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Handicapping the Big 12 Tournament

Before we get into the men's tournament, I just want to bring it to everyone's attention that the Lady 'Hawks, the #11 seed in the Big 12, upset the #6 seed Oklahoma State last night and tonight takes on #3 seed Baylor. They have no chance at being an at-large bid, hopefully we can pull off a major upset again tonight and get the bubble teams in women's basketball nervous.

OK, first off here is the bracket. Here are my thoughts and predictions on each of the following games. I don't use stats or anything like that to do these, just some thoughts on the top of my head.

Oklahoma (8) vs. Iowa State (9)
I would like the Tornedos to win this game to set up an easier game for the Jayhawks in our first game, but when the game is in Oklahoma I don't see Boomer Sooner losing. The winner of this game has an outside shot at the NIT so while it doesn't have NCAA implications, the postseason is still on the line for both schools.

RCT Prediction: Oklahoma 72 Iowa State 65

Texas Tech (5) vs. Colorado (12)
If the Tournament started tomorrow, the Red Raiders would be invited. If they win tomorrow they will be guranteed dance ticket. However, if they lose to a horrible Colorado team they won't be in as pretty shape. Still likely to get in, but they should really just take care of business and get a win setting up a HUGE game between them and Kansas State.

RCT Prediction: Texas Tech 85 Colorado 63

Oklahoma State (7) vs. Nebraska (10)
Oklahoma State has basically eliminated any chance of an at-large bid by losing two straight road games to Baylor and this very Nebraska team. Of course, they haven't won a single road game all season long (only team in D-1 that is able to say that) and don't deserve a dance ticket. They will be a fine candidate to host an NIT game so they will be playing after this Tournament is over, but they likely need a Big 12 Tournament championship to go dancing. However, with the game being in Oklahoma City they are a very solid darkhorse candidate to win this whole Tournament. Not only do they have home court advantage, they have already proved they can win neutral games (including beating Pittsburgh in Oklahoma City) and are a talented team led by F Mario Boggan and G JamesOn Curry.

RCT Prediction: Oklahoma State 82 Nebraska 68

Missouri (6) vs. Baylor (11)
The Mizzou Tigers improved a lot in the second half of Big 12 play, even being a dark horse Tournament candidate before a road loss in Nebraska. They look good to win at least one game against Baylor and stand a chance with Texas likely to rest Do-Rant in the second round.

RCT Prediction: Missouri 86 Baylor 75

That would set up the following Quarterfinal matchups:

Kansas (1) vs. Oklahoma (8)
This is basically another road game against Boomer Sooner for Kansas, much like the trip up to Kansas City was a home game for the Jayhawks back in the day. Boomer Sooner is an improving team and a team capable of pulling off an upset, by the Jayhawks will be motivated to win the Big 12 Tournament yet again and for the first time under Bill Self win both the Big 12 Tournament title and the Big 12 Regular Season title. Also, Kansas will have rested up since taking on Do-Rant 6 days prior where as Boomer Sooner will be playing on tired legs.

RCT Prediction: Kansas 75 Oklahoma 58

Kansas State (4) vs. Texas Tech (5)
This is a HUGE bubble matchup, the biggest we will see in the Big 12 Tournament. The Big 12 will get 3, 4 or 5 bids this year in the NCAA Tournament. Kansas, Texas A&M and Texas are all mortal locks to be dancing, with Texas Tech just about there (a win against Colorado would resolve any doubt). Kansas State needs at least one more win and one against a quality opponent in Texas Tech could get them into the NCAA Tournament. I think that Texas Tech is the better basketball team but with the Red Raiders wrapping up a bid on Thursday, the Wildcats just might get his team hyped up enough to outplay Bobby Knight.

RCT Prediction: Kansas State 81 Texas Tech 78

Texas A&M (2) vs. Oklahoma State (7)
A&M is clearly the better team, dominating Oklahoma State both at home and in Stillwater. Still, with the Pokes' season on the line I think that they will go back to preseason form this weekend and play the best basketball since December. I think that with A&M having little to play for (a possible #1 seed being the only thing) that the Cowboys will be motivated enough to keep their NCAA hopes alive one more night.

RCT Prediction: Texas A&M 67 Oklahoma State 71

Texas (3) vs. Missouri (6)
Even while Missouri has majorly improved their play recently, it likely won't be enough against the young Longhorns. Many Texas fans are calling for Barnes to take Do-Rant's ankle lightly during the Big 12 Tournament to prevent furthur injury and Barnes would be smart to limit Do-Rant's playing time. Texas is still more talented without Do-Rant though and will sneak past a talented Missouri team led by Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Stefhon Hannah.

RCT Prediction: Texas 82 Missouri 76

Those results would produce the following semifinals:

Kansas (1) vs. Kansas State (4)
While the Wildcats likely have already wrapped up a bid by this point by beating the Texas Tech Red Raiders, a win over the Jayhawks would surely clinch a dance ticket. I'm not sure how motivated our Jayhawks will be, but I would definately like to believe that we will at least be motivated enough to beat the Wildcats.

RCT Prediction: Kansas 79 Kansas State 69

Texas (3) vs. Oklahoma State (7)
The last time these two teams met in the state of Oklahoma, an epic 3 OT game ensued that is probably the game of the year in college basketball. It also included what could be the shot of the year, the 35 foot shot put 3 pointer by Byron Eaton of Oklahoma State. With Do-Rant's ankle taking another game to fully heal for the NCAA Tournament and this time with a more talented team as their opponent, Texas could fall here. Oklahoma State's season is still on the line even after the huge win against Texas A&M and would definately need this game against Texas to be considered.

RCT Prediction: Texas 87 Oklahoma State 89

And your Big 12 Tournament Final...

Kansas (1) vs. Oklahoma State (7)
This is an interesting matchup. Depending on who loses and when by the time this late start game is played on Selection Sunday this game could mean very little for the Kansas Jayhawks. The Tournament Committee has often said that it often can't factor in the Big 12 Championship results into seeding and such, but this could be an interesting year if Bubble Boy Oklahoma State makes the finals. I still don't think the Cowboys would make the Tournament even after wins over Texas and Texas A&M thanks to the goose egg under road wins, but they would at least be considered. To be safe they would have to win the game against the Jayhawks to clinch the automatic bid and as good as the Cowboys are in both Oklahoma City and Stillwater, I'm still a homer at heart. I can't pick against my Jayhawks until the Final Four every year. I have actually never picked the Jayhawks to win an NCAA Championship in one of my brackets, but just about every year do I put them through to the Final Four.

RCT Prediction: Kansas 73 Oklahoma State 62

Depending on what goes on around them the Pokes could get in with wins over Nebraska, A&M and Texas but it would be a nervous hour or so after losing to the Jayhawks in the final.

Hope you like it. If you disagree with anything or agree with what I have predicted, register on Rock Chalk Talk and comment up.

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