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Big 12 tournament predictions

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I'm glad the Big 12 men's basketball tournament returned to its rightful place in Kansas City, Mo. this season.

The Sprint Center will be the site of this year's tournament and next year's tournament in 2011. The ideal next step? 2012, 2013, 2014, etc.

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Orlin Wagner/AP Photo: A view inside Sprint Center

The postseason basketball tournament belongs in Kansas City, just as the Big 12 football championship belongs in Arlington, Texas.

With two exceptionally dynamic and beautiful facilities in Big 12 territories — Sprint Center and Cowboys Stadium — why even think of holding the postseason championships anywhere else?

To get ready for the Big 12 hoops tournament, which begins Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., I've prepared five questions. We won't know the answers until after Saturday's 5 p.m. championship game, so feel free to offer your answers in the comments section below.

Here's the tournament bracket:

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Source: big12sports.com

1. Aside from the top four seeds with first-round byes (No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Kansas State, No. 3 Baylor and No. 4 Texas A&M), what team would you not want to face?

Answer: Oklahoma State. No thanks. The Cowboys should beat Oklahoma and then have a legitimate chance of upsetting Kansas State.

The Cowboys, behind Big 12 player of the year James Anderson, were the only team to knock off Kansas and Kansas State this season.

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Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

In fact, I'd rather be No. 3 Baylor than No. 2 Kansas State in the tournament. Baylor's likely second-round game would be against a reeling No. 6 Texas squad. K-State's likely second-round draw would be against surging No. 7 Okie State.

2. Which player will score the most total points in the tournament?

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Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Answer: LaceDarius Dunn. Lace lit up Texas for 30 points in the Bears' 92-77 regular-season finale. I foresee Baylor making a deep run, with the the Big 12's three-point leader and second-leading scorer being the catalyst.

3. What's your Oscar selection for movie of the year?

Answer: OK, so a little off topic, but here at Conference Chatter, that happens every now and then with TV shows and movies. Admittedly, I have not seen Avatar or Crazy Heart. I have seen Hurt Locker, Up in the Air and Inglourious Basterds. Was I the only one not blown away by Hurt Locker? My vote goes to George Clooney and Co., with a slight edge over Quentin Tarantino's gem. Up in the Air.

4A. How many Big 12 teams will reach the NCAA Tournament?

Answer: Seven.

And they're all pretty sure locks: Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas A&M, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma State.

The seven teams in the tournament would be a conference record. The Big 12 has put six teams in the tourney the past two years, and in 2005, 2003, 2002, 2001 and 2000.

4B: Is the Big 12 the best conference in the country?

Answer: Yes. This is probably the best the Big 12's ever been. If Kansas and K-State make deep NCAA runs (don't count out Baylor and A&M doing the same), it would really drive the point home.

5. What is your Big 12 tournament finals matchup, and who wins?

Answer: Kansas vs. Baylor; Champion: Kansas.

Ah, wouldn't that be interesting? A rematch of the second-round shocker from last season, when the No. 9 Bears defeated the No. 1 Jayhawks, 71-64, in Oklahoma City.

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Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Kansas should make it to the finals. The Jayhawks will have more fans at Sprint Center than any other team, so it should feel like home games, taken down several notches.

Texas A&M presents a possible obstacle for KU in the semifinals, but the Aggies would have to hold off Missouri before that game happens. A&M coach Mark Turgeon is also 0-4 against his alma mater, KU.

Kansas has looked unstoppable the past week against its two biggest rivals, K-State and Missouri, winning by an average of 18 points in the two contests.

Baylor would have to hold off Texas and the Kansas State/Oklahoma State winner to make the finals. The Bears have won four straight games and seven of eight. Why they're not ranked higher than No. 21 in the Associated Press poll is beyond me.

Fun fact: Baylor forward/sixth man Quincy Acy threw down 10 dunks against Texas on Saturday. By himself. Yikes. I like Baylor to reach the finals again.

What are your answers? That should be all for now. As always, discuss.

Comments

CreatureComforts 4 years, 11 months ago

Kansas will play:

Texas Tech Texas A&M (who will beat Missouri) Baylor (will upset K-State)

And beat Baylor in the final.

I wouldn't bet money on it...

Iknownothing 4 years, 11 months ago

Baylor will win it all. I 'm not a baylor fan nor KU fan . (Sorry) but I think Baylor's got it

riverdrifter 4 years, 11 months ago

KU and Baylor. I fear the Bears. A little. If Kansas gets two wins they should be the lock (if they arren't already) for No. 1 and get the OKC/St Louis road to the FF. Jayhawks fans travel extremely well and these backyard venues will facilitate that even further. This league tournament really means squat to Jayhawk nation.

Raider 4 years, 11 months ago

IF (I wouldn't bet on it) my beloved Red Raiders get past Colorado, they will get absolutely slaughtered by KU. Most likely a 20+ point win for the Hawks.

Mizzou / Aggie will be an interesting game. I'm thinking another border war at the Sprint Center.

The top 7 teams in the league are too good to call the championship game yet. I wouldn't be surprised at any matchup. This league is too good and too deep.

calvin 4 years, 11 months ago

KU will play: Colorado, Missouri (it is hard to beat a team three times in a year, but MU has no inside game and their outside game is not that good), and then avenge our only conference loss by beating OSU in the final.

Richard Payton 4 years, 11 months ago

How many Conference USA teams will play? I agree that the Big 12 is the strongest conference but I would not give Texas a slot at this point. This would keep a good Marshall or Memphis team out of the tourney. Conference USA should receive four bids being UTEP,Memphis,UAB and Marshall. I remember Memphis last year and this year playing Kansas well. UTEP won the conference and UAB has a better overall record than Memphis. Marshall and Memphis has the same overall record at 23-8.

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