Tournament to be played at Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Iowa State Cyclones (Pick, 161)
Oklahoma State PG Jawun Evans posted 22 points and a career-high 15 assists in Saturday’s 90-85 loss against Kansas, which is the first 20-15 game in the country this season and only the fourth in Big 12 history. Despite the loss, it has been quite a turnaround for Oklahoma State, which seems certain to become the first team since Maryland in 1985-86 to make the NCAA Tournament after starting league play 0-6. Junior forward Jeffrey Carroll was named to the All-Big 12 second team after ranking fourth in scoring (17.3), eighth in rebounding (6.6) and third in 3-point percentage (.438). If those numbers hold, Carroll would be just the fourth player in league history to finish in the top 10 in each of those categories, joining Georges Niang (ISU, 2015-16), Jordan Hamilton (Texas, 2010-11) and Kevin Durant (Texas, 2006-07).
Iowa State also enters off a loss, 87-76 on Friday at West Virginia despite 22 points and five 3-pointers from Naz Mitrou-Long and 17 points from Monte Morris and Deonte Burton. The Cyclones have owned the series of late, winning nine straight contests, but if the game comes down to the free-throw line, the Cowboys will certainly have an advantage, having made 67 of their last 73 free throws (.918) with Evans having made 29 straight and Phil Forte having made 20 straight. In Big 12 play, Morris, who has torched the Cowboys for 42 points and 16 assists in two games this season, has averaged one turnover every 45.9 minutes played in Big 12 games. Morris is flanked by seniors Mitrou-Long (16 points per game, 89 3-pointers) and Matt Thomas (12.2 points, 78 3-pointers), whose 167 combined 3-pointers is the most ever by a Cyclones duo.
* Cowboys are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
* Over is 5-0 in Cowboys last 5 neutral site games.
* Over is 8-0 in Cyclones last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
* Over is 6-0 in Cyclones last 6 overall.
* Underdog is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.
Texas Christian Horned Frogs vs Kansas Jayhawks (OFF)
The Horned Frogs lost seven straight to end the regular season, but they were able to avenge Saturday’s loss to the Sooners with a dominant performance in the first round and hope for another round of revenge Thursday as the Jayhawks swept the season series – winning 86-80 at TCU on Dec. 30 and 87-68 at home on Feb. 22. Kansas has won 11 straight against the Horned Frogs and has claimed 14 of 15 all-time meetings. The Horned Frogs shot a blistering 60 percent against Oklahoma, and all four of their primary scorers were in double digits. Big man Vladimir Brodziansky (14 points, 5.7 rebounds) led the way with 20 points and Kenrich Williams (10.5 points, 9.4 rebounds) had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and that’s the type of production TCU will need to pull off the upset.
Top-ranked Kansas will be without one of its star players when the Jayhawks meet TCU in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals Thursday in Kansas City. Freshman guard Josh Jackson will serve a one-game suspension related to a Feb. 2 traffic incident. Kansas likely is locked into a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament regardless of what happens this week in Kansas City, but coach Bill Self would like to see his team continue to build momentum after closing the regular season with eight straight wins. “This game is obviously an important game. They all are this time of year,” Self told reporters. “I think our guys will react pretty favorably.” The Jayhawks no doubt will miss Jackson (16.4 points, 7.2 rebounds), but they have plenty of talent to survive without him for a game. Star guards Frank Mason III (20.5 points, 5.1 assists) and Devonte’ Graham (13.2 points, 4.3 assists) are more than capable of picking up the scoring slack, and center Landen Lucas (7.7 points, 8.3 rebounds) along with a well-stocked bench are ready to step up. Jackson’s absence might be felt the most at the defensive end, as he leads the team in blocks (33) and steals (51).
* Horned Frogs are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 neutral site games.
* Jayhawks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
* Under is 6-2 in Jayhawks last 8 neutral site games.
* Horned Frogs are 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings.
Texas Longhorns vs West Virginia Mountaineers (OFF)
The Texas Longhorns overcame a brutal first half that saw them managed just 20 points and shoot 28 percent, including 1-of-13 from 3-point range, to pull out the victory over the Cowboys. Texas, which lost to West Virginia, 77-62, on Feb. 20 in Morgantown and 74-72 in Austin on Jan. 14, trailed the Red Raiders, 42-31, midway through the second half before going on a 26-8 run to pull off the upset. Now Shaka Smart’s squad has to come back in the span of about 21 hours to face a pressing West Virginia squad that leads the nation in steals (10.9) and turnovers forced per game (21.9) while also wearing opponents down. “It’s nice to get the first win,” Smart said. “Anything can happen from there. Now we just have to play with nothing to lose and attack tomorrow.”
Eleventh-ranked West Virginia enters Big 12 Tournament play as the No. 2 seed for the second year in a row. Junior point guard Jevon Carter is the leader of the “Press Virginia” defense, garnering Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors thanks to a conference-leading 85 steals which also ranks sixth nationally. Carter, a second team all-Big 12 choice, also leads the team in scoring (12.9) and assists (4.0). Esa Ahmad, a 6-8 sophomore forward who has been slowed recently by a sore back, is second on the team in scoring (11.4) while 6-9 senior forward Nathan Adrian (10.3), a third team all-Big 12 selection, also is averaging in double-digits while grabbing a team best 6.1 rebounds per game.
* Longhorns are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
* Under is 6-1 in Longhorns last 7 overall.
* Under is 4-0 in Mountaineers last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.
* Longhorns are 3-0-1 ATS in the last 4 meetings.
Kansas State Wildcats vs Baylor Bears (-5.5, 129.5)
Kansas State stayed relevant for an NCAA Tournament berth after rebounding from crushing losses to Oklahoma State and Oklahoma by a combined 42 points to knock off TCU by one and taking down Texas Tech 61-48 in the season finale Saturday to clinch a bye to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2013-14. “I am going to leave (the NCAA selection) up to the committee. I think we are in good conversation and it will be an even better conversation if we do something in the Big 12 tournament,” said Iwundu, who was named to the third team All Big 12 Team for the second straight season. The Wildcats are second in the Big 12 in steals (8.1), fourth in scoring defense (67.5) and 30th in the nation in turnovers forced (15.5); in their most recent meeting with Baylor on Feb. 4, D.J. Johnson blocked Motley’s game-tying jumper attempt with one second remaining to preserve a 56-54 victory.
Baylor, who started the season outside the top ten and advanced all the way to No. 1 in January, have tied school records with 25 wins in the regular season and its highest seed in the conference tournament (2010), and the Bears are currently ranked 10th in the country. “I think we have a lot of confidence going into the Big 12 tournament,” said Motley, who was a unanimous pick for All Big 12 honors. “We’re trying to do some big things here. We’re all about making history, and no other Baylor team has cut down the nets there. And that’s our goal.” The Bears lead the Big 12 in scoring defense (62.5 points), field goal percentage defense (39.5), 3-point field goal percentage defense (31.4), rebounding defense (29.3) and rebounding margin (+8.8).
* Wildcats are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
* Bears are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
* Under is 4-0 in Wildcats last 4 games following a ATS win.
* Under is 6-1-1 in Bears last 8 neutral site games.
* Under is 8-2 in Bears last 10 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.