Here’s a story about each of the 10 teams in the Big 12 Tournament:
No. 1 seed Kansas
Kansas has gone winless in one of the first 20 Big 12 Tournaments. In 2009, the top-seeded Jayhawks lost to No. 8 Baylor, which went on to the championship game before falling to Missouri. Otherwise the Jayhawks have won at least one game in the event, and own a 41-10 record. Next in Big 12 Tournament victories is Texas, with 24.
No. 2 West Virginia
West Virginia, with five players averaging between 9.1-12.9 points, doesn’t have a designated go-to guy, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “Our guys are pretty good at going to the guy that has the hot hand,” Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins said. “It’s not always (Jevon Carter). It could be Daxter Miles, Tarik Phillip at times or Nate Adrian at times, which, honestly, I think is good for us.”
No. 3 Baylor
At 25-6, Baylor’s regular season ranks among the best in school history. The victories tie a school record for a regular season (2012), as do the 12 conference victories (2010). The Bears’ No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Tournament matches their best position, and when the NCAA Tournament bracket is revealed on Sunday, they will look to match or surpass their best seed, No. 3 (2010, 2012, 2015).
No. 4 Iowa State
Iowa State seniors Monte Morris, Matt Thomas and Naz Mitrou-Long have a chance to join a select few. If the Cyclones win the event, they’ll become three-time Big 12 Tournament champions. Iowa State won it in 2014 and 2015. Kansas (1997-99 and 2006-08) and Oklahoma (2001-03) have won three straight tournaments. KU also won three of four during 2010-13.
No. 5 Oklahoma St.
Basketball statistical analyst Ken Pomeroy ranks Oklahoma State’s offense as the nation’s most efficient. The Cowboys average 85.6 points per game, and if that figure holds, they would be the second-highest scoring team in Big 12 history behind Kansas’ 2001-02 team. Point guard Jawun Evans went for 22 points and 15 assists against Kansas last Saturday, the nation’s only 20-15 game this season.
No. 6 Kansas State
Kansas State appears to be the prototypical bubble team for the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats are 3-8 against the RPI top 50, and three victories are solid. But a No. 49 non-conference schedule strength could bite them. Also, if one coach comes to Kansas City with questions about his future, it’s the Wildcats’ Bruce Weber. He may be coaching for his job this week.
No. 7 Texas Tech
Texas Tech’s Chris Beard brings his first team to the Big 12 Tournament as a head coach, but as a Red Raiders assistant, he was part of the some of the most successful teams in school history. Tech reached the semifinals every year from 2002-2005 and got to the title game in 2005, falling to Oklahoma State. Beard was a Tech assistant from 2001-11.
No. 8 TCU
TCU’s 6-12 conference record is its best in five Big 12 seasons, and its three-game league winning streak was its best in a conference since 2008, when the Horned Frogs were a member of the Mountain West. The six league victories matched the total of the previous three years combined. The No. 8 seed in the Big 12 Tournament is a high water mark for the program.
No. 9 Oklahoma
In a rematch of a regular-season finale, ninth-seeded Oklahoma will face TCU in a first-round game. The Sooners won in Norman 73-68. It’s been a rough year for an Oklahoma team that reached the Final Four last season behind the play of national player of the year Buddy Hield. Things got tougher for OU this season when point guard Jordan Woodard was lost to a season-ending knee injury.
No. 10 Texas
The NBA scouts in attendance for the first round will focus on Texas freshman front liner Jarrett Allen, who averages 13.4 points and 8.5 rebounds. Allen said after his 20-point, nine-rebound effort against Baylor on Saturday that he’s keeping his options open for next season and hasn’t made a decision to enter the draft.