Let the madness commence!
March is here and it's nearly time to dust off the brackets and start making your picks. But before the field of 68 teams is announced on Selection Sunday, the 10 teams in the Big 12 will travel to Kansas City to square off in the annual Big 12 Conference Tournament.
While Kansas and Kansas State will come in as the favorites to win the tournament title, there's no telling which school will get hot and ultimately come out on top, especially considering the plethora of individual talent the Big 12 brings to the table.
Below we'll highlight the most exciting players to watch in this year's tournament.
Pierre Jackson, Baylor, G
Senior guard Pierre Jackson is leading the Big 12 Conference in points and assists this season, averaging 19.1 points and 6.4 dimes per game.
Although Jackson is only hitting roughly 35 percent of his three-pointers this season, he's attempting seven per game, which usually accounts for half of his field goal attempts on a given night. Jackson's style of play may not always sit well with his coach, but it certainly makes for entertaining basketball.
He's scored 30-plus a couple of times this year and he'll need to do it a few more times if the Bears are going to surprise folks in Kansas City.
Tyrus McGee, Iowa State, G
Iowa State will be a dark horse team to watch at this year's Big 12 Tournament, and Tyrus McGee is a huge reason why. The senior guard is the best three-point shooter in the conference, hitting at a super clip of 46 percent.
Whether he's coming off a screen or pulling up in transition, McGee is a deadly outside shooter and a player capable of catching fire at times. In the Cyclones' recent loss to Kansas, McGee connected on six long-range bombs, nearly propelling Iowa State to a resume-boosting victory on his own.
In addition to boasting elite outside shooting talent, McGee ranks second in the Big 12 in true shooting percentage (64.8).
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, G
A 6'4", 225-pound freshman guard who's destined for the NBA, Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart is as exciting as individual talents come at the college level. He's averaging 14.7 points per game this season to go along with 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per outing.
One of Smart's best performances this season came in a narrow New Year's Eve loss to Gonzaga, in which he scored 23 points and tallied six assists on 9-of-15 shooting from the field.
Smart can shoot the ball from outside, although he only hits the deep ball at about 30 percent, but he thrives playing off the dribble. With the Cowboys geared up for a deep Big 12 tourney run this March, expect to see plenty of Marcus Smart.
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