Big 12 Basketball Tournament 2011: Game-by-Game Schedule and Predictions
It's championship week in college basketball and that means the next few days will be filled with great tournament games.
Teams will fight for the conference title and an automatic bid to the big dance. The Big 12 has some of the best teams in the country and they will face off this week with the Big 12 Championship up for grabs.
Here is a game-by-game breakdown of the Big 12 Tournament.
Oklahoma State vs. Nebraska
Oklahoma State knows that they don’t have a chance to make the NCAA Tournament, and winning the Big 12 is too tall of an order for the Cowboys. In fact their first round opponent, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, will be just too tall.
When it comes to size, the Cornhuskers have a decided advantage. Brian Jorge Diaz and Andre Almeida check in at 6'11", and will be used to clog the lane and prevent points in the paint. The Cowboys have had struggles all year long down low and they will get trounced on the inside in this opening round game.
Nebraska wins the rebounding battle, points in the paint and the game in blow out fashion.
Colorado vs. Iowa State
Iowa State may be in last place in the Big 12, but that does not mean they will be an easy draw for the Buffaloes of Colorado. The Cyclones already beat Colorado once this season and will have a shot to do it again in the first round.
It must be noted that Iowa State shot 70 percent from the field in the second half to get the win, a feat that will be nearly impossible to duplicate. Colorado has a strong guard unit powered by Alec Burks and Cory Higgins that will be tough to stop.
Colorado has revenge in mind when they stop Iowa State and advance to the next round.
Baylor vs. Oklahoma
Baylor is the higher seed in this matchup, but they are not a lock to win. Although this game is played on a neutral court in Kansas City, Baylor has had epic struggles on the road this year losing to bad teams like Oklahoma State and Iowa State.
Surprisingly the oddsmakers at BetDSI have listed Baylor as a seven-point favorite for this first-round battle, but it could be much closer than that.
These two teams split the series this year with both winning at home.
Baylor has the size advantage, but has had little consistency from the front court making them vulnerable in this game. Cameron Clark will carry the Sooners in the first round as they net the first upset in the Big 12 tournament by beating Baylor.
Missouri vs. Texas Tech
The biggest story in this game is off the court, as Texas Tech announced that they would fire head coach Pat Knight. Knight will coach the team during the tournament and will attempt to make some noise on the way out.
The Red Raiders challenged Missouri in the only meeting this year, losing a close game on the road in Missouri. The Red Raiders have plenty of senior talent that will play tough to try and win one for the coach making this an interesting first round matchup.
Missouri will trail early as they try to shake the hangover of losing to Kansas, but will advance to the next round and defeat Texas Tech.
Quarterfinals: Nebraska vs. Kansas
Nebraska had its moments this year when they played top ranked opponents tough. They defeated Missouri and then No. 3 ranked Texas, so it’s possible they could provide a challenge for the Kansas Jayhawks. Kansas is the favorite to win the tournament according to the latest odds, but will have to get by Nebraska first.
The Cornhuskers lost both meetings this year against Kansas, but lost a three point nail biter in Kansas. Kansas was down ten points in that game and staged a furious comeback led by Marcus Morris who had 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Kansas followed that game up with a 20 point thrashing on the road and owns a 17-game winning streak against Nebraska.
Kansas will make it 18 when they eliminate the Cornhuskers in the quarterfinals.
Quarterfinals: Colorado vs. Kansas State
The Kansas State Wildcats' opponent may not matter. The Wildcats are gelling at the right time and are one of the hottest teams in this tournament.
They enter the tournament on a five-game winning streak that includes impressive wins over Big 12 front runners Texas and Kansas. Kansas State started the year ranked in the top five of the college basketball power rankings before stumbling early. Now they have rebounded quite nicely and making a strong run to the Big 12 title.
Jacob Pullen had the potential to be the Big 12 player of the year and will be just the player to carry this team to an easy victory over Colorado.
Winner: Kansas State
Quarterfinals: Oklahoma vs. Texas
Texas is listed at 3:1 to win the Big 12 tournament, but the Longhorns might have trouble getting out of the quarterfinals.
The Longhorns are 13-3 in conference and at one time were tops in the nation in the polls, but they are limping into this game. They have lost three out of four games down the stretch, including an ugly loss against Colorado where they blew a 19 point lead.
Baylor would be the tougher opponent if they are not upset in the first round as they lost a close meeting in the last game of the season to the Longhorns.
The Sooners are not the better team, but with the way that Texas is playing right now, anything can happen.
Texas may not get upset in this round, but it will be surprisingly close. The Longhorns keep their chances for a No. 1 seed alive with a hard fought victory.
Quarterfinals: Missouri vs. Texas A&M
The game between Missouri and Texas A&M will provide the most entertaining game of the Big 12 quarterfinal rounds.
If defense wins ball games then the Aggies are one of the better teams in the Big 12. They allowed 63.7-points per game in Big 12 play, which ranks second in the conference only to Texas. In the first meeting of the year, A&M won by just three points in a high scoring affair against the Tigers.
The Aggies will play much better defense this time and get the victory in a must-see matchup in the tournament.
Winner: Texas A&M
Semifinals: Kansas vs. Kansas State
Get your popcorn ready because the semifinal meeting between Kansas and Kansas State will be Big 12 basketball at its finest.
The odds to win the Big 12 tournament have these two teams at the top of the list as favorites to win the title. These two teams split the season series with the home team winning in lopsided fashion.
In the last outing the Wildcats beat the No. 1 ranked Jayhawks, fueled by Jacob Pullen who played perhaps the best game of his career. Pullen poured in a career-high 38 points while draining five of six three-point attempts. While that win was impressive, don’t look for a repeat performance.
Kansas head coach Bill Self ripped the team after that game, and they will still remember the beat down. Tyrel Reed will return the favor and Kansas will take down the Wildcats and advance.
This game essentially could decide the Big 12 Champion.
Semifinals: Texas vs. Texas A&M
On paper this game does not seem like an intriguing matchup. After all, Texas demolished the Aggies in the two previous meetings this season. The Longhorns defeated the Aggies by at least 20 point during league play and were never in danger of losing.
That was then and this is now. The Aggies are filled with seniors that bring plenty of winning experience into this tournament and it is always difficult to beat a team three times in one season. The Aggies may be the only team in the conference that can matchup with the Longhorns defensively.
The Longhorns are vulnerable right now and may not even make it to the Semifinals to face the Aggies. If they do make it to this game look for an upset as the revenge minded Aggies topple the Longhorns in an upset.
Winner: Texas A&M
Big 12 Championship
The Sprint Center in Kansas City Missouri will feature the Texas A&M Aggies against the Kansas Jayhawks in the final battle for the Big 12 crown.
While Bill Self plays down the conference tournaments when compared to the regular season, the Jayhawks will be hungry to win a title. This will assure the Jayhawks of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and will make them a favorite when folks fill out their March Madness brackets.
The Morris twins are a talented duo that will not allow this team to lose. Markieff is a force inside that led the conference in rebounds and Marcus is the Big 12 player of the year. Marcus and Markieff Morris both scored 13 points in the last game against Texas A&M.
Kansas defeated the Aggies in early March and will look for a repeat performance. The Aggies will attempt to slow down the game and use defense to win, but in the end Kansas will prevail as the Big 12 Champions.
Big 12 Champions: Kansas Jayhawks
Matt Regaw is a B/R Featured Columnist and the founder of BookieBlitz.com, your one-stop shop for sports articles, previews and predictions. Feel free to contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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