowboys are comfortably in the NCAA Tournament no matter the result of this game, so this won’t be as important to them as it will be the Bears. Baylor’s 81-58 home victory over Kansas in its regular season finale has it on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament. That’s why I’m siding with the Bears since they need this win more, and they’ve played the Cowboys tough this season.
Semifinals – Friday, March 15 (ESPNU)
7:00 EST – No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 4 Oklahoma – The home team won both meetings during the regular season. Kansas beat Oklahoma 67-54 on January 26th, while the Sooners had their revenge at home with a 72-66 triumph on February 9th. This game will go right down to the wire, but the Jayhawks will have the home-court advantage with this game being played in Kansas City, MO. I look for them to prevail because of it.
9:30 EST – No. 2 Kansas State vs. No. 6 Baylor – The Wildcats have had the Bears’ number this season, winning 81-61 at home on February 16th, and 64-61 on the road on March 2nd. This is simply a tough match-up for Baylor, and the home-court edge for Kansas State will help it win a third meeting with the Bears in 2013.
Championship – Saturday, March 16 (ESPN)
6:00 EST – No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 2 Kansas State – These have been the two strongest teams in the conference all season, and I look for that to be the case in the Big 12 Tournament, especially considering each will have a nice home-court advantage throughout. Kansas won both regular season meetings with a 59-55 road victory on January 22nd, and a 83-62 triumph at home on February 11th. I am actually expecting the Wildcats to pull off the upset in the third meeting to get their revenge. The Jayhawks are clearly vulnerable after falling 58-81 at Baylor, and 55-62 at TCU during the regular season. Kansas also lost three straight Big 12 games during the regular season.