Big 12 Tournament 2013: Breaking Down Each Title Contender's Biggest Flaw

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIMarch 3, 2013

STILLWATER, OK - FEBRUARY 20: Le'Bryan Nash #2 and Marcus Smart #33 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys celebrate against the Kansas Jayhawks during the game at Gallagher-Iba Arena on February 20, 2013 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

March Madness is just around the corner with only a handful of games remaining in the regular season. For the Big 12 Conference, several teams are looking at making deep runs into the tournament and setting themselves up for a real chance at the title this year.

Yet not every team will be challenging for the title, with inherent flaws existent in every title contender's game that will eventually hold them back.

Someone will triumph eventually, but every Big 12 contender has a flaw in its game, and for many, it will come back to haunt them in 2013. 

Read on to see the biggest weakness of every Big 12 title contender.


Kansas: Backcourt

A sputtering Elijah Johnson and sophomore Naadir Tharpe do not inspire confidence in the minds of many when they look at the Jayhawks backcourt this year.

Johnson in particular is susceptible to a stack of turnovers when put under pressure—something that then often forces him into taking rash shots when given the chance. Sometimes they go in, like when he dropped 39 points to beat Iowa State, but often times they won't.

Tharpe has done a good job covering when Johnson slumps, but he too will eventually struggle if pressured effectively by defenders.

The Jayhawks will likely try to move the ball to their big men inside for success, but there's no denying their backcourt is very exposed at the moment and could cost them later this year.  


Kansas State: Vulnerability

Kansas State have the unfortunate position of having a flaw that it can't really help; it is simply vulnerable heading into the biggest tournament of the year.

They were beaten by the Jayhawks comfortably when they met and haven't really faced a tough opponent since then. That simplicity of schedule could force the Wildcats to drop their play somewhat and potentially open them up for an upset—either in the final game against Oklahoma State or later on when the losses really start to matter for them.

Baylor nearly got to the Final Four last year; imagine what a better team could do.


Oklahoma State: Overreliance on Marcus Smart

There's little doubting just how good freshman point guard Marcus Smart is at the moment and how much confidence the Cowboys are getting because of it.

Yet their biggest strength could also turn out to be their biggest weakness, with Smart being forced to carry much of the load at Oklahoma State, and that could bring them undone in March Madness.

Le’Bryan Nash has been far too inconsistent to rely on this season, and whilst a momentum-filled team is good, there needs to be other options in place for when the brilliance of Smart doesn't necessarily pay off for the Cowboys. 

It's a tough flaw to have, and a good one if it doesn't drop off. But like many teams, overreliance on one player can really be the beginning of the end.


Oklahoma: Offensive Efficiency

Other than getting to the free-throw line, it's hard to see too many areas of the Sooners offense that can be considered dependable and reliable under pressure.

Oklahoma is shooting just 43.9 percent from the field, which is ranked 139th in the country. Without big plays from their defense right throughout the game, the offense cannot be counted on to come up big in order to win. And that will surely hurt the Sooners heading into the Big 12 tournament.

They rank 102nd in points scored per game and don't even come inside the top 200 in terms of assists per game. Their three-point shooting isn't that good and, against some dominant offenses in their conference, will seriously struggle to keep up if their defense has an off-night.

Especially given that Kansas rank top 50 in essentially every scoring category there is. It's hard to see the Sooners managing to keep up with that in March.


What do you think the biggest flaw of every Big 12 contender is?

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