The Big 12 tournament in Kansas City starts today and VTM will have previews and game updates for all the basketball junkies out there. Consider each daily post an open thread to comment away about the games. Seth will have a separate gameday thread for our Red Raiders.
Official Site – BRACKET
Game Time - 6 PM
Previous Meetings – February 8th in Lubbock Texas Tech won 65-61, February 22nd in Stillwater Oklahoma State won 84-62.
Preview – Oklahoma State has been on a tear to end the regular season. After losing 7 straight games they turned on a switch and won 4 of their last 5 games. Their only loss in that stretch came at the hands of a really good Iowa State team. If you can believe it, they are picked as odds to win the ENTIRE Big 12 tournament at 5/1 (courtesy of Bovada). That is the same odds as Oklahoma and Iowa State, only Kansas has better at 3/2.
Texas Tech just came off an incredible win against Texas in Lubbock to end a 6 game losing streak. It was an end to a sliding record that came at the right time against the right team. The fans and players of Texas Tech are pumped about the win. The program is finally on the right path to success. Even if Bovada has Texas Tech as 250/1 odds of winning the Big 12 tournament; that’s not going to rain on any Red Raiders parade.
Stopping Marcus Smart is not going to happen, but slowing him down and frustrating him while on defense is what we need to do. I think Rob Turner needs to be a shadow to Smart all game and be a bug in his ear. I think Turner may be the only player that has quick enough feet to stay in front of Smart without picking up a foul. Turner has to be cognizant that Smart will dive for some fouls, but that cannot stop him from trying to steal the ball one-on-one.
The rest of the backcourt for OSU needs to be slowed down as well. Phil Forte will bomb shots from all over the court if you let him, and Markel Brown can score from the outside-in. I would like to see our backcourt perimeter defense really step up and play tough this game. Keeping a low score from the potent offense of OSU is a key to Tech winning this game.
The frontcourt of Le’Bryan Nash and Kamari Murphy is good, but we have the advantage. Nash is NBA caliber talent, but he is inconsistent and can have off games. He reminds me a lot of Jordan Tolbert in the same respect that he can be a beast in the game when he wants to be. Overall though, I actually think we will have a nice time against their frontcourt. We need to bang for the boards, and use our scoring in the paint to stick around. Tech needs a good game offensively out of Jordan Tolbert and Dejan Kravic if we are going to have a chance to win. One of the plans for our offense should be to take the ball inside as often as possible.
Jaye Crockett is coming off his monster game against UT. He needs to keep on riding that wave and go for another big day in the stats category. We will need others to step up on offense and get some points that might not be considered one of the regular offensive threats on the team. I'm looking at you Toddrick Gotcher. Big shots at critical times will be important in this game. If the wheels fall off and we let OSU go on a scoring frenzy then watch out. We may never get back in the game. Don’t let it happen. As long as we can contain the Cowboys offense, I think we can hang with these guys for the entire game. Wreck ‘em Tech!
Final – OSU 80 - TTU 62… OSU went on a run in the first half that was not able to be overcame by the Red Raiders. Jaye Crockett went down with a knee injury in the 1st, but came back in the 2nd half to try his best and help cut into the lead. He finished the game with 20 points and 7 rebounds. He ends his Texas Tech career as one of the best players in our recent history. Dejan Kravic also went out with a bang having 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Offense had always been a struggle with Texas Tech this year and it continued in this game. The Cowboys defense gave Tech trouble with full and half court pressure leading to hurried shots and turnovers. It was hard for the Red Raiders to get the boards and they gave up a lot of second chance opportunities. Also, the stars on OSU were not contained and Tech allowed 18 points to Smart, 20 to Brown, and 14 to Forte.
The season was encouraging to the fact that we will keep getting better. Tubby Smith and his staff have brought the program a long way in only one season. We will see great things as this basketball team keeps moving forward. I cannot wait to see what is in our future. Wreck ‘em Tech!
Official Site - BOX SCORE
Game Time - 8:30 PM
Previous Meetings – January 11th in Waco Baylor won 88-62, February 12th in Fort Worth Baylor won 91-58.
Preview – Baylor is another team that was fighting for an NCAA tournament bid while sitting on the bubble for the last half of conference play. They found whatever it was that they were missing and won 7 of their remaining 8 games of the regular season. With lackluster performances in the first half of Big 12 games it made them come out as the #7 seed in the tourney. But, maybe that was a blessing because they now get to take on TCU in the opening round.
TCU was plagued by injuries all season long. After going winless in the Big 12 for the regular season it is no surprise that they want to get this year over with and start looking forward to rebuilding for next season. Junior guard Kyan Anderson has been the one bright spot for these guys averaging 17 ppg, 2.5 rpg, and 4.4 apg. Karviar Shephard has shown flashes of talent throughout the year as a freshman center. Nothing else has seemed to go right for TCU as a team.
This game should be over within the first half of play. Baylor is too talented to lose this game. For Baylor it has worked out well putting Brady Heslip into a permanent starting role for the last part of the season. Cory Jefferson is always a monster, and Kenny Chery has been on fire lately. I think that it will take those guys along with Isaiah Austin a short amount of time to get a big lead in the game. After that you will probably see the reserves come in to close out the rest of the game. Baylor starters will need to get their rest to save up energy for a strong run they are trying to make in the tourney.
It would be an absolute miracle if TCU wins this game, and the biggest upset in Big 12 tournament history. Many conference fans will be pulling for the TCU miraculous upset. I don’t expect it to happen, but when Scott Drew is coaching the other team you never really know what to expect.
Final – Baylor 76 – TCU 68… The Bears had a nice lead throughout most of the game, but had their big lead dwindle with about 3 minutes left in the game. TCU came back and was only down 6 points with a few minutes remaining. The comeback wasn’t enough as Baylor kept having an answer for every TCU basket in the final minutes.
Some of the TCU players stepped up in the game; Shepherd had 19 points and Anderson had 17. But, the frontcourt of Austin and Jefferson was too much. Jefferson ended the game with a double-double 20 points and 10 rebounds.