Big 12 Baseball Tournament Schedule Set

Sunny Golloway's Oklahoma baseball team will open up the 2006 Big 12 Baseball Tournament at 5 p.m. on Wednesday against Kansas at the Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City. See inside for more details.

The game will be the first of three for the Sooners in the new Pool Play format.

The Sooners, who will play in Divsion 1 and be the #3 seed in the tournament, will also play Missouri at 5 p.m. Friday and Oklahoma State at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

#2 Oklahoma State, #3 Oklahoma, #6 Kansas and #7 Missouri make up Division 2, while #1 Texas, #4 Nebraska, #5 Baylor and #8 Texas Tech are in Division 1. The winner of each division will meet in the title game at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

The complete Big 12 Tournament schedule and explanation of the new divisional format for the tournament are below.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 24 Game 1: #4 Nebraska vs. #5 Baylor, 10 a.m.
Game 2: #1 Texas vs. #8 Texas Tech, 1 p.m.
Game 3: #3 Oklahoma vs. #6 Kansas, 5 p.m.
Game 4: #2 Oklahoma State vs. #7 Missouri

Game 6: #1 Texas vs. #5 Baylor, 5 p.m.
Game 7: #4 Nebraska vs. #8 Texas Tech, 8 p.m.

Game 8: #3 Oklahoma vs. #7 Missouri, 5 p.m.
Game 9: #2 Oklahoma State vs. #6 Kansas, 8 p.m.

Game 10: #5 Baylor vs. #8 Texas Tech, 10 a.m.
Game 11: #1 Texas vs. #4 Nebraska, 1 p.m.
Game 12: #2 Oklahoma State vs. #3 Oklahoma, 5 p.m.
Game 13: #6 Kansas vs. #7 Missouri, 8 p.m.

Championship Game
Division 1 winner vs. Division 2 winner, 1 p.m.

Details on how the new format works per

In a trend-setting development, the 2006 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship takes on a new life with a first-ever pool-play format among the eight competing teams.

From 1999-05 the meet sported eight teams after the NCAA Regional field expanded to 64 schools prior to '99. The conference followed the NCAA World Series example and had two different brackets, which played down in double-elimination format into a nationally-televised (FSN) Sunday finale.

This year's schedule features none of the "if necessary" contests and no "two and barbecue" situations. Each of the eight teams will play a minimum of three contests, and the teams which win Division 1 and Division 2 tangle Sunday in the finals.

Division 1 consists of the Nos. 1-4-5-8 seeds while Division 2 is the Nos. 2-3-6-7 seeds through the 27-game Big 12 round-robin format (nine three-game series). League coaches have noted that the pool format (similar to Olympic, international and World Baseball Classic competition) gives teams time to prepare their pitching staffs for a maximum of four games over four days. The old double-elimination format allowed some teams to go to the finals with a 3-0 record while others had to fight their way through the losers' bracket and play a sixth game in four days.

Nebraska (2000, '05) and Texas (2002, '03) earned their postseason championship trophies "the hard way" with a fifth win and gave fans of the joust plenty of bonus baseball action.

This year's determining factors in a situation where three teams in a division are 2-1 while the other school is 0-3 is, first, head-to-head competition, and, second, how the teams finished in the regular-season Big 12 race. It could become interesting before Saturday's four contests, which in the past could have been between two and four tilts in the double-elimination competition.

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