Meet the teams coming to the Sprint Center for the Big 12 Tournament

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03/12/2014 5:19 PM

05/16/2014 12:29 PM

No. 1 Kansas

Quarterfinal opponent:

No. 8 Oklahoma State or No. 9 Texas Tech at 2 p.m. Thursday (ESPN2)

Season series:

1-1 vs. Oklahoma State; 2-0 vs. Texas Tech

Record:

23-8 overall, 14-4 Big 12

National ranking:

No. 10

NCAA Tournament projection:

No. 2 seed

This season:

The Jayhawks reloaded behind a talented freshman class and won their 10th straight Big 12 regular-season title. But now the season will be defined by success in March — and Kansas is moving forward without a healthy Joel Embiid, who is likely out until the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks can solidify a top-two NCAA seed by proving they can beat good teams without Embiid this weekend. Kansas has won six of eight Big 12 tournament titles, including last year’s.

No. 2 Oklahoma

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Quarterfinal opponent:

No. 7 Baylor or No. 10 TCU at 6 p.m. Thursday (KMCI, Ch. 38)

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Season series:

2-0 vs. both

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Record:

23-8 overall, 12-6 Big 12

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National ranking:

No. 17

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NCAA Tournament projection:

No. 4-6 seed

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This season:

The Sooners’ second-place finish is their best since the Blake Griffin-led squad of 2009 finished second. Oklahoma loves to push the pace and score. The Sooners are tied for the league lead in scoring with Iowa State at 82.5 points and are last in scoring defense at 75.8. Sophomore guard Buddy Hield emerged as one of the league’s top players. He averages 16.8 points and hits 40 percent of his three-point shots. Forward Ryan Spangler, the Gonzaga transfer, leads the Big 12 in rebounding at 9.4 per game.

No. 3 Texas

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Quarterfinal opponent:

No. 6 West Virginia at 8:30 p.m. Thursday (KMCI, Ch. 38)

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Season series:

2-0

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Record:

22-9 overall, 11-7 Big 12

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National ranking:

NR

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NCAA Tournament projection:

No. 5-7 seed

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This season:

Not much was expected from the Longhorns, picked by league coaches to finish eighth. But Texas proved itself better early on, beating Mercer and Stephen F. Austin, both solid teams, and taking down North Carolina on the road. A seven-game league winning streak put Texas in a position to challenge for the top of the Big 12, but the Horns got blown out at Kansas. Texas, which has lost four of six, has the size and length to match up with most. Cameron Ridley is a load in the post and averages 8.1 rebounds. Guards Javan Felix and Isaiah Taylor combined to average 24.6 and Jonathan Holmes (13.0) is a matchup problem.

No. 4 Iowa State

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Quarterfinal opponent:

No. 5 Kansas State at 11:30 a.m. Thursday (ESPN2)

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Season series:

1-1

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Record:

23-7 overall, 11-7 Big 12

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National ranking:

No. 16

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NCAA Tournament projection:

No. 4-5 seed

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This season:

The Cyclones got off to a blazing start, beating the likes of Michigan and Iowa on their way to a school-record 14-game winning streak to open the season. The big three led the way. Melvin Ejim, the Big 12 player of the year, ranks second in the league in scoring (18.2) and rebounding (8.6). Point guard DeAndre Kane, a Marshall transfer, is making the most of his one season in an Iowa State uniform and turned in an all-conference season. Forward Georges Niang, the inside-outside threat, averages 16.2 points. It has added up to one of the best regular seasons in Iowa State history.

No. 5 Kansas State

Quarterfinal opponent:

No. 4 Iowa State at 11:30 a.m. Thursday (ESPN2)

Season series:

1-1

Record:

20-11 overall, 10-8 Big 12

National ranking:

NR

NCAA Tournament projection:

No. 8 seed

This season:

An opening loss to Northern Colorado and a 2-3 start left many wondering if K-State might miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009, but the Wildcats turned things around in a hurry, winning 20 games and knocking off six ranked teams along the way. Marcus Foster has been one of the league’s top freshmen, leading K-State with 15.4 points. The Wildcats have been dominant at home, going 15-2, but they can’t rely on Bramlage Coliseum for help in the postseason. K-State heads to Kansas City hoping to bounce back from a late-season swoon. It has lost two in a row and three of five.

No. 6 West Virginia

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Quarterfinal opponent:

No. 3 Texas at 8:30 p.m. Thursday (KMCI, Ch. 38)

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Season series:

0-2

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Record:

17-14 overall, 9-9 Big 12

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National ranking:

NR

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NCAA Tournament projection:

Two victories may be enough for an at-large bid

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This season:

Most Big 12 teams made build their reputation in the nonconference part of the schedule. Not West Virginia. The Mountaineers took their worst losses in November and December but improved throughout the season, taking victories from Oklahoma, Iowa State and Kansas. The backcourt is the team’s strength, and Juwan Staten leads the league in scoring (18.4) and assists (5.9). Not far behind is Eron Harris, who averages 17.9. If the Mountaineers are to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011 they’ll likely need to win two games in Kansas City, and hope for no major upsets in other conference tournaments.

No. 7 Baylor

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First-round opponent:

No. 10 TCU at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday (KMCI, Ch. 38)

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Season series:

2-0

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Record:

21-10 overall, 9-9 Big 12

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National ranking:

NR

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NCAA Tournament projection:

No. 8-10 seed

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This season:

The Bears reached the title game of the Maui Classic. They defeated Colorado and Kentucky. All looked positive heading into the conference season. But a 2-8 Big 12 start nearly derailed postseason hopes. Baylor arrives in Kansas City having won seven of eight and is likely back in the NCAA Tournament. New point guard Kenny Chery has been a difference maker, especially against Kansas State. Earlier this season, he recorded a double-double against the Wildcats. On Saturday, Chery scored a season-best 29 in a victory at Manhattan.

No. 8 Oklahoma State

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First-round opponent:

No. 9 Texas Tech at 6 p.m. Wednesday (KMCI, Ch. 38)

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Season series:

1-1

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Record:

20-11 overall, 8-10 Big 12

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National ranking:

NR

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NCAA Tournament projection:

No. 8-10 seed

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This season:

What a wild ride. Non-league dominance, early conference success, slippage, the Marcus Smart suspension, a six-game losing streak, and finally a late-season really that includes victories over Kansas and Kansas State. The preseason co-favorite comes to Sprint Center feeling good and looking to live up to its early hype. This is the last go-around for seniors Markel Brown, LeBryan Nash and Smart, the sophomore who won’t pass up NBA riches for a second straight year. If the Cowboys get past the Red Raiders, a grudge match with Kansas awaits.

No. 9 Texas Tech

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First-round opponent:

No. 8 Oklahoma State at 6 p.m. Wednesday (KMCI, Ch. 38)

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Season series:

1-1

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Record:

14-17 overall, 6-12 Big 12

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National ranking:

NR

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NCAA Tournament projection:

Out

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This season:

Hope has returned to Lubbock. Coach Tubby Smith, the program’s fourth coach in four years, has restored confidence. The Red Raiders have beaten two ranked teams, and Kansas needed a last-second basket to escape at Tech. The team started to fade down the stretch but defeated Texas in the season finale behind Jaye Crockett’s 22 points.

No. 10 TCU

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First-round opponent:

No. 7 Baylor at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday (KMCI, Ch. 38)

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Season series:

0-2

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Record:

9-21 overall, 0-18 Big 12

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National ranking:

NR

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NCAA Tournament projection:

Out

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This season: There were some encouraging signs early, but once conference play began, the Horned Frogs couldn’t keep up. Injuries crushed the team with 10 different players missing at least one game. TCU has nice pieces with guard guard Kyan Anderson (17.0) and freshman forward Karviar Shepherd (6.8 rebounds), but it’s about next year for TCU.

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