Here we go again, recapping the second day of action in the Big 12 Tournament. Obviously, there will be absolutely zero Kansas postgame content here, as that will be coming in a more traditional postgame recap. Once I actually watch the game, of course, which will hopefully occur sometime on Friday. I didn't quite get around to it today, and you can blame the 6 OT game for that.
But that is neither here nor there. This is just a recap of one of the better days in Big 12 Tournament history, from top-to-bottom. Three rather good games, all of them upsets according to seeding, and then that crapper to close it out.
Also, for the first time, a team will be playing 4 games in the Big 12 Tournament. First time ever, a team that played in the first round will be playing in the Finals. All, of course, due to Baylor and Texas playing each other. As we all saw in Madison Square Garden late tonight, one of the teams always wins eventually. No matter how long it takes.
#4 Kansas State 58 vs. #5 Texas 61
How it Happened: Texas survived a turnover fest to to take out the Wildcats. Rebounding played a role, particularly Dexter Pittman's 20 boards. Most importantly, though, Denis Clemente pulled a Sherron Collins and couldn't hit the broad side of the barn. Talk about a big difference between his performance down in Austin and Thursday's game. His poor shooting, combined with the entire team's poor performance from three, certainly didn't help. I have yet to watch it, though, so that's all I've got.
Key Stat: Denis Clemente's 4-20 Shooting - Like I said, he needed to have a good game for the Powercats to win. Actually, I'm surprised it was even able to stay this close, but the Longhorn's 22 turnovers probably played a big role. Still, that's gotta hurt. Ouch.
Game MVP: Sexy Dexy - Dude is just the best. I'm falling love, y'all. He destroyed the Powercat's frontline, thoroughly, and led the Longhorns to victory. Unless you have a big, big, big body to match up with him, anyone is going to have a difficult time matching up with them. Seriously. If A.J. Abrams can catch fire in time, Texas could turn out to be the team that we all thought they would be coming into the year. Sexy Dexy.
What It Means for Kansas State: All NCAA hopes went kaput. Still, with an NIT apperance, that's three consecutive postseason apperances. And they only lose an average-at-best player in Darren Kent, bringing in McDonald's All-American Wally Judge among a host of other awesome players. They should be much, much better next year. Them and USC, I'm telling you.
What It Means for Texas: They are a legitimate contender in the NCAA's again. I realize, they only beat the Wildcats by 3, and that isn't all that impressive. Still, look at Dexter Pittman's domination. Outright domination. If they can get James the ball more, and Abrams can catch fire, watch out. Both them and Oklahoma State are hot as can be, right now. It also means they still can get to the Big 12 Finals for the third (fourth?) consecutive year. I give Rick Barnes a lot of crap, but the dude knows how to get his team to play better in March.
Other two game recaps after the jump...
#2 Oklahoma 71 vs. #7 Oklahoma State 70
How It Happened: An awesome, frenetic, back-and-forth forty minutes of basketball. Easily the game of the day, prior to that utter ridiculousness in Madison Square Garden that lasted forever-and-ever. Fantastic finish, pretty sweet environment (with the two biggest homecourt advantages converging together, nearly filling up the Ford Center), upset. Awesome. A correctly called foul on Blake Griffin late gave James Anderson two free throws with 2.3 seconds left. After he sank both, even after Boomer Sooner was given an extra 5 seconds-or-so because the clock operator forgot to click 'START', Oklahoma State went up 1 to win the game.
Key Stat: Three-Point Shooting (OU: 3-19 // OSU: 9-25) - I'm huge on the threes, as anyone who reads RCT can tell. And while Oklahoma outplayed the Cowboys for the most part, they couldn't hit anything from deep. Meanwhile, the Pokes, particularly Keiton Page, had stretches where they couldn't miss from way far away. Kept the Cowboys in the game and, eventually, allowed them to surge ahead.
Game MVP: Blake Griffin - It's tough to pick a loser, usually, but this one wasn't whatsoever. Oklahoma State's attack was incredibly well-balanced, while Oklahoma's was very Blake-centralized. 17 points, 19 rebounds, but it was the one he missed out on with 3 seconds left in the game that ended up costing them. James Anderson soared above him, and when Anderson came back down to the Ford Center floor, Blake slapped him on the arm. Still, without Blake, this game isn't nearly this close.
What This Means for Oklahoma: They probably won't get a 2-seed, anymore. If everyone crashes-and-burns in front of them, perhaps, and maybe even if there isn't a slew of upsets. But, odds are that they end up a 3, effectively sliding Kansas down to 4. But, really, who should be higher? Kansas or Oklahoma? It would be an interesting debate, one I want to get in sometime over the weekend.
What This Means for Oklahoma State: If there was any question as to their place in the Tournament, it's 100% over now. While they were pretty much in no matter what, they now only, only, only have to worry about seeding come Selection Sunday. Not a doubt in their minds. They're also a dangerous team, just like Texas. Both of those teams are hot, hot, hot, and I wouldn't want to see them in my bracket if I'm anyone else. Watch out, Missouri. They're still my pick for Big 12 Champions, by the way.
#3 Missouri 81 vs. #11 Texas Tech 60
How it Happened: In the first half, the Red Raiders continued their play from the night before, valiantly fighting and scratching and clawing and going into halftime tied. In the second half, though, their legs began to slow down as their bodies began to tire, and the always-running Missouri Tigers sprinted right on past them.
Key Stat: Missouri's 55.4% Field Goal Percentage - Tech just didn't play defense, just as they haven't all year. I like Pat Knight, but he needs to really up the ante on D for the Red Raiders, or they will never be consistently successful. In order for them to beat really good teams this year, they had to shoot lights out, because the other team always shot well (except us, of course). Always. This wasn't any different, although the Tigers shot even better, significantly, than most. I didn't really watch the game, as another, certain 6 OT game had caught my interest, but from what I did see Missouri didn't have too hard of a time finding themselves wide open looks.
Game MVP: Demarre Carroll and Mike Singletary - Had a hard time picking between the two, so I said what the hell, give it to 'em both. Carroll is awesome, and I don't think most Missouri fans realize how much their team might suffer without him. Dude is just a stud. Singletary, who the hell knows why he didn't start. Obviously, Pat Knight thinks the dude is better off of the bench. At least, that better as hell be the reason. If not, I lose all hope in Knight. He's the best player on the team, easily, and absolutely deserves to be starting. At least, if it's based off of merits alone. It's not, obviously.
What it Means for Texas Tech: Their season is now over. An incredibly disappointing one, you'd have to think their optimistic close (wins over Kansas and Texas A&M) gives them hope heading into next season. Singletary is good enough to make then semi-relevant next year, although they are losing a decent amount this year. This offseason, and this next recruiting class Pat Knight is bringing in (which isn't highly ranked) will go a long ways in their future. If it isn't pretty, Knight may find himself out of a job. Way out of a job.
What it Means for Missouri: They're the favorites to win the Tournament now, probably. It also means that they are one step closer to picking up a 3-seed, and with a Big 12 Tournament Championship, they just may sneak past us in the waiting line. Who knows, really. Missouri looked really good in the second half away from the Paige, but a much better test will be tomorrow night. This current Oklahoma State team is much better than any other time during the season, and a win over the current squad is an impressive one.
That's all, for now.
I'm going to cut out the previews, for now. They take longer than they should, and they aren't all that great. OGT to come out in the morning, for the early non-Big 12 games, even though the Big 12 games don't start until the Evening Session start times.
We'll go to 2 threads if necessary, today. Although, yesterday's 1000 thread held up incredibly well. This platform is pretty incredible.