Big 12 Tournament 2021: Quarterfinals Schedule, Live Stream, Bracket Predictions

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2021

Big 12 Tournament 2021: Quarterfinals Schedule, Live Stream, Bracket Predictions

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    Justin Rex/Associated Press

    With the two first-round games completed, the Big 12 conference tournament is set for its biggest day with four quarterfinal matchups on Thursday. 

    Kansas State and Oklahoma picked up the first wins of the conference tournament on Wednesday. Now, the rest of the field gets their first opportunity to make a statement, including tournament favorite Baylor. 

    Baylor will face Kansas State, while No. 2 seed Kansas plays Oklahoma, but the most intriguing games of the day are set to take place in the middle of the bracket. West Virginia and Oklahoma State will run their season-finale game back to kick off the day while the No. 3 vs. No. 6 matchup of Texas and Texas Tech closes out the day. 

    With seven of the 10 teams from the conference expected to be in the NCAA tournament based on CBS Sports' Jerry Palm's latest bracket forecast, it could be an important day for seeding. Here's a look at the day's schedule and predictions for each matchup. 


    Quarterfinals Schedule

    • No. 4 West Virginia vs. No. 5 Oklahoma State, 11:30 a.m. on ESPN or ESPN2
    • No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 9 Kansas State, 2:30 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2
    • No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 7 Oklahoma, 6:30 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2
    • No. 3 Texas vs. No. 6 Texas Tech, 9:30 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2

    Predicted winners in bold. Games can be streamed online on ESPN+.

West Virginia vs. Oklahoma State

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    Kathy Batten/Associated Press

    The first game on the slate is likely the best game on the slate. West Virginia and Oklahoma State split their regular-season series, with the Mountaineers winning the first game by two and the Pokes getting revenge with a five-point win to close out the regular season. 

    Making the Cowboys win even more impressive was the fact they were without Big 12 Player of the Year Cade Cunningham. He suffered an ankle injury at the end of a loss to Baylor but is expected to make his return to the lineup. 

    That's a blow for a West Virginia team that isn't playing its best basketball right now. It comes into the tournament with losses in two of its last three games. It hasn't scored a win over someone who isn't TCU or Kansas State since February 20. 

    Bob Huggins' squad is second in the conference in offensive efficiency, but it's the defense that failed against Oklahoma State. It allowed 85 points, including 31 from Avery Anderson III. 

    It's hard to pick the Mountaineers given their recent form and Cunningham coming back to the lineup.

Kansas vs. Oklahoma

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    Garett Fisbeck/Associated Press

    The Oklahoma Sooners finished the season on a four-game losing streak but had the opportunity to get things going in the right direction with a win over a hapless Iowa State team in the first round. 

    Oklahoma coming in as the seven seed is a testament to the depth of the Big 12 this season. The Sooners are a Top 25 team in the country but will have their work cut out in upsetting the three seed in Kansas. 

    The Jayhawks are the top team in the conference when it comes to defensive efficiency. They are far from a traditional Jayhawk team in terms of star power, but they do have five guys averaging more than 10 points per game. 

    So far, they're the only team to beat Baylor and have finished the season by winning seven of their last eight games. They're playing well enough to shut down the Sooners offense and advance to the semifinals. 

Texas vs. Texas Tech

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    Justin Rex/Associated Press

    This isn't the typical No. 3 vs. No. 6 matchup. Texas Tech won the last meeting between these two at the end of February. The 1-2 punch of Mac McClung and Terrance Shannon Jr. combined with a pesky defense is sure to make the Red Raiders a popular upset pick. 

    But that may be selling Texas short. The Longhorns have a strong dynamic duo in the backcourt themselves. Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey lead the way for the offense. 

    Both teams have similar profiles. Texas is 22nd in offensive efficiency, while Tech is 25th. The Longhorns are 28th in defense, while the Red Raiders come in 24th nationally. 

    The Red Raiders have had the advantage in both of their regular-season outings, but it's difficult to beat a team that's similar to you three times. At this point, it might be considered more of an upset that Texas comes through on its higher seed, but that's the prediction.

    This is as close to a toss-up as it gets, so Texas finding third time is the charm is the pick.