The Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament gets underway this evening, and we've got all the vital information you need for tonight's action.
The Wildcats and Cyclones were evenly matched in their pair of meetings this year; Iowa State won by six at home, K-State by seven. The Wildcats lead the series 136-81; the teams have only met once in the Big 12 Championship, with the Cyclones winning 78-64 in 2004. Before that, the 'Cats won the only two meetings between the schools in the Big 8 tournament, scoring first-round wins in 1977 and 1980.
Iowa State is a stone-cold lock for the NCAA Tournament, and Kansas State is about as close as you can get. Since a loss today wouldn't be a bad loss -- in fact, it would probably help K-State's RPI very slightly since it's on a neutral court -- there's no danger for either team. However, they are both fighting to improve their seeds, and the winner surely would like a shot at a Jayhawk squad deprived of their main post weapon. The Cats won in Manhattan while getting nearly nothing from Marcus Foster, while Iowa State's main threat in both games was Melvin Ejim. If K-State can neutralize the Big 12 Player of the Year, they might be onto something.
Odds: Iowa State is a three-point favorite.
Tipoff: 11:30pm CT at Sprint Center (18,972) in Kansas City, Missouri.
Television: ESPN2, with Brent Musburger and Fran Fraschilla.
Radio: K-State Sports Network, with Wyatt Thompson and Stan Weber; also available on Sirius 94/XM 193.
Kansas leads the series with Oklahoma State 108-55, and they've won four of six meetings in the Big 12 Championship. Bill Self holds a 12-9 record against the Cowboys, while Travis Ford is 3-7 against Kansas. In their two meetings this year, Oklahoma State can actually claim a small advantage: Kansas won by two in Lawrence, while the Cowboys prevailed in Stillwater 72-65.
This game, oddly, may be more important for the Jayhawks than it is for the Pokes. Oklahoma State is surely in the tournament now, but the Jayhawks now have to make a statement regarding their ability to win with Joel Embiid sidelined by a stress fracture in his back. Kansas still need to win the tournament to get a top seed, but a quarterfinal exit could very well see them sliding precipitously down the S-Curve.
Odds: The line hasn't been set yet, because apparently it takes Las Vegas over 12 hours to figure out who's playing in the next round and settle on a pointspread.
Tipoff: Technically 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game Three, most likely around 2:00pm CT at Sprint Center (18,972) in Kansas City, Missouri.
Television: ESPN2, continuing on with Musburger and Fraschilla.
Radio: In Kansas, the game airs on the Jayhawk Radio Network with Bob Davis and Greg Gurley. In Oklahoma, you can join Dave Hunziker and John Holcomb on the Cowboy Radio Network. And, of course, there's Sirius 94/XM 193.
The Sooners swept Baylor this year, earning a two-point win in Waco before delivering a 16-point beatdown in Norman. That gave Oklahoma a 41-10 lead in the all-time series. The two teams have only met once in the Big 12 Championship, a Sooner win in 2009.
Baylor has accomplished what was arguably their primary goal this weekend -- not losing to TCU. As more than one person has noted, Baylor didn't need to win to secure their bid; they needed to not lose to avoid blowing it. Oklahoma, however, is on a mission. They dominated their side of the bracket this year, and with Embiid out the Sooners feel they have the best chance of anyone to walk away with the championship on Sunday. Acknowledging that all eight teams remaining in the field are more than capable of winning the title, Oklahoma's argument is not without merit.
Odds: This line hasn't been set yet either.
Tipoff: 6:00pm CT at Sprint Center (18,972) in Kansas City, Missouri.
Television: With the evening session, coverage switches to the Big 12 Network, with Dave Armstrong and Reid Gettys, who are joined by Holly Rowe. The game is also available on ESPN FullCourt (subject to blackout).
Radio:and Pat Nunley have the Baylor call on ESPN Central Texas, while Toby Rowland and Mike Houck broadcast on the Sooner Radio Network in Oklahoma. One of the two pairs will be on Sirius 94/XM 193.
Texas leads the all-time series 4-3, including a win in the Sweet 16 in 2006. This is their first Big 12 Championship meeting. The Longhorns took that series lead this year, on the strength of a sweep over the Mountaineers. The Longhorns claimed an 11-point win in Morgantown, then went home and beat West Virginia by 17.
And here is where things get interesting. Texas is just trying to bolster its resume, but West Virginia desperately needs to make a run to have any hope of making it to the NCAA Tournament -- and even at that, they arguably still need to win the whole thing and grab the automatic bid. But after a fairly horrid non-conference experience, the Mountaineers have been right there with the other contenders in the Big 12, and winning the tournament isn't even remotely out of the realm of possibility.
Odds: Texas is a 2-point favorite.
Tipoff: Technically 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game Five, most likely around 8:30pm CT at Sprint Center (18,972) in Kansas City, Missouri.
Television: Big 12 Network, again with Dave Armstrong, Reid Gettys, and Holly Rowe; also on ESPN FullCourt (subject to blackout).
Radio: All over Texas, you can tune into the Longhorn Sports Network and listen to Craig Way and Eddie Oran. If you're in West Virginia, western Maryland, or Pittsburgh, Tony Caridi and Jay Jacobs take to the airwaves on the Mountaineer Sports Network. Satellite listeners can, again, tune to Sirius 94/XM 193.
After each game, live postgame will be available via Big 12 Sports.