The No. 4 Kansas Jayhawks are in familiar territory. With a 26-5 overall record and a 14-4 mark in the Big 12, they enter the Big 12 tournament with prime opportunity to run the table and represent the conference in the NCAA tournament.
No. 9 Kansas State (25-6, 14-4) isn’t far behind, though, and with the conference showdown taking place in Kansas City, both teams have a significant advantage over the rest of the field.
While the two Kansas teams are odds-on favorites to meet in the championship game, both should expect some stiff competition along the way.
Iowa State, Baylor and Oklahoma are all on the bubble with a chance to secure an at-large bid in the Big Dance. A strong tournament showing will go a long way toward catching the collective eye of the selection committee, and the second-round matchup between Iowa State and Oklahoma could be one of the most exciting games to watch in the tournament.
Let’s take a look at the tournament viewing information, seeding, schedule and more.
Where: Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO
When: March 13-16
Watch: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Big 12 Network
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
WVU vs. Texas Tech
Texas vs. TCU
Oklahoma vs. Iowa State
Oklahoma State vs. Baylor
Kansas vs. TBD
Kansas State vs. TBD
|Finals||TBD||March 16||6:00 p.m.|
*All times ET. Full schedule can be found at Big12Sports.com.
Sleeper Team to Watch: Iowa State Cyclones (21-10, 11-7)
A huge win over Oklahoma State on March 6 set the tone for Iowa’s late-season push. The Cyclones followed with a 83-74 victory over West Virginia on Saturday, and they now find themselves in a position to make a big splash in the conference tournament.
With the No. 5 seed locked down, Iowa State has a first-round bye and a matchup with the No. 4 seed Oklahoma Sooners. In remaining consistent with the crazy season at hand, the two teams split their pair of regular-season matchups in lopsided affairs.
Winning five of its last seven games was exactly what Iowa State needed with a potential NCAA tournament berth on the line, but an early-round exit won’t do the Cyclones any favors. They need to push past Oklahoma in the first round of the tournament.
An overtime loss to Kansas and a win over Oklahoma State in the last two weeks prove the Cyclones are capable of holding their own against the top teams in the conference.
A second-round win over the Sooners would give Iowa State a massive opportunity to impress the tournament committee in the form of a semifinal pairing with Kansas.
With the fourth-highest scoring average in the country (80.1 points per game), there’s no doubt the Cyclones can put up big numbers. The key to a championship run in the Big 12 tournament will be playing the consistent defense that allowed Iowa State to upset Oklahoma State on March 6.
Iowa State isn’t exactly a deep sleeper, but it certainly isn’t a favorite to push past both Oklahoma and Kansas on the left side of the bracket.
If the Cyclones can get past Oklahoma and play Kansas as tough as they did on February 25, don’t be surprised to see a potential upset in the final game of the Big 12 tournament.