Big 12 Day 1: Longhorns, Sooners, Cowboys in Unfamiliar Territory
Day 1 of the Big 12 Tournament is going to be a historic one. This will be the first time in the tournament's history that day 1 includes Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. Now I'm not going off the deep end and declaring a full blown power shift in the conference, but it does mark a notable increase in power sharing among the not-Kansas teams. For fans of A&M and Baylor, it's an important step on the road to being considered equals of the more historic programs in the South. While for Kansas State this season reaffirmed the return of their basketball program, and instilled true belief in what Frank Martin is building.
With that said, tomorrow features an interesting slate of games featuring the nation's most disappointing team from the preseason not named North Carolina (you forgot OU was once ranked 16th didn't you?), and its most disappointing team since mid-season. Here's what you need to know for Day 1 of the Big 12 Tournament.
Bedlam Beyond the Arc - Oklahoma State vs Oklahoma - 6:00*
Trust me, you're going to want to watch this game. Neither team has any concept of what "points in the paint" are and every player on these teams thinks they're the second coming of Steve Kerr. This game also features the conference's player of the year in James Anderson, and the guy that should have been freshman of the year in Tommy Mason-Griffin. Cowboy guard Obi Muonelo is one of the nation's most underrated players, and there's probably not a better barometer in the country for how well a team is playing than OSU point guard Keiton Page (seriously, you can tell how OSU is going to do by how well Page does in the first ten minutes.)
Oklahoma State doesn't need this game to make the NCAA's but it could help get them off the 8/9 line and away from a 1 seed.
The Disappointment Bowl - Iowa State vs Texas - 8:30*
For some reason, a few people thought Iowa State was going to challenge for an NCAA bid this year, and we all thought that Texas was going to be a national title contender. Neither has happened, and instead we're left with a game that features Craig Brackins' broken dreams of being an NBA lottery pick and Texas' three ring disaster of basketball. On Saturday, Texas allowed Baylor forward Quincy Acy to dunk the ball 11 times. You'd think after around 4 or 5 Rick Barnes would have told Gary Johnson "Son, he can't shoot jumpshots. So how about you just stand between him and the rim." Instead, it looked like Acy was invisible to the Texas defense.
Iowa State doesn't have anything to play for, but their victory over Kansas State on Saturday shows that the Cyclones haven't packed it in for the season. At this point that might be all it takes to beat the Longhorns.
Texas probably wants to win this game since they still have a pretty good overall resume and a couple of wins this weekend could get them away from the 1/2 seeds. But maybe they'd be better of losing. If they win tomorrow they'll get the privelege of playing Baylor again on Thursday.
*These asterisks are here because there is only one thing that is predictable about the Big 12 tournament. It will run gloriously behind schedule. The Texas - Iowa State game will probably start sometime Thursday morning.
Now I know you're probably wondering, "okay Aubrey, that sounds good, you've got my attention, where can I watch these games?" Well, that's a much more difficult question. Unless you live in a Big 12 Market, you can only watch it on ESPN360. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere in Big 12 country you can find out what channel the games are on by using your Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring and this stupid thing. (Seriously, that's the real thing you have to use.) Good luck, and until tomorrow night's update, you can always follow me in the Twitterverse @Big12HoopsBlog.
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