It is that time of year again: conference tournaments. The Big 12 Tournament begins on Wednesday and there are many nationally ranked teams in this conference ready to fight for the title. Last year’s winner was Iowa State, but many other teams are looking to dethrone them as champions. With some teams coming on strong as of late, let’s see who will reign victorious in this stacked conference.
2020-21 Big 12 Tournament Predictions
Round One – Wednesday, March 10
No. 8 TCU vs. No. 9 Kansas State
After starting the year off strong, TCU hasn’t looked the same since. They were able to eke out a victory against Oklahoma State early in the year but could not keep the same momentum. TCU suffered big losses against Kansas, Oklahoma, and Baylor. Postponements prevented them from regaining early-season consistency. This resulted in a record one game below .500.
Kansas State did not perform much better, starting the season 2-3 before undergoing a thirteen-game losing streak. Their only impressive win came against Oklahoma. They previously defeated TCU with a score of 62-54, led by Mike McGuirl’s 16 points. Both teams split their season matchup, but expect TCU to sneak this one out.
No. 7 Oklahoma vs. No. 10 Iowa State
After winning the Big 12 Conference in 2019, Iowa State has been lacking the same hustle and will they displayed that year. After extending Steve Prohm’s contract through 2025, the Cyclones have gone 14-41 (2-21 this year) with an active seventeen-game losing streak. Additionally, the last time the Big 12 Tournament was held, the Cyclones were the champions. Since the departure of Talen Horton-Tucker, Marial Shayok, and Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State hasn’t been too competitive.
Oklahoma has played well throughout the year and was able to bounce back from terrible losses to win handily. They slipped into the Top-25 ranking this week, but are on a four-game losing streak (albeit two by Oklahoma State and one by Texas). Oklahoma was able to beat Iowa State twice this year, but the games were relatively close—an average margin of nine points. Austin Reeves is Oklahoma’s consistent scorer and he will do enough to get them to play Kansas in the next round.
Quarterfinals – Thursday, March 11
No. 4 West Virginia vs. No. 5 Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State enters this game having gone 4-1 in their last five games with a stunning win against West Virginia. They also had impressive wins against Texas and Kansas. The Cowboys show plenty of offensive weapons, led by Big 12 Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year Cade Cunningham.
West Virginia is just as compared with their most impressive wins against Texas and Oklahoma State. While both teams split their season matchup in high-scoring affairs, expect Oklahoma State to come out with a win. Cunningham and Isaac Likekele didn’t play in their last matchup but expect them to suit up and secure a victory for the Cowboys.
No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 8 TCU
The Baylor Bears have won 21 of their last 22 games with their only loss against Kansas. With postponements lasting throughout February, the Bears were able to maintain their momentum for some impressive wins against West Virginia, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech. TCU just lacks the necessary defense to stop this high-powered offense.
A Scott Drew-coached Baylor team is going to overwhelm the TCU Horndogs. The high-scoring offense will prove to be too much and Baylor moves on.
No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 7 Oklahoma
After suffering their first loss against the soon-to-be No. 1 ranked Gonzaga, Kansas locked in. They cruised to eight straight wins, including one against West Virginia. However, January was not a favorable month for them. They went 3-6 but were able to buckle down and finish off the season strong. This includes giving the No.2 ranked Baylor their only loss of the season.
Kansas and Oklahoma have split their season matchup by an average margin of six points. Both teams like to get out and score and they have plenty of players to accomplish that. However, after beating Baylor, expect Kansas to come out and believe they can win the tournament.
No. 3 Texas vs. No. 6 Texas Tech
Texas Tech has played well the entire season. They have stayed competitive against Baylor, Kansas, and Oklahoma State by just a couple of points. Since transferring, Mac McClung has played possessed, trying to prove Georgetown wrong and help his team win ballgames. He is really more than just a spectacular dunker.
Texas can’t seem to replicate their winning formula against Texas Tech and were swept during their season matchup. The aforementioned McClung will rise to the occasion during this Texas showdown. Although it is hard to beat a team three straight times in the same season, expect the Red Raiders to move onto the next round.
Semifinals — Friday, March 12T
No. 1 Baylor vs No. 5 Oklahoma State
Baylor and Oklahoma State have played twice this year with the Bears winning both games by thirteen points to be exact. Cunningham and the Cowboys have a lot of offensive firepower, but their defense leaves some to be desired. Baylor on the other hand locks up on defense as well and has a very impressive offense. The only hope for the Cowboys is to get out the gate scoring to catch Baylor off guard.
In the second half, watch Baylor tighten up on defense and take this game home. The Cowboys will put up a good fight, but Jared Butler and the Bears will book their ticket to the conference finals.
No. 2 Kansas vs No. 6 Texas Tech
Kansas has more depth than the Red Raiders, but that alone is not always the answer. McClung will definitely try to put this team on his 6-foot-2 frame, but it will not be enough.
The Jayhawks have left all of their terrible losses at the beginning of the year and have been arguably the hottest team in the conference (after Baylor). However, don’t expect Texas Tech to just rollover. They will put up a good fight, but Kansas is just a better-coached team. Kansas moves on to face a familiar foe.
Big 12 Tournament Championship Game — Saturday, March 13
No. 1 Baylor vs No.2 Kansas
These two teams meeting in the final may not come as a shock to anyone. The No.1 and No.2 teams are squaring off to see who will finish the regular season tournament victorious.
The Bears and Jayhawks beat each other earlier in the year by double digits. Expect both of them to try and replicate their winning blueprint. Baylor will try to get out to a quick and early lead, then rely on its defense as the game approaches finality. Look for them to get Butler involved early as the Bears go as he goes. Kansas will look to keep the game close, try to get easy shots, and remain calm under pressure as the game tightens up.
Even as the game gets close, the Bears’ Big 3 of Butler, Davion Mitchell, and MaCio Teague will be too much for the Jayhawks. They have too many avenues to score and will be on full display. Baylor will regain the Big 12 Tournament title and cut down the nets in Kansas City and move on as the No.1 seed in their region.
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