Big 12 Basketball

Big 12 Tournament 2014: TV Info, Live Stream, Predictions for Iowa St. vs Baylor

Jan 7, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones forward Georges Niang (31) brings the ball up the floor against the Baylor Bears during the second half at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State beat Baylor 87-72.  Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sport
Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2014

Although this might not have been the matchup that many were expecting in the Big 12 tournament finals, fans will be in for a treat when Iowa State takes on Baylor.

The Cyclones have positioned themselves for a great seed in the NCAA tournament after knocking off Kansas State and Kansas in the first two rounds in Kansas City, Mo. While the relative unknowns are not getting much respect nationally, they have turned themselves into Final Four contenders.

Meanwhile, the Bears did not even seem like a tournament team earlier in the season but are playing well to end the year and could be a scary opponent next week. A conference tournament title could officially change their projections from "sleeper" into "contender."

This final is certain to be a fast-paced, high-scoring battle that will keep fans on the edge of their seats for all 40 minutes and possibly more. 

 

When: Saturday, March 15

Time: 9 p.m. ET

Where: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.

TV: ESPN

Live Stream: ESPN3

 

Players to Watch

DeAndre Kane, Iowa State

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 14:  DeAndre Kane #50  of the Iowa State Cyclones celebrates as Iowa State Cyclones defeats Kansas Jayhawks 94-83 to win the Big 12 Basketball Tournament semifinal game at Sprint Center on March 14, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Melvin Ejim is the team's leading scorer and Big 12 player of the year, while Georges Niang was the star in the win over Kansas, but DeAndre Kane is the key to Iowa State's success.

He is tied for the Big 12 lead with 5.8 assists per game while also averaging 16.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and a team-high 1.3 steals. His all-around ability reached historic levels this season, according to Chris Hassel of ESPN:

Jon Rothstein of CBS also argues that the Cyclones would be a much worse team without him, via Eye on College Basketball:

Kane is one of the most difficult players in the country to defend with his ability to hit outside shots or drive to the lane with ease. Baylor will have its hands full on Saturday.

 

Cory Jefferson, Baylor

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 13:  Cory Jefferson #34 of the Baylor Bears dunks during the Big 12 Basketball Tournament quarterfinal game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Sprint Center on March 13, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Ima
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Between the size of Isaiah Austin and the strength of Cory Jefferson, Baylor has one of the best frontcourts in the nation.

Jefferson has been especially impressive as he has turned into a dominant force in the low post. He can score in a number of different ways and is a threat to get a double-double almost every time out.

In addition to his skill on the court, he has also become a leader off it. The fifth-year senior discussed how the Bears were able to get their season back on track after a poor stretch, via John Werner of the Waco Tribune:

A lot of it was on the seniors because we’re the ones that have been here and we’re the leaders on this team. We put that on our shoulders. We went through a tough patch, but we knew we still had our chance to do what we want to do. Everybody looks to us to see how we react and to give them direction.

Baylor has now won six games in a row and 10 of the last 11 to become one of the hottest teams in the country. With Jefferson continuing to compete at a high level, this squad can beat anyone. 

 

Prediction: Iowa State 87, Baylor 83

Mar 14, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Fred Hoiberg watches from the sidelines during the first half against the Kansas Jayhawks in the semifinals of the Big 12 Conference college basketball tournament at Sprint Center. Mandato
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Few college basketball games reach this level of scoring, but Iowa State ranks sixth in the country with an average of 82.8 points per game. After topping 90 in the past two games, do not expect the Cyclones to slow down anytime soon.

Baylor is good at defending the paint, but Iowa State can stretch the floor with its three-point shooting. If the shots continue to fall, the Bears won't be able to slow down the attack.

Kane especially will dominate his individual matchup against Kenny Chery or any other guard that Baylor coach Scott Drew puts on him. No one on the roster can match the senior's physical presence on the court.

Meanwhile, Jefferson and Austin should have big games against an undersized Iowa State frontcourt, but it will not be enough as the Cyclones come away with a close victory.

 

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