What to expect in the upcoming Big 12 Men’s Basketball tournament
By Brennan Keller
With the 2013 Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Tournament less than a month away, Kansas is trying to finish conference play with momentum to claim their ninth consecutive Big 12 regular season conference championship. With huge road games at Oklahoma State, Iowa State, and Baylor coming up, the Jayhawks have little room for error. The following standings is how I see each team finishing out Big 12 Conference play. In addition, I briefly listed a “best & worst case scenario” for the top three teams in the conference.
Note: The records listed for all Big 12 schools do not include Big 12 Tournament or NCAA Tournament games. Also, the RPI rankings were courtesy of cbssports.com
1. Kansas 26-5 (14-4) RPI: 6 (Projected Conference Co-Champions)
Best Case Scenario: The Jayhawks claim their ninth straight regular season conference title by closing out conference play in impressive fashion. Senior Elijah Johnson’s cold shooting streak comes to a halt and he helps lead the Jayhawks to road wins against Oklahoma State, Iowa State, and Baylor. Right after scoring 26 points in Waco, freshman sensation Ben McLemore helps lead Kansas to a come-from-behind victory over Oklahoma State in the 2013 Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. The Jayhawks are then awarded a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament with their first and second round games at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
Worst Case Scenario: Kansas loses to Oklahoma State and Iowa State on the road and the Jayhawks fall just short of earning their ninth straight conference title. The Jayhawks then turn around and play flat in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Tournament losing in the semifinals. Elijah Johnson continues to struggle offensively and Kansas gets knocked out early in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
1. Oklahoma State 24-6 (14-4) RPI: 23 (Projected Conference Co-Champions)
Best Case Scenario: Behind the heroics of Marcus Smart and Markel Brown, the Cowboys complete the season sweep of Kansas with another close win over the Jayhawks in Stillwater. Oklahoma State finishes out conference play with wins over in-state rival Oklahoma and Kansas State. Oklahoma State returns to prominence, wins the Big 12, and finishes out the season with a memorable Elite Eight run.
Worst Case Scenario: Oklahoma State loses to Kansas in a sold-out Gallagher-Iba Arena behind one of Ben McLemore’s best games of the season. Markel Brown and Marcus Smart turn around a week later and lose to a tough Iowa State squad at Hilton Coliseum. Oklahoma State gets knocked out early in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Tournament and then loses in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on a last second shot. A month later, head coach Travis Ford receives news that Marcus Smart, Markel Brown, and LeBryan Nash will declare for the 2013 NBA Draft.
2. Kansas State 24-7 (13-5) RPI: 20
Best Case Scenario: Head coach Bruce Weber and senior Rodney McGruder stun the country by leading Kansas State to a share of the Big 12 regular season conference title. The Wildcats complete the season sweep of Oklahoma State, Weber earns a contract extension, lures in a “top 25″ recruiting class for the 2013-2014 season, and Kansas State falls just short of advancing to the Final Four in Atlanta .
Worst Case Scenario: Kansas State loses confidence after a lopsided loss to the Jayhawks in historic Allen Fieldhouse and the Wildcats are never able to completely get back on track. The Wildcats lose on the road to Texas–with sophomore Myck Kabongo leading the way for the Longhorns. The Wildcats turn around and struggle offensively to end conference play with a crushing 71-66 loss at Oklahoma State. Kansas State falls flat in March and the Wildcat faithful can only watch as the Jayhawks play in their second consecutive NCAA Final Four.
3. Oklahoma (21-9) (12-6) RPI: 17
4. Iowa State (21-10) (11-7) RPI: 49
5. Baylor (18-13) (9-9) RPI: 54
6. West Virginia (13-18) (6-12) RPI: 99
7. Texas (13-18) (5-13) RPI: 142
8. Texas Tech (10-19) (3-15) RPI: 226
9. TCU (10-21) (1-17) RPI: 225
Projected 2013 Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament Champion: Oklahoma State