It’s March, and you know what that means...tournament season! To get you ready for the Big-12 match-ups taking place at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK, here’s a game-by-game breakdown going into this weekend, and even some predictions of my own:
Friday, March 2
No. 8 Kansas State vs. No. 9 Kansas @ 6 p.m.
After two losses to K State already this season, I don’t think the third time will be the charm for the Kansas Jayhawks. Although anything can happen, and Kansas is still reeling off of their 66-59 upset against OSU at home on February 7, I just don’t see a win in the cards for them this year — especially if K State is able to keep Tyler Johnson from getting the ball.
No. 7 Iowa State vs. No. 10 Texas Tech @ 8:30 p.m.
If Emily Durr and Bridget Carleton shoot as well as they did against Kansas last Tuesday night, I predict that the Cyclones will be moving on. The junior/senior duo not only put up points, but help distribute the ball well, so, if they’re on then the game is an easy win. Iowa State also pulled off two wins over Tech this season, so I have no doubt that they will be able to pull it off again.
Saturday, March 3
No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 TCU @ 11 a.m.
This game will be close — and really could go either way. OU and TCU went 1-1 this season, with neither game being a blowout, so a win from either wouldn’t surprise me. However, I’m going to predict an Oklahoma win for the way they finished the season.
Although TCU took off on a seven-game win streak this season, they didn’t end strong — losing six of their last eight games. OU, on the other hand, did the opposite — winning 6 of their 8 end-of-season games. I believe that OU will be going into the tournament in a better position both tactically and mentally, and with more confidence than the Frogs, which puts them ahead of TCU in my eyes.
Game 4: No. 1 Baylor vs. K State @ 1:30 p.m.
In their past contests this season, Baylor smashed K State — 88-58 on December 28, 2017, and then again, 75-50, on January 20. Those scores give me every reason to believe that Baylor will walk out with a win — by at least 10 points.
Game 5: No. 2 Texas vs. Iowa State @ 6:00 p.m.
Although Texas beat ISU by a whopping 32 points in their first contest this season, the Cyclones must have figured it out — only losing by 13 points in their February 24 matchup. Despite this improvement on ISU’s end, I still believe Texas will walk off with the win.
Game 6: No. 3 Oklahoma State vs. No. 6 West Virginia @ 8:30 p.m.
Although OSU beat WVU twice this season, I’m going to predict a WVU win. First off, experience. WVU was here last year — and not just here. They won the whole thing. They know first-hand exactly what it’s going to take to make it, which I believe will help push them past OSU. Second, we’ve seen Oklahoma State choke — recently too. Their loss at Kansas was troubling, especially at the end of the season. Another thing to note was how close these two teams’ games were this season — both within ten points. I think it’ll be close, but WVU will come out on top.
Sunday, March 4
Game 7: Oklahoma vs. Baylor @ 2:00 p.m.
Although they picked up two L’s against Baylor this season, the second, was only by nine points. Now, this doesn’t make me any less confident that Baylor will win the game — seeing that they are ranked second in offensive scoring, just behind UConn — but it could be a foreshadowing of what may turn out to be a close game. Especially with Baylor’s senior point guard, Kristy Wallace, being out with injury, I think that Oklahoma has the potential to shake it up.
Game 8: Texas vs. West Virginia @ 4:30 p.m.
As I mentioned above, WVU was here just last year and has that semi-final/championship experience. However, two near 20 point victories for Texas over WVU gives me enough confidence to put Texas into the championship against Baylor. Although, a part of me hopes to see a rematch between the Lady Bears and the Mountaineers...but I guess we will have to wait and see.
Monday, March 5
Championship: Baylor vs. Texas @ 8:00 p.m
Yeah, yeah, putting the top two finishers in the conference in the championship isn’t as exciting or, on paper, unpredictable, but this is how I see the tournament fanning out. Despite losing Wallace, as mentioned above, this past week to an ACL injury, I still have Baylor coming out on top. Their experience in the championship, mixed with a fire to win after losing to WVU last year, will propel them to a hard-fought victory on Monday.
(All game times Central)
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