An amazing day of Championship Week basketball went on today, with numerous bubble implications and even more close games. Take the ACC Tournament for example, in the four games that were played today the first 3 were won by the underdog (#9 Florida State over #8 Clemson, #12 Miami over #5 Maryland and #10 NC State over #7 Duke) and the 6/11 matchup is in OT right now between #11 Wake Forest and #6 Georgia Tech. In the Big East the favorites won all day long, but not without fights including an epic 2 OT battle between #2 Louisville and #7 West Virginia. The loss severley happers the 'Eers chances of getting an at-large bid and could open up a bid for a team like Kansas State. The Big 10, like everything in the conference, had a ho-hum day of conference play and the SEC Tournament is impossible to follow with the letters AND numbers in the seedings. Over in that conference on the left coast #4 Oregon dominated #5 Arizona, #3 USC snuck past #6 Stanford in OT and in the shocker of the day the Cal Golden Bears upended the #1 seed UCLA Bruins. After recapping the major conference action, let's take a game-by-game look at the Big 12 Tournament, in Oklahoma City for the first time ever.
#8 Oklahoma 68 #9 Iowa State 63
This game had the biggest impact on Jayhawk faithful as the winner gets the wonderful task of taking on our 'Hawks in the early game tomorrow. Boomer Sooner snapped a 6 game losing streak and rode a 12 point halftime lead to victory over the Iowa State Cyclones. Boomer Sooner was led by the 22 points and 8 rebounds of Nate Carter, who was an amazing 12-13 from the free throw line. Mike Taylor led the Cyclones with 18 points and 5 assists in their losing effort. One thing that may help us out tomorrow is fatigue on the part of Boomer Sooner, they only played 7 people in today's game and don't figure to play more tomorrow against the Jayhawks. They received 0 points and 3 rebounds from 28 minutes of bench play, so their starters figure to be majorly gassed, look for a second half run by our Jayhawks.
#5 Texas Tech 81 #12 Colorado 71
In a game that Texas Tech had to have for their NCAA Tournament resume, they never showed that they were clearly the better team. The way it went back and forth made it feel like an 8/9 game instead of a 5/12 with the largest lead of the game being held by the Red Raiders at 43-31. Martin Zeno led the Red Raiders by matching a career high 28 points to will his team to victory in what will be Ricardo Patton's last game as the head coach of Colorado. Patton announced before the season that this would be his last and it was also one of his most disappointing as his Buffaloes finished 7-20 and 3-14 in Big 12 play. The key to the game was Tech's ability to reach the FT line, shooting 44 free throws and making 35 of them. Colorado was led by 25 points and 8 rebounds in 38 minutes of play from senior G Dominique Coleman in what will be his last game as a collegiate.
#7 Oklahoma State 54 #10 Nebraska 39
In the yawner of the day, the hometown Cowboys held Nebraska to 28% shooting from the field including 20% from behind the arc. Nebraska never led with the biggest lead in the low scoring affair being a 19 point lead held by the Pokes. To Nebraska's credit they held Oklahoma State to 39% shooting from the field and only allowed one player in double figures (Mario Boggan with 11). Nebraska's Aleks Maric led all players with 13 points and 12 rebounds. In the rematch of Monday night's make-up game in Lincoln which the Huskers won 85-73, the very same Cornhuskers turned the ball over 23 times and along with the 28% shooting effort, didn't have enough to beat the hometown favorite. While Oklahoma State's bubble hopes went down the drain during Monday night's loss against Nebraska, a surprising run to the Big 12 Finals (like I predicted) combined with losses around them (West Virginia anyone?) could sneak them back into the field of 65.
#6 Missouri 83 #11 Baylor 97
The nationally televised nightcap was arguably the most entertaining to watch with #11 seed Baylor upsetting Mike Anderson and his #6 seeded Tigers. Baylor did the opposite of what Nebraska did, shooting lights out (64% from the field, 62% from 3 point range) led by a career high 31 points from sophomore G Curtis Jerrels. Baylor's Henry Dugat added another 25 which was enough to sneak past the balanced Tigers. Despite scoring 83 points, their leading scorers only had 13 in a very Kansas-esque performance. 5 Missouri players scored in double figures but it still wasn't enough to top Baylor's 2 man show. This loss could hurt Mizzou's chances at getting into the NIT, although they piled up enough wins in non-conference play to get an invitation in my estimation.
Well, there you have it. The best day of any conference tournament, the semifinals, are tomorrow and our Jayhawks will see court time tomorrow. I will be unable to watch the KU game live but will Tivo it and watch it later. The game is much more important to Boomer Sooner, we have to come out and want it just as much as them for us to be victorious.