Huskerconnection.com's Big 12 Tournament Preview
March 11-14, 2004
American Airlines Arena
Schedule (my picks in bold):
Thursday March 11th
Friday March 12th
Game 4 – 12:00 pm KSU/ISU winner vs. #1 Oklahoma State ESPN+
Game 6 – 6:00 pm NU/OU winner vs. #2 Texas ESPN+
Game 7 – 8:20 pm A&M/MU winner vs. #3 Kansas ESPN+
Saturday March 13th
Game 8 – 1:00 pm Game 4 winner (OSU) vs. Game 5 winner (CU) ESPN2/ESPN+
Game 9 – 3:20 pm Game 6 winner (UT) vs. Game 7 winner (KU) ESPN2/ESPN+
Sunday March 14th
Game 10 – 2:00 pm Game 8 winner (OSU) vs. Game 9 winner (UT) ESPN
#1 Oklahoma State
The ‘Boys exceeded preseason expectations as multiple transfers gelled together with the talented returning core to form one of the best teams in the country. OSU is a lock for the Dance, so the Big 12 tourney is only going to change their seeding. Right now they are a two seed, but could slide to a three if they falter early in Dallas. Moving up to a number one seed is possible, but not likely even with a tournament sweep.
Prediction: Reach Final, but lose to Texas. #2 seed in NCAA
This tournament is where the Longhorns' depth will pay huge dividends. They will also be motivated to shake off their season-ending loss to Kansas State, so expect big things in Dallas for the "home team". Texas is almost locked into a third seed in the Dance, but, like OSU, could rise or fall depending on their results on the weekend.
Prediction: Finally beats OSU for the championship. #3 seed in NCAA
Bill Self may have found a spark to propel his team fairly deep into the NCAA tourney. Wayne Simian has taken this team on his shoulders and led them to three straight solid wins with the latest being over rival Missouri in Columbia. This team has the experience of winning in March, so look for a nice run in the Dance. If KU can pull off a tourney championship, then their seeding could go up to a three or four and would probably put them in Kansas City for their first two rounds.
Prediction: Loses to Texas in semifinals. #5 seed in NCAA
The Buffs are rolling along right now. Aside from the total second half collapse in Ames last week, CU has been on fire the last three weeks and might be able to do some damage in postseason. A problem to watch for is Colorado's poor free-throw shooting. This time of year features many close games where bad free-throw shooting will cost you greatly. CU has ample opportunity to improve its seeding with a good showing in Dallas.
Prediction: Beats Texas Tech before falling to OSU. #10 seed in NCAA
#5 Texas Tech
The Red Raiders went from being the best team in the Big 12 at the start of January to looking like an NIT team to being an NCAA lock with their play this past week. After sleepwalking through February, Bobby Knight's crew has bounced back a little just in time to make the Dance. Winning their first game would help secure their bid, but a loss will probably not cost them a spot in the NCAAs.
Prediction: Lose to CU in first game. #12 seed in NCAA
Quin Snyder's group of underachievers really cost themselves in the last week and need a good showing in Dallas to make the Dance. Two losses to end the regular season is not the best way to impress the tourney committee when you only had a tenuous hold on a spot when the week started. The Tigers probably need to get to the semifinals at the very least or get a lot of help from other teams in order to make the Dance.
Prediction: Lose to KU in quarterfinals. #12 seed in NCAA
This has been a bumpy season for Kelvin Sampson and only got worse last week with Jabahri Brown being caught with a gun and marijuana in his house. Later that week, OU barely escaped Baylor at home and look to be headed to the NIT unless they can pull off a couple of wins in Dallas. With a weak bench made weaker after the loss of Brown, do not expect the Sooners to do much in the postseason.
Prediction: Lose in first round to Nebraska. NIT bid
#8 Iowa State
The ‘Clones no longer have NCAA hopes, but still would like to play well in Dallas. It has been a solid season after last year's terrible record, but ISU fans have grown accustomed to the NCAA tournament, so some may not view this year as a success. Winning away from Hilton Coliseum has been very difficult the past few years for Iowa St., so they probably will not accomplish much in Dallas.
Prediction: Lose in first round to Kansas State. NIT bid
#9 Kansas State
It does not get much better than beating a top-10 ranked team on Senior Day with postseason hopes hanging in the balance. The Wildcats pulled the upset and set themselves up for a chance to go to the NIT with one win in Dallas. With more on the line than tourney foe Iowa State, KSU should be more aggressive and come away with the victory in round one. Unfortunately, OSU will be waiting if they get the win.
Prediction: Beat ISU in round one, then lose to OSU in quarterfinals. NIT bid
The depth of the Big 12 is evident by having the Huskers as a ten seed. NU played the top teams extremely competitive and even blew some of them away (i.e. Kansas, Texas Tech, and Missouri). While NCAA hopes are gone barring a miracle title run in Dallas, a good showing would build confidence for the NIT and next year. The Huskers will be able to take advantage of OU's problems in round one and may upset Texas, as they almost did in Austin earlier this year.
Prediction: Beat OU in round one, then lose to Texas in quarterfinals. NIT bid
Due to self-imposed sanctions, the Bears will not compete in the Big 12 tournament this year and thus giving the eleventh and final seed to A&M. The Baylor program appears to be in the right hands with Scott Drew at the helm and should return to solid play in the near future.
Prediction: Season over
#12 Texas A&M
There is no way else to say it: the Aggies were terrible this year. They went winless in conference and Melvin Watkins will likely be fired after the Big 12 tournament. It is hard to believe things will be much better next year.
Prediction: Lose to Missouri in round one. Season over
Postseason Award Predictions:
Player of the Year: Andre Emmett – Texas Tech
Newcomer of the Year: Joey Graham – Oklahoma State
Freshman of the Year: Curtis Stinson – Iowa State
Coach of the Year: Eddie Sutton – Oklahoma State
All-Big 12 1st Team
F – Wayne Simien – Kansas
F – Andre Emmett – Texas Tech
C – David Harrison – Colorado
G – Tony Allen – Oklahoma State
G – John Lucas – Oklahoma State
All-Big 12 2nd Team
F – Jackson Vroman – Iowa State
F – Terrance Thomas - Baylor
C – Arthur Johnson – Missouri
G – Michel Morandais – Colorado
G – Keith Langford – Kansas