Big 12 Men’s Basketball Sweet Sixteen Preview
#1 Baylor vs. #5 Villanova
Saturday, March 27th 4:15 PM CT, CBS
Where did all the other Big 12 teams go? After advancing 6 of 7 Big 12 teams that made the tournament into the second round, all but one of them lost—with 1 seed Baylor (24-2) being the lone survivor. The Bears now face their stiffest competition of the tournament yet as they battle 5 seed Villanova (18-6). Both teams have looked impressive thus far in the tournament, with Baylor blowing out 16 seed Hartford and controlling their game against 9 seed Wisconsin from wire to wire. Villanova took on a pair of double-digit seeds, defeating both 12 seed Winthrop and 13 seed North Texas by double digits. Credit where credit is due, North Texas did a great job upsetting Purdue and making it to the second round. However, on paper, Villanova has had a pretty easy slate of tournament opponents. That ends now as they face one of the strongest teams left in the tournament. With one of Villanova’s best players—point guard Colin Gillespie—out for the season, this is not the same basketball team as earlier in the year. Baylor should have a definitive mismatch on the perimeter, which I think will ultimately earn the Bears a trip to the Elite Eight. Baylor is a 7.5 point favorite in this game.
Big 12 Women’s Basketball Sweet Sixteen Preview
#2 Baylor vs. #6 Michigan
Saturday, March 27th 2:00 PM CT, ABC
Your 2 seed Lady Bears are once again eyeing a deep NCAA tournament run as they are now one of only two Big 12 teams left in the women’s bracket. Baylor (27-2) has an absurd amount of momentum: they have not lost since mid-January, winning 19 straight games. They took out 15 seed Jackson State and 7 seed Virginia Tech to make it to the Sweet Sixteen. Baylor won both of those previous tournament games by over 40 points. 6 seed Michigan (16-5) has been much more spotty down the stretch. They lost four of their previous six games prior to the tournament. To advance to this matchup, they defeated 11 seed Florida Gulf Coast and 3 seed Tennessee. Neither of those games were particularly close, as the Wolverines secured a 15 point upset of Tennessee. While Michigan will likely pose the greatest challenge to Baylor yet in the tourney, Kim Mulkey and company should still be heavy favorites to advance to the Elite Eight.
#6 Texas vs. #2 Maryland
Sunday, March 28th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN
Well, this is the only non-Baylor Big 12 team left alive in either the men’s or women’s tournament. 6 seed Texas (20-9) took out 11 seed Bradley and 3 seed UCLA to make it to this game. 2 seed Maryland (26-2) is a daunting foe. They secured a Big 10 championship and have won 15 games in a row. The Terrapins defeated 15 seed Mount St. Mary’s and 7 seed Alabama to advance in the tournament. Neither of those games were close, with Maryland defeating Alabama by 36 points. Much like football, Maryland will almost certainly be just too much for the Longhorns to handle as the Terrapins carry massive momentum heading into this game. I expect Baylor to be the only team representing the Big 12 in both the men’s and women’s Elite Eight.