The Big 12 men's basketball tournament features four of the Top 25 teams (and three of the Top 11) in the latest Associated Press poll, an impressive number considering that constitutes 40 percent of the conference. A fifth team (Oklahoma State) is only a few votes away from sneaking in as well.
Here's a look at the Big 12 tournament schedule, the latest odds and three predictions for this week.
Big 12 Tournament Schedule
|Wednesday, March 8||1||First Round||No. 8 TCU vs. No. 9 Oklahoma||7 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Wednesday, March 8||2||First Round||No. 7 Texas Tech vs. No. 10 Texas||9 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Thursday, March 9||3||Quarterfinals||No. 4 Iowa State vs. No. 5 Oklahoma State||12:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Thursday, March 9||4||Quarterfinals||No. 1 Kansas vs. Game 1 winner||2:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Thursday, March 9||5||Quarterfinals||No. 2 West Virginia vs. Game 2 winner||7 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Thursday, March 9||6||Quarterfinals||No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 6 Kansas State||9 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Friday, March 10||7||Semifinals||Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner||7 p.m.||ESPN or ESPN2|
|Friday, March 10||8||Semifinals||Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner||9 p.m.||ESPN or ESPN2|
|Saturday, March 11||9||Finals||Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner||6 p.m.||ESPN|
Information via Big12sports.com. All times ET. All games will be played at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
Big 12 Championship Odds
Odds as of March 6 at OddsShark.
1. Jawun Evans' Stardom Continues To Rise
Get on the Jawun Evans bandwagon before it gets full, as he's about to make a big name for himself in March.
The Oklahoma State sophomore point guard has been on fire in his last five games, averaging 22.8 points and nine assists per contest. His most impressive outing was a 22-point, 15-assist game against Kansas on Saturday that nearly catapulted the Cowboys to an upset (OK State eventually lost 94-90).
Also, he can do things like this:
The Cowboys are one of the most fun teams in the nation to watch, as they score 86 points per game and sit first in the Ken Pomeroy College Basketball Rankings in offensive efficiency. The problem is that their defense is suspect, ranking 123rd.
Still, Evans has been playing so well that he can overcome the Cowboys' defensive struggles at times.
Win or lose, Evans will have a great game against Iowa State and star in the NCAA tournament.
2. Kansas and West Virginia Steamroll Through the Semifinals and Finals
The Jayhawks are one of the best teams in the nation because they have the best duo in the country (senior point guard Frank Mason III and freshman phenom Josh Jackson). The former might win numerous player of the year awards. The latter is going very high in this summer's NBA draft.
West Virginia is one of the best teams in the nation because its defense is on a plane higher than anyone else in college basketball, which is remarkable considering it plays in the high-flying, offensive-minded Big 12.
The Mountaineers rank first in defensive efficiency, per Pomeroy, and they also lead the country in steals per game with 10.9, according to NCAA.com. Naturally, they lead the country in turnover margin as well (8.8).
Kansas' tag team and West Virginia's defense will be too tough for the other eight teams to overcome in the conference tournament. Expect the Jayhawks and Mountaineers to be playing on Saturday.
3. Kansas and West Virginia Play Another Classic, and KU Wins the Rubber Match
The first time these two teams played, West Virginia crushed Kansas, 85-69 in Morgantown behind 27 points from sophomore forward Esa Ahmad.
The second time these two teams played, Kansas overcame a 14-point deficit with three minutes remaining to tie the game in regulation and win in overtime, 84-80 in one of the best college basketball games of the season.
This time around, Kansas has the edge, primarily because the game will be played at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, which is a 45-minute drive from the KU campus in Lawrence.
WVU is a great team, but the Sprint Center will sound like Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday night, which will push KU to the title after a classic championship game.