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Big 12 MBB Tournament Preview: Quarterfinals

An exciting slate of quarterfinals matchups, now with practically no fans!

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Baylor Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

This whole article is based on the premise that the tournament will in fact continue today. As I’m sure everyone is aware, things started to get a bit out of hand yesterday. Still, as of this writing, everything seems to be moving ahead.

#4 Texas vs. #5 Texas Tech

Thursday, March 12th 11:30 AM CT, ESPN or ESPN2

This is a huge matchup because many think that the winner of this game will make the NCAA Tournament and the loser will be left out. 4th seed Texas (19-12, 9-9) was riding a massive winning streak before that all came tumbling down in their blowout loss to Oklahoma State. 5th seed Texas Tech (18-13, 9-9) just has been unable to catch a break, losing four in a row including a loss to this Texas team and an overtime loss to Baylor. They’ve needed one more win for a few weeks now and just haven’t been able to get it. This one is hard to call because Texas had looked so good and then just collapsed on Saturday. My own eye test tells me Texas Tech is a better team, even if the record and seeding don’t say that. I’ll take the Red Raiders on a neutral court.

68-65 Texas Tech

#1 Kansas vs. #8 Oklahoma State

Thursday, March 12th 1:30 PM CT, ESPN or ESPN2

8 seed Oklahoma State (18-14, 7-11) beat Iowa State in exciting fashion yesterday, getting a bucket with only a couple of seconds left to take a lead and advance in the Big 12 tournament. They now have a real chance of earning an at-large tournament bid if they can find someway to upset 1 seed Kansas (28-3, 17-1). While OSU winning might make Baylor’s Big 12 tournament path a bit easier, I just don’t see it happening. Kansas beat the Cowboys in their last two matchups by a combined 40 points. But hey, maybe knowing a tournament bid is on the line gives them the extra motivation they need? Still, I’m picking Kansas here.

78-67 Kansas

#2 Baylor vs. #10 Kansas State

Thursday, March 12th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN2

While many were looking for a redemption game against TCU, 10 seed Kansas State (11-21, 3-15) may have done 2 seed Baylor (26-4, 15-3) a real favor by beating the Horned Frogs last night. Baylor split their regular season with TCU, but took care of business against KSU, winning by 6 in Manhattan and 19 at home. Baylor has a big edge here talent wise and Kansas State will already be fatigued after playing a hard fought game just last night. No fans might also help Baylor here given the tournament’s location in KC. The big question mark is who is hurt and who is good to go with Devonte Bandoo, Tristan Clark, Mark Vital, and Matthew Mayer all nursing injuries of one kind or another. Still, that shouldn’t drastically effect Baylor in this game as I suspect most (or at least half) of those players will play.

68-59 Baylor

#3 Oklahoma vs. #6 West Virginia

Thursday, March 12th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN2

Both of these teams should be in the NCAA tournament, so the intrigue here is, if Baylor wins, which of these teams will they face? 3 seed Oklahoma (19-12, 9-9) rallied against TCU in their last game to pick up a much needed win, likely securing their tournament spot. 6 seed West Virginia (21-10, 9-9) also picked up a great resume win over Baylor this past weekend. West Virginia has lost to Oklahoma both times they have played, is third time the charm for the Mountaineers? I’m going to say not (which would be good for Baylor’s sake, I would much rather face Oklahoma). Kristian Doolittle has owned the Mountaineers in their two meetings, scoring a combined 46 points in their two meetings. Unless Bob Huggins and WVU have an improved defensive strategy, it will be more of the same.

70-62 Oklahoma