The Big 12 has widely been recognized as the deepest conference in college basketball this season, but Wednesday night was a showcase for the lower rung.
Kansas City's Sprint Center played host to a pair of games that essentially worked as play-ins to the actual tournament. With No. 4 Texas and No. 5 Baylor and No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 6 Iowa State already set for Thursday, the pair of matchups on the slate Wednesday determined the opponents for top-seeded Kansas and second-seeded West Virginia.
In the evening's first matchup, Oklahoma State and Kansas State went head-to-head for the right to play the top-ranked Jayhawks. Kansas suffered one of its three conference losses to the Cowboys, so it's likely head coach Bill Self and Co. were secretly rooting for their in-state rival.
The night's second matchup was TCU against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders entered looking to secure a berth in the NCAA tournament, so a loss to lowly TCU would have been catastrophic. The Horned Frogs were winners of just two conference games during the regular season.
With that in mind, let's check in on the results and look forward to the quarterfinals.
|Thursday Big 12 Tournament Schedule|
|Round 2 Schedule||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 4 Texas vs. No. 5 Baylor||12:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 8 Kansas State||2:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|No. 2 West Virginia vs. No. 10 TCU||7 p.m.||ESPNU|
|No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 6 Iowa State||9 p.m.||ESPNU|
TCU 67, Texas Tech 62
Texas Tech's tournament hopes took a major hit Wednesday, as Chauncey Collins scored 19 points to lead TCU to a shocking upset of the Red Raiders.
Four of Collins' five field goals came from three-point range, and the sophomore guard added three rebounds and two assists. It's the second time in the last month Collins lit up Texas Tech, as he scored 29 in their February meeting.
Brandon Parrish added 15 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Vladimir Brodziansky turned in a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds) off the bench. Malique Trent, who went for 10 points and five rebounds, rounded out the double-figure scorers for TCU.
The win is TCU's first since defeating Oklahoma State more than a month ago, though it did play the Red Raiders tough during the regular season. Texas Tech won the two matchups by a combined 11 points, including an 83-79 thriller in Lubbock.
This game was the complete opposite, as the two sides needed to grind out their points every step of the way. Texas Tech shot just 39.7 percent from the floor, including a 5-of-18 mark from beyond the arc. Zach Smith came through with a 13-point, 15-rebound double-double, but the scoring output wasn't there elsewhere. Justin Gray and Norense Odiase were the only other two players in double figures, a stark deviation from Texas Tech's well-rounded scoring of the regular season.
TCU will move on to play West Virginia on Thursday, but the real story here is Texas Tech. ESPN's Joe Lunardi had the Red Raiders firmly in the field of 68 as a No. 8 seed coming into the conference tournament. Now their resume is muddied after an ugly loss. Had Texas Tech taken care of business against TCU and then lost in the same fashion to West Virginia, no one would have blinked an eye.
Now Tubby Smith and Co. will be sweating things out on Selection Sunday.
Collins spoke of how the Horned Frogs put the game away, per ESPN.com: "A lot of games we came close, the last four minutes. During that timeout, it was a tied ballgame, we just had to give it our all, put our backs against the wall and live with the results."
Gray still thinks the Red Raiders deserve a tournament berth: "We've proven ourselves throughout the whole season, won big games when we needed to win big games. I think we've put ourselves in a pretty good position to make the tournament."
As does Smith: "The body of work we put in throughout the year, strength of schedule, wins we've had, I think we have a very good shot at getting in. We obviously didn't help ourselves tonight, but TCU—you get into a tournament like this, somebody is going to get beat."
Kansas State 75, Oklahoma State 71
Dean Wade scored a season-high 20 points, and Justin Edwards added 17 as Kansas State held on late for a 75-71 win over Oklahoma State.
The Wildcats shot 50 percent from the field in a slowed-down slog that featured a combined 50 personal fouls. The two sides combined for 62 free throws, with Kansas State leading the way with 35.
Edwards, who also added nine rebounds and four assists, was the only Wildcats starter with fewer than five free-throw attempts. Wesley Iwundu added 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals in a strong all-around performance. His 11 free-throw attempts were a game high.
Wade accounted for half of the team's six three-pointers, knocking down all three of his attempts. The 6'8" freshman has scored in double figures each of his last three games, just the third time all season he's accomplished that feat.
While the Kansas State starters accounted for all but 11 of the team's points, Oklahoma State's scoring was much more reserve-heavy. Joe Burton and Jeffrey Carroll came off the bench to score a team-high 13 points, with Burton knocking down three of the Cowboys' seven three-pointers.
Tyree Griffin, who finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, led the way for the starters. Griffin was also responsible for six of the Cowboys' 14 turnovers, though, so it wasn't a flawless evening. Leyton Hammonds' 10 points rounded things out for the team's double-digit scorers.
The Wildcats never trailed after the 16-minute, 30-second mark of the first half, breaking things open on a series of runs early. They led by as many as 18 points in the first half and carried a 40-23 lead into the break before Oklahoma State began making a run.
The Cowboys opened the second half strong offensively, but they could never quite get within striking distance. Kansas State held a double-digit lead for most of the second half, getting key buckets whenever it appeared to be losing its grip. Oklahoma State did not permanently move within single digits until the 1:58 mark and never got closer than four points.
Kansas State moves on to play Kansas, which swept the regular-season series.
Wildcats coach Bruce Weber talked about playing Kansas, per ESPN.com: "There should be no pressure on us. We just have to come and play and enjoy the opportunity. That's what we've talked about."
Edwards also discussed the challenges: "It is definitely going to be challenging, the No. 1 team in the country. Like coach said, we have to go back to the hotel, get rested and hopefully be energized for tomorrow."
Cowboys coach Travis Ford spoke of being on the hot seat: "People have asked me about it, and they don't understand the life I live. They are not around me enough to know my mindset of how I work. I immerse myself into trying to figure out how to help this team every way possible, and you know, I haven't really—you know, I put everything I could in trying to figure out how to beat K-State. And now I am thinking about what I could have done differently."
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