Big 12

A look at Thursday’s Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals

Kansas’ Perry Ellis (34) sailed by OSU's Chris Olivier for the reverse earlier this season.
Kansas’ Perry Ellis (34) sailed by OSU's Chris Olivier for the reverse earlier this season. rsugg@kcstar.com

No. 5 Baylor (21-10) vs. No. 4 Texas (20-11)

When: 11:30 a.m.

TV: ESPN2

Baylor

Coach: Scott Drew

Tournament titles: None

RPI rank: 27

Players to watch: F Rico Gathers has been the Big 12’s top rebounder for several seasons, but he will soon switch to football and pursue a career in the NFL as a tight end ... F Taurean Prince was one of the league’s top scorers this season and received all-conference honors.

Pack enough clothes for: A long weekend. Baylor was at its best on the road this season. The Bears can make the final.

Most recent NCAA Tournament: 2015

What they are: An NCAA Tournament regular that ocassionally makes noise in March.

What the rest of the Big 12 sees: An above-average basketball team that is never easy to beat, but rarely wins big.

What they should be: Drew has built a good thing in Waco. It’s hard to imagine the Bears doing much better with another coach.

Texas

Coach: Shaka Smart

Tournament titles: None

RPI rank: 24

Players to watch: G Isaiah Taylor is one of the league’s top point guards, and may turn pro as a junior ... F Cam Ridley has been injured most of the season, but he may return this week.

Pack enough clothes for: One night. Texas may beat Baylor, but it’s hard to envision it getting past Kansas in the semifinals.

Most recent NCAA Tournament: 2015

What they are: A ranked team that recruits well.

What the rest of the Big 12 sees: An underachieving program that has declined steadily since Rick Barnes’ early years.

What they should be: A giant that challenges Kansas for Big 12 championships.

Oklahoma State-Kansas State winner vs. No. 1 Kansas (26-4)

When: 2 p.m.

TV: ESPN2

Kansas

Coach: Bill Self

Tournament titles: 1997-98-99-2006-07-08-10-11-13

RPI: 1

Players to watch: F Perry Ellis has never played better ... G Frank Mason continues to make his case as one of the conference’s top point guards.

Pack enough clothes for: A championship run. If Kansas doesn’t win a trophy this week, it will be a disappointment but won’t mean enough to lose an NCAA No. 1 seed.

Most recent NCAA Tournament: 2015

What they are: The basketball powerhouse of the Big 12.

What the rest of the Big 12 sees: A juggernaut that has won at least a share of 12 consecutive conference championships.

What they should be: The Big 12’s flagship basketball program.

TCU-Texas Tech winner vs. No. 2 West Virginia (24-7)

When: 6 p.m.

TV: ESPNU

West Virginia

Coach: Bob Huggins

Tournament titles: None

RPI rank: 10

Players to watch: G Jaysean Paige is a reserve in name only. The West Virginia guard is the team’s top player, and earned all-conference honors ... F Devin Williams averaged 12.7 points and 9.1 rebounds this season.

Pack enough clothes for: Long games. No one fouls more than West Virginia, which means its games will last well beyond two hours.

Most recent NCAA Tournament: 2015

What they are: A well-coached team with average talent.

What the rest of the Big 12 sees: Fouls, and lots of them. No opposing coach enjoys playing Press Virginia.

What they should be: As long as Bob Huggins is there, West Virginia will be a basketball power.

No. 6 Iowa State (21-10) vs. No. 3 Oklahoma (24-6)

When: 8:30 p.m.

TV: ESPNU

Iowa State

Coach: Steve Prohm

Tournament titles: 2000-14-15

RPI rank: 19

Players to watch: F Georges Niang is one of the toughest players to defend, as he can score on the inside and on the perimeter ... G Monte Morris leads the Big 12 in assists.

Pack enough clothes for: For three days. Iowa State has won this tournament in back-to-back years.

Most recent NCAA Tournament: 2015

What they are: A program with terrific fan support that can be both very good and very bad, depending on the coach.

What the rest of the Big 12 sees: A big home-court advantage at Hilton Coliseum with players recruited by Fred Hoiberg.

What they should be: Hoiberg and Larry Eustachy proved you can win in Ames. Iowa State needs to support Prohm the same way.

Oklahoma

Coach: Lon Kruger

Tournament titles: 2001-02-03

RPI rank: 5

Players to watch: G Buddy Hield is a contender for national Player of the Year ... F Ryan Spangler led the Big 12 in rebounding this season.

Pack enough clothes for: Another classic against Kansas. Everyone wants to see those two teams play a third time.

Most recent NCAA Tournament: 2015

What they are: A program with Final Four potential that often struggles to create fans interest.

What the rest of the Big 12 sees: A team with staying power under Kruger’s guidance.

What they should be: Oklahoma has everything a program needs to win the Big 12. It should regularly challenge Kansas.

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett

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