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Big 12 Tournament preview: Can Texas win back-to-back tournament titles in a competitive field?

More often than not, the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Tournament championship is won by a school in Texas. Can Iowa State, Oklahoma, Kansas or another competitor buck the trend, or will Texas or Baylor come out on top once again?

NCAA Womens Basketball: Texas Longhorns at Baylor Bears
The Texas Longhorns are the reigning Big 12 Tournament champs, having dethroned the historically dominant Baylor Bears.
Austin American-Statesman-USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2023 Big 12 Tournament begins Thursday, with all games being played at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. Games will be streamed live on Big 12 NOW/ESPN+, with two quarterfinals games (Friday) and the championship game (Sunday) televised nationally on ESPNU and ESPN2, respectively.

While the Baylor Bears have historically been the Big 12’s most successful team during the conference tournament — they’ve won eight of the last ten titles and 11 total since 1997 — it’s their in-state rival, the Texas Longhorns, who will be favored in 2023. Texas defeated Baylor in last season’s tournament championship game and enter this season as the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, having gone 23-8 and 14-4 in Big 12 play during the regular season. They’ve got the hardware to show for it, too: 2022 Big 12 Tournament MVP Rori Harmon was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year for 2023, while BYU transfer Shaylee Gonzales earned Newcomer of the Year honors and Vic Schaefer was named Coach of the Year.

That isn’t to discredit every other team in the tournament, of course. The Iowa State Cyclones, in particular, can never be ruled out, due to the number of 3-pointers they shoot (38.8 percent 3-point rate) and the play of Ashley Joens, who was recently named Big 12 Player of the Year. The Oklahoma Sooners have a high-octane offense, too (79.3 possessions per 40 minutes; No. 3 in Division I), which makes them a threat against just about any opponent, while the Kansas Jayhawks have one of the best defensive centers in the country in Taiyanna Jackson (15.1 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game).

Iowa State v Kansas State
Can 2023 Big 12 Player of the Year Ashley Joens lead Iowa State to a tournament championship?
Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

The participating teams, listed in order of tournament seeding, are as follows:

  1. Texas Longhorns (23-8; 14-4 Big 12)
  2. Oklahoma Sooners (24-5; 14-4 Big 12)
  3. Iowa State Cyclones (19-9; 11-7 Big 12)
  4. Oklahoma State Cowgirls (20-10; 10-8 Big 12)
  5. West Virginia Mountaineers (19-10; 10-8 Big 12)
  6. Baylor Bears (19-11; 10-8 Big 12)
  7. Kansas Jayhawks (19-10; 9-9 Big 12)
  8. Texas Tech Lady Raiders (18-13; 6-12 Big 12)
  9. Kansas State Wildcats (16-15; 5-13 Big 12)
  10. TCU Horned Frogs (7-22; 1-17 Big 12)

Big 12 Tournament schedule

All games at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, MO

First round — Thursday, March 9

Game 1: No. 8 Texas Tech vs. No. 9 Kansas State, 6 p.m. ET (Big 12 NOW/ESPN+)

Game 2: No. 7 Kansas vs. No. 10 TCU, 8:30 p.m. ET (Big 12 NOW/ESPN+)

Quarterfinals — Friday, March 10

Game 3: No. 4 Oklahoma State vs. No. 5 West Virginia, 12 p.m. ET (ESPNU or Big 12 NOW/ESPN+)

Game 4: No. 1 Texas vs. Game 1 winner, 2:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU or Big 12 NOW/ESPN+)

Game 5: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. Game 2 winner, 6 p.m. ET (Big 12 NOW/ESPN+)

Game 6: No. 3 Iowa State vs. No. 6 Baylor, 8:30 p.m. ET (Big 12 NOW/ESPN+)

Semifinals — Saturday, March 11

Game 7: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 1 p.m. ET (Big 12 NOW/ESPN+)

Game 8: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 3:30 p.m. ET (Big 12 NOW/ESPN+)

Championship — Sunday, March 12

Game 9: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN2 or Big 12 NOW/ESPN+)