Tracketology: Kansas Will Not Be in the Championship Game… Here’s Why

The Big 12 Conference features ten heavy hitting teams, and is one of the most exciting conferences to watch.

Photo courtesy of the Big 12 Conference

The Big 12 Conference features ten heavy hitting teams, and is one of the most exciting conferences to watch.

Jhett Garrett, Editor/Podcast Director

The Big 12 is one of my favorite conferences in the NCAA this season, and of the Power 5 conferences, this one seems to be second in line to the Big 10 this year. After making my predictions for the tournament, it looks like this tournament could be the best one to watch this year, with some upsets and some very hard-fought games.

Round 1

Wednesday, March 10

(All times Central Standard Time)

9 Kansas State v. 8 TCU 5:30 PM

10 Iowa State v. 7 Oklahoma 8:30 PM

For some reason, something always attracts me to Kansas State come tournament time. They are a nine seed this year, and they haven’t had what a great season. Despite their less-than-stellar season, I think that they will win their first game and move onto the second round. Game 2 will be between Oklahoma and Iowa State, and this is a pretty easy choice as to who will win. Oklahoma is ranked number 25 in the nation with a 14-9 record on the season, while Iowa State is 2-21 and has lost 17 games in a row. To be fair, they did compete in most of these games that they have lost. They may even compete against Oklahoma; however, the Sooners will move onto the second round.

 Round 2

Thursday, March 11

5 Oklahoma State v. 4 West Virginia 10:30 AM

9 Kansas State v. 1 Baylor 1:30 PM

7 Oklahoma v. 2 Kansas 5:30 PM

6 Texas Tech v. 3 Texas 8:30 PM

Round 2 is where the games get interesting.

Game 1 is very intriguing, as you will see two of the top teams in the nation play early in Round 2 of a conference tournament. That game will feature Oklahoma State and West Virginia, and I would be lying if I said I was more excited for any other game in the nation. They just played this past Saturday, and the Cowboys picked up a five-point victory – without their best player and potential number 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, Cade Cunningham. With Cade Cunningham back, this looks like it will be a victory for the Cowboys, and they will move on to the next round.

Kansas State and Baylor will also be an interesting matchup. Like I mentioned earlier, I love taking Kansas State in tournaments. However, there is no team I love taking more than Baylor. They are such a skilled team top to bottom. With Kansas State playing at 5:30 on Wednesday and then turning around and playing the second-ranked team in the country in less than 24 hours, it is not likely that they win. The Bears will walk all over Kansas State.

Game 3 will see a similar situation because Oklahoma plays at 8:30, which means they won’t be in bed and asleep until around midnight. It’s tough to sleep when you’re playing in tournaments, especially when you have to play the number 11 team in the country. Kansas will win this game. However, I believe that the Sooners stand a chance, and if there’s going to be a major upset anywhere, it will be here.

In the final game of the day, we will see two in-state rivals go head to head as Texas takes on Texas Tech. I do have to admit that I am a big Texas Tech fan. On the other hand, I also love watching this year’s Texas team, so this is a game I will definitely be tuning in to watch. This game will give us the first of two big upsets I see coming in this Big 12 tournament, as I think the Red Raiders will pull this one out and prove that they do belong in the tournament. Their season has been a roller coaster, as they will knock off a tough team, only to fall to another in the very next game. If the Red Raiders can get hot and stay hot, this team is dangerous not only in the Big 12 tournament but also in the NCAA tournament.

Semifinals

Friday, March 12

5 Oklahoma State v. 1 Baylor 6:00 PM

6 Texas Tech v. 2 Kansas 8:00 PM

Game 1 of the semifinals is challenging to call because I love Oklahoma State and Cade Cunningham, and I want to see them win this game and move onto the championship game. However, Baylor is such a good team this season, having lost only one game all year. I think that you will see the Cowboys compete in this game, and while they will fall short, I believe that Oklahoma State will be a potential Elite Eight or Final Four team in the NCAA Tournament this season behind Cade Cunningham. The guy is a flat-out stud.

As for the second game of the semifinals, I predict a big upset here. Usually, we see Kansas in the championship game of the Big 12 tournament every year, and most years, they win it. However, with a new top team in the conference emerging in Baylor and Kansas having a massive down year, I believe that Kansas will fall to Texas Tech. Kansas is ranked 11 in the nation and the 2 seed in the Big 12. However, they are not as good as they are ranked. They handed Baylor their only loss of the year. But they are just such a night and day team, which makes them such a tough team to take this year. On the other hand, I would rely on Texas Tech to have a big tournament win before relying on Kansas to do so, which is why the Red Raiders will head to the championship game to take on Baylor.

Championship Game

6 Texas Tech vs. 1 Baylor 5:00 PM

The championship game will be a great matchup. Baylor is solid, and while I love Mac McClung and the Red Raiders, I love Baylor even more. Jared Butler has been nothing but great for the Bears this season and is averaging 17 points, five assists, and three rebounds per game. MaCio Teague is chipping in another 16 points per game, and Davion Mitchell adds an average of 14 points a game. This team will be hard to stop on offense, and they are a candidate to win the National Championship this season. Both of these teams will make an NCAA tournament push.

If my predictions are correct, this will be an epic championship game.