Here is everything you need to know heading into the Big 12 Tournament match up between Oklahoma State and Baylor.
No. 5 Oklahoma State (19-7) vs. No. 1 Baylor (22-1), 5:30 p.m. CT, Friday
Season series (Baylor won 2-0): Baylor def. Oklahoma State, 81-66, in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on Jan. 23; Baylor def. Oklahoma State, 81-70, in Waco, Texas, on March 4.
Winner gets: a berth in Saturday’s Big 12 Championship game at 5 p.m.
Big 12 Tournament results: Oklahoma State: def. West Virginia, 72-69; Baylor: def. Kansas State, 74-68.
Projected starting lineups
Oklahoma State: F Kalib Boone, G Bryce Williams, G Cade Cunningham, G Bryce Williams, G Avery Anderson III.
Baylor: F Flo Thamba, G Jared Butler, G Davion Mitchell, G MaCio Teague, G Mark Vital.
Player to watch
Oklahoma State: Anderson. You may be watching a star in the making for next season in Stillwater. Yes, this Oklahoma State team is incredibly young and returning a lot of great pieces next year, which is good news in the post-Cade Cunningham era. But Anderson is staking his claim to being the alpha dog in this offense next year. He scored 17 points against West Virginia, along with grabbing four rebounds, dishing out three assists and picking off two passes. This was less than a week after he dominated West Virginia in Morgantown for 31 points. Since the Big 12-SEC Challenge game against Arkansas on Jan. 30, Anderson has scored double figures in eight of the last 12 games.
Baylor: Mitchell: The newly-crowned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year dropped 23 points on Kansas State on Thursday. He’s more than a defensive player. He connected on four 3-pointers in the win over Kansas State. He’s one of the most improved shooters in the Big 12 this season, shooting more than 40 percent from the 3-point line this season. He a better driver to the basket and he’s as confident as he’s ever been as a player. Oh, and just to burnish those defensive credentials, he had a team-high three steals against the Wildcats.
Number to know
Oklahoma State: 8. This is the Cowboys’ eighth trip to the Big 12 Tournament semifinals. The Cowboys are 3-4 in seven previous semifinal appearances.
Baylor: 2016. That’s the last time the Bears made it to the Big 12 Tournament semifinals. The Bears lost in the quarterfinals in 2017, 2018 and 2019, before the 2020 Tournament was canceled.
Who wins?: I’ll take Baylor, though this second matchup with Oklahoma State has a chance to be absolutely brilliant. Oklahoma State is just plain hot right now, having won seven of their last eight games. Baylor, of course, is the one loss in that span. But the Cowboys had it down to a one-possession game late with Baylor last week. Still, the Bears have too many mature weapons on both ends of the floor to throw at Oklahoma State. People will look at the close win over Kansas State without pouring over the box score. The Bears shot 53 percent from the floor, 40 percent from the 3 and 90 percent from the foul line. The Bears just need to clean up the turnovers — they had 21. Oklahoma State is going to keep this close and probably have the lead late. But I like the Bears to find a way to win over one of the hottest teams in the nation.
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