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Big 12 team-by-team outlook Big 12 Tournament outlook

  • Published Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at 11:42 p.m.

1. Kansas

Record: 26-5, 14-4 Big 12

Coach: Bill Self

Big 12 Tournament titles: 8 (last in 2011)

RPI as of Wednesday: 8

Best win: at Ohio State

Why its fans drive 40 miles: Because it’s a birthright to be able to see the Jayhawks play as many games as possible in Kansas City.

The skinny: After a ninth straight regular-season title, Bill Self can win his sixth Big 12 tournament in 10 seasons. This one would have special meaning, too, after the Jayhawks shared the regular-season crown with Kansas State. KU is also still in the running for a No. 1 seed, but probably needs an impressive performance this week. Senior center Jeff Withey and freshman guard Ben McLemore were both first-team All-Big 12 selections, but lost out to Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart for Player of the Year honors. Withey, who is averaging 13.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.0 blocks, needs 17 more blocks to eclipse his Big 12 single-season record of 140, set last season.

2. Kansas State

Record: 25-6, 14-4

Coach: Bruce Weber

Big 12 Tournament titles: None

RPI as of Wednesday: 20

Best win: Florida (in Kansas City)

Why its fans drive 120 miles: Those football/basketball championship T-shirts aren’t going to wear themselves around KC this week.

The skinny: K-State accomplished something it hadn’t done in 36 years -- win a conference championship. Now it will try to win its first conference tournament championship since the Big 12 began. A tournament title would increase K-State’s chances of receiving a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament and playing its first game close to home in Kansas City. An early loss would leave its postseason seed and destination up in the air. Weber has won more games than any first-year coach in program history. Rodney McGruder was a first-team all-Big 12 selection. Angel Rodriguez made the second team.

3. Oklahoma State

Record: 23-7, 13-5

Coach: Travis Ford

Big 12 Tournament titles: 2 (last in 2005)

RPI as of Wednesday: 23

Best win: at Kansas

Why its fans drive 316 miles: Somebody has to break up this Sunflower Lovefest, and those Missouri traitors are in Nashville.

The skinny: Oklahoma State narrowly missed out on a regular season Big 12 championship by one game, but that doesn’t take anything away from the way it played behind conference Player of the Year Marcus Smart. The Cowboys beat K-State in the season-finale and won at Kansas when the Jayhawks were on a long home-court winning streak. Smart ranked the top of of the Big 12 in several statistical categories and was also on of the best defenders in the conference. Markel Brown was the team’s leading scorer and Le’Bryan Nash was effective inside. Some think Oklahoma State is the most talented team in the league.

4. Oklahoma

Record: 20-10, 11-7

Coach: Lon Kruger

Big 12 Tournament titles: 3 (last in 2003)

RPI as of Wednesday: 33

Best win: Kansas

Why its fans drive 366 miles: They’ve heard good things about Oklahoma Joe’s barbecue.

The skinny: In his second season at Oklahoma, coach Lon Kruger has the Sooners in line for their first NCAA appearance since 2009 — Blake Griffin’s final season in Norman. Senior Romero Osby leads the way with 15.7 points per game while shooting 52.9 percent from the floor. The Sooners finished fifth in the conference in scoring (71.3 points per game) and seventh in scoring defense (66.0), but they led the league in free throw percentage (75.8). That free-throw mark included a perfect 34-for-34 performance in a win against Iowa State on March 2.

5. Iowa State

Record: 21-10, 11-7

Coach: Fred Hoiberg

Big 12 Tournament titles: 1 (2000)

RPI as of Wednesday: 47

Best win: Kansas State

Why its fans drive 230 miles: Because the Big Eight/12 Tournament isn’t a party until the Cyclones arrive.

The skinny: What could have been for Iowa State. The Cyclones had Kansas on the ropes twice. Lost to Texas in double overtime. And beat Oklahoma State and K-State at home. They’re still a good bet to make the tournament, but a win in Kansas City would likely cement them in the Big Dance. The Cyclones led the nation with 819 three-point attempts, 239 more than anyone else in the Big 12. Senior Will Clyburn averages 15.2 points, but senior Tyrus McGee is a dangerous weapon, averaging 47 percent from three-point range. Iowa State can get another crack at Kansas with a win against Oklahoma.

6. Baylor

Record: 18-13, 9-9

Coach: Scott Drew

Big 12 Tournament titles: 0

RPI as of Wednesday: 64

Best win: Kansas

Why its fans drive 634 miles: To see if the city limit signs say “Kansas City — Birthplace of Scott Drew”

The skinny: Baylor has Final Four talent, but it took the Bears until the final game of the regular season to show it. After a disappointing year that featured only one win over a team in the top half of the conference standings, they stomped Kansas 81-58 behind Cory Jefferson and Pierre Jackson. Both players made 11 of 13 shots. They now head to Kansas City with momentum. Baylor has a knack for late-season charges. Could this be the start of another one?

7. Texas

Record: 15-16, 7-11

Coach: Rick Barnes

Big 12 Tournament titles: 0

RPI as of Wednesday: 113

Best win: North Carolina

Why its fans drive 734 miles: It’s not an official Big 12 event without Longhorn representation. Check the by-laws.

The skinny: Texas entered the year with NCAA Tournament expectations. Then Myck Kabongo was suspended for 23 games, and the Longhorns dropped near the bottom of the Big 12 standings. But Kabongo, the team’s best player, is now back. Texas has defeated Iowa State, Oklahoma and Baylor with him in the lineup and ended up passing West Virginia for the No. 7 seed. That gives it both momentum and hope heading into the Big 12 Tournament. Four wins in four days gets it back to the NCAA Tournament. Anything else and its season ends.



Big 12 Tournament titles:

RPI as of Wednesday:

Best win:

Why its fans drive 861 miles:

The skinny:

9. Texas Tech

Record: 10-19, 3-15

Coach: Chris Walker

Big 12 Tournament titles: None

RPI as of Wednesday: 230

Best win: Iowa State

Why its fans drive 695 miles: It’s all interstate, so a lot of time to think about the Bob Knight years.

The skinny: The Red Raiders’ three Big 12 victories came against TCU (twice) and Iowa State. It wasn’t exactly what interim coach Walker was looking for during his one-season audition. But it was expected. Junior Jaye Crockett leads Texas Tech with 11.9 points, but Texas Tech lacks the horses to compete in the Big 12. Junior guard Daylen Robinson, a Kansas City native who starred at Northeast High School, will play in front of his hometown crowd.



Big 12 Tournament titles:

RPI as of Wednesday:

Best win:

Why its fans drive 547 miles:

The skinny:

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