Big 12 Sports Articles

2018 Big 12 Tournament: Cowboys, Longhorns Take Their Openers

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament-Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State


Wednesday, March 7
Game 1: No. 8 Oklahoma State 71, No. 9 Oklahoma 60
Game 2: No. 7 Texas 68, No. 10 Iowa State 64

Thursday, March 8
Game 3: No. 5 TCU vs. No. 4 Kansas State, 11:30 a.m., ESPN2
Game 4: No. 8 Oklahoma State vs. No. 1 Kansas, 1:30 p.m., ESPN2
Game 5: No. 7 Texas vs. No. 2 Texas Tech, 6 p.m., ESPN2
Game 6: No. 6 Baylor vs. No. 3 West Virginia, 8 p.m., ESPN2

Friday, March 9
Game 7: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 6 p.m., ESPN2
Game 8: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 8 p.m., ESPN2

Saturday, March 10
Game 9: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 5 p.m., ESPN2


Radio note

I have two radio appearances to talk Big 12 basketball on Thursday. First, at 1:20 CST I’ll be on with Ken Miller and Trent Condon on KGBB 1700 AM in Des Moines, Iowa. Then, at 4:15 CST I’ll be on with Brandon Lowe, host of the Brandon Lowe Show, on WBES-AM 950 and Fox 95 in Charleston, West Virginia.

Wednesday’s Results

Oklahoma State 71, Oklahoma 60: Is Oklahoma State’s NCAA bubble starting to get harder to burst? And will Oklahoma feel the pain of sudden omission from the NCAA Tournament?

That’s what Wednesday’s Big 12 Tournament opener felt like by its conclusion. The Cowboys (19-13) had an 11-point lead by halftime and held serve the rest of the game, nailing down their second win of the season over the Sooners (18-13). In fact, OSU can now claim wins in four of its last five games and a three-game winning streak going into tomorrow’s game against Kansas, so it’s a quick turnaround for the Cowboys. Statistically, this was a fairly even game, but the Cowboys were far better than the Sooners behind the arc (OSU shot 42 percent from the 3-point line to OU’s 33 percent) and from the free-throw line (OSU shot 91 percent to OU’s 58 percent). OSU also had a huge advantage on the glass, outrebounding the Sooners 53-27. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a game where one team dominated the glass the way the Cowboys did Wednesday night. And it’s not like the Sooners don’t have interior players.

Jeffrey Carroll had a double-double for OSU (13 points and 13 rebounds), but Cam McGriff led the Cowboys in scoring with 18 points (including four 3-pointers) and pitched in 9 rebounds. Despite fouling out, Kendall Smith scored 11 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 3 assists. Mitchell Solomon also had 9 rebounds.

As for OU, well Trae Young got his (22 points, five 3-pointers and 5 assists), but that was about it for the Sooners. Rashard Odomes pitched in 12 points, but there wasn’t much oomph in this lineup otherwise. The poor shooting didn’t help, and the Sooners had trouble cashing in on 17 OSU turnovers (just 11 points). The Big 12 slate that started with such promise for the Sooners ended with a relative whimper and now they must endure several days of will-they-or-won’t-they make the tournament. But, at the same time, the Sooners had the chance to control their own destiny and they’ve allowed it to slip away the past few weeks (OU lost 8 of its final 10 games). Now they’re really at the mercy of the field. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi believes OU is still a tourney team, but we’ll see how the rest of the week goes.

Oklahoma State faces Kansas on Thursday. We shouldn’t dismiss the possibility that the Cowboys could upend the Jayhawks a third time. You can say “The Jayhawks didn’t care about last Saturday’s game” all you want, but the fact remains that the Cowboys beat Kansas in Lawrence and they don’t look the least bit intimidated by the current Big 12 champs. Plus, the Jayhawks will be down center Udoka Azubuike due to an MCL sprain, and that means we’re likely to see more Silvio De Sousa in the pivot for the Jayhawks (along with Mitch Lightfoot).

You may remember last year that TCU upended Kansas in the second round as well. Guess who the Horned Frogs beat in the first round? Oklahoma. Because this Big 12 season can’t get crazy enough. By the way, Lunardi had OSU as one of the first four out on Wednesday night.

Texas 68, Iowa State 64: Going into this one ESPN’s Joe Lunardi had Texas as a near-lock to make the NCAA field with a victory over Iowa State. But he also projected Texas would miss the NCAA Tournament entirely with a loss.

So, Texas played the role of a desperate team, just as the Longhorns had last Saturday against West Virginia. And, just like that West Virginia game, the Longhorns managed to win. Whether Lunardi’s hypothesis is correct, we will have to wait and see.

On paper, Texas winning made little sense. Iowa State shot better (50 percent to 40 percent) and led for nearly half the game. There were points in the game where the chasm between the two teams, in terms of field-goal percentage, was far wider. Plus, Texas sat Mo Bamba again due to his toe injury. But Texas hung in there, thanks in part to Dylan Osetkowski. The junior forward ended the game with 20 points and 5 rebounds, hitting several big baskets down the stretch. Meanwhile, Jericho Sims, once again, filled in admirably for Bamba, grabbing a career-high 15 rebounds along with 8 points.

But it was Matt Coleman who sealed the game with a jumper at the elbow with 46 seconds left. He had only 8 points in the game, but that jumper gave the Longhorns the four-point lead they needed because they would end up turning the ball over a possession later, giving Iowa State a chance to cut the game to one possession. But the Cyclones couldn’t cash in.

So, Texas gets Texas Tech on Thursday. And, for now, Texas seems to be in the NCAA Tournament no matter what.

Oh, and Kerwin Roach lost a tooth during the game. Well, half a front tooth. A dentist reattached the tooth at halftime. I have no idea how. But Roach wore a mouthpiece the rest of the game.
As for Iowa State, well I think this pretty much sums it up.

You saw the future in full Wednesday night. Lindell Wigginton scored 20 points and grabbed 8 rebounds (he also had 9 turnovers). Cameron Lard scored 14 points and had 5 rebounds. Zoran Talley Jr. added 12 points and 9 rebounds. Solomon Young didn’t play, and neither did Nick Weiler-Babb, but both should return next year. Donovan Jackson scored just 8 points in his final game as a Cyclone.

But the future for ISU is bright. Really bright. They won’t be in the Big 12 cellar long.

Previewing Thursday. The day starts with a sea of purple as K-State hopes to drop the streaking TCU Horned Frogs, followed by the OSU-Kansas game. In the evening session Texas Tech starts a potential Big 12 Tournament title run vs. Texas and West Virginia caps off the night vs. Baylor.

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