The first round of the Big 12 Tournament wasn't all that exciting. There were some close calls, and one epic comeback to close out the night, but for the most part it was full of ho-hum games, and ho-hum results.
This recap isn't going to be anything substantial, by any stretch. Just provides you some general background on each of the games, answering similar questions to the ones I provide with my previews.
As far as my predictions went, ouch. 2-2 is pretty bad, although I really didn't see anyone who predicted the Red Raiders to upset the Aggies, so whatever. I still can't get over the Baylor Bears all of a sudden deciding to play hard, play together and win a game. I'm shocked, right now.
So, let's get this thing going.
How it Happened: Well, the uber-talented Baylor team everyone was scared of in the preseason finally decided to start playing hard. They showed up, played hard, physical defense, and thoroughly outplayed the Huskers. The Bears are clearly the more talented team, that was never the question. But, unlike last Saturday when they lost to these same Huskers on their home floor, they actually showed off this talent. Scary.
Key Stat: Baylor's Rebounding Advantage (+24) - Egads. That is monstrous. Nebraska's short, sure, and they don't really rebound at all. At least, they don't do it well. But this was disastrous. Kevin Rogers, a tip of the cap to you for your 20 boards. That's more than everyone on Nebraska, just in case you were interested.
Game MVP: We'll go with co-MVPs, because I didn't watch the game and the box scores are relatively equal. So, I'll give it to both Curtis Jerrells and the aforementioned Kevin Rogers. Jerrells was the offensive stalwart, posting an efficient 19 points (8-12), while Rogers was the guy who outrebounded an entire team. Ridiculous.
What it Means for Nebraska: They are likely on the fringe of the NIT. I hope they make it, because they deserve it and are definitely better than last year, but if I had to wager, I'd say no. I still say they're on the way up, although it certainly wasn't a good showing Wednesday morning.
What it Means for Baylor: Primarily, it just means they get to fight another day for an NCAA berth they were expected to get the old-fashioned, at-large way. It also means that the beast might have been awakened, which is dangerous. NIT Champions, here we go!
The rest of the recaps after the jump...
#5 Texas 67 vs. #12 Colorado 56
How it Happened: As I predicted, the Longhorns really slogged through this one. They didn't need to give maximum effort, but Dexter Pittman (again, as predicted) was the only one who really showed up to play. Still, Sexy Dexy should have another big one on Thursday; K-State really doesn't have too much of an answer for him. Darren Kent, pfft. But that's for the preview. Higgins had a terribly off day, only shooting 1-11. If he had been hot, and not even Mike Singletary-hot, they could have sprung the upset.
Key Stat: Higgins' 1-11 shooting - Higgins was going to have to explode for the Buffs to have a chance. 1-11 certainly is nothing close to what they needed. Oh, well. There's always next year, right Jeff (Bzdilek)?
Game MVP: Dexter Pittman, baby. Dude can't jump, but who cares? Not when he's pulling down rebounds left-and-right because he can be on both sides of the rim, due to his massive girth, and he is incredibly athletic. Can't jump, but his post moves are ridiculous for a man carrying around that much loose change. I'm falling love, folks.
What it Means for Texas: They prevented slipping down a slippery slope of seeds. Now, even if they lose, they should be able to stay away from the dreaded 8/9 range. Key word: should. They also get another crack at the Powercats, with another crack at the Jayhawks up for grabs. Revenge, baby. Revenge.
What it Means for Colorado: They can start planning for next year. I'm calling it right now; they'll take a huge step forward next season. Cory Higgins is just outstanding, and they have enough halfway-decent role players to make things interesting. Maybe I'm just too optimistic for everybody, though.
How it Happened: Iowa State started out the game piping hot, and Craig Brackins was displaying all of his NBA potential for the world to see, but the Pokes went on their expected second half run to surge ahead. Iowa State stayed in it far longer than I thought, even given the halftime score, so congrats, I suppose. Brackins is still Iowa State's only real offensive threat, though, which means it's Brackins and threes all day long. When the threes aren't falling, they pretty much suck on offense. That's what happened on Wednesday, save for an incredible performance from Jamie Vanderbeken. Who knew.
Key Stat: OSU 5 Turnovers - I don't really care what you say, or how many shots you drain, it's nearly impossible to win a game where you only force 5 turnovers. 5. That's just ridiculous. Iowa State, if you aren't going to dominate on offense, here's a hint: force some turnovers. That way, you get more possessions, to make up for your sometimes-sucktitude on O. Just an idea.
Game MVP: Marshall Moses - Dude is on fire, as of late. He was virtually non-existent in the non-conference slate, but since conference play has started, he's gotten better every game. If Texas gets this hypothetical credit for their post-Balbay play more than before, then Okie State should get the same for Moses. He is going to be the key in any potential NCAA Tournament run.
What it Means for Oklahoma State: Yay! They clinched an NCAA Tournament berth! This win pretty much cinches it up, particularly with the other bubble carnage going on everywhere else. Thursday night's matchup is only for seeding, as are any further matchups. It's all stress-free, from now on.
What it Means for Iowa State: It means that Iowa State's season is done. And, most likely, Craig Brackins will never don a Cyclone uniform again. It also means that Greg McDermott's seat is one step closer to being hot. At least, I'd make it hot.
How it Happened: The most epic comeback of all time, ever. Not really, but it was pretty incredible. A 19-point halftime deficit, and even larger spreads at other points, were all erased with a furious comeback. Absolutely incredible game. You shoulda been there. Oh, and Mike Singletary wasn't terrible.
Key Stat: Texas Tech's 59 Second Half Points - Oh. My. Goodness. Isn't Turgeon supposed to preach defense, or whatever, and shouldn't they be more successful than that? Geez, was I disappointed with Turg. Talk about not having an answer or plan or anything for Singletary. Just double-team the dude, and make the rest of the fairly crappy Red Raiders squad beat you. It could happen, but it's preferrable to facing Kevin Durant. And while they aren't similar players, like at all, and one is clearly better than the others, Singletary's performance was very Durant-esque. No matter what you did, who you put on him, how physical, how much space you gave him, he scored. Ridiculous.
Game MVP: Mike Singletary - 43 points, a Big 12 Tournament record and tying the all-time Big 12 mark. Crazy. It was the best performance I've seen all year, save Craig Brackins up in Ames. He just couldn't be stopped. Whenever he felt it, he'd zoom right by whoever was defending him and get straight to the tin, like the opposition were all running in molasses. Only a sophomore, I'm scared to see him in the future. Obviously, he won't be that awesome very often, but the fact that he even has that potential hidden inside of them is frightening.
What it Means for Texas A&M: That the next four days will be as stressful as they come. There is nothing else the Ags can do, only sit and wait and hope bids aren't taken away from them, so-to-speak. They are probably right on the cusp, right now, probably with them leaning IN. Still, if K-State can beat Texas, do they pass up the Aggies? These are the questions that I live for in March. Love it. We'll talk about it more later, but for now, just know that no one knows what will happen to the Aggies. No matter what they tell you, they don't. It's impossible to really figure out.
What it Means for Texas Tech: A couple of things. For one, their dreams are still alive. For two, Mike Singletary is a future First-Teamer. For three, Pat Knight picks up his second signature victory in as many weeks, easing any irrational calls for his head. I'm a big believer in you, Pat. Don't disappoint me next season. Or, hell, just win three more games this year, and get to the Big Dance. Georgia did it last year.
That's all for the recap. In the future, with Kansas being involved (hopefully) throughout, I'll do a typical Kansas review like always, doing something like this for all of the other games.
As far as previews go, we'll be doing the same as last time. Except, it will serve as the OGT as well, this time around. But, again, one for the Morning Session, and one for the Evening (there you go, Warden) Session.