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Five Thoughts To Preview The 2022 Big 12 Men’s Tournament

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

The Kansas Jayhawks are the No. 1 seed going into the Big 12 Men’s Tournament, which starts on Wednesday and ends on Saturday in Kansas City.

Nine of the league’s 10 teams will be at the event, as Oklahoma State cannot play due to an NCAA ban. The winner of the tournament will earn the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, which starts next week.

Here are our five thoughts entering the Big 12 Tournament.

 

Can Texas Defend its Title?

The Texas Longhorns are the defending Big 12 Tournament champions. But these are not the same Longhorns that won last year’s event. Chris Beard is the new head coach. He took in a ton of transfers. The only remaining contributors to last year’s title run are Andrew Jones, Courtney Ramey, Jase Febres and Brock Cunningham. Winning the Big 12 Tournament last year was supposed to save Shaka Smart’s job. It didn’t. He wisely moved on to Marquette. The Longhorns are headed to the NCAA Tournament. But a title could improve their seeding, just as it did a year ago. To win, the Longhorns need high-level consistency on offense from players like Timmy Allen, because their defense is one of the best units in the country.

The David McCormack Question

A few weeks ago, Kansas head coach Bill Self talked about the possibility of putting forward David McCormack on the bench — not for his play, but to rest the injuries he’s been struggling with all season. The idea was that by resting McCormack for the NCAA Tournament, he could be as healthy as he could be for a national title run. Now, we see if Self’s musings come to reality. Kansas will likely be a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, regardless of what happens in Kansas City. Will Self rest McCormack, use him cautiously or throw caution to the wind and try to win this thing? That decision could heavily influence that side of the bracket.

 

The Bruce Weber Question

Every call for questions for our basketball mailbag has included some variation of the future of Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber. This could be his final Big 12 Tournament, if some fans in Manhattan get their way. Barring a run to the Big 12 Tournament title, the Wildcats will be under-.500 for the third straight season. Wildcats athletic director Gene Taylor said he evaluated Weber’s performance after last season. This season was certainly better than last season. But was it enough to get Weber to next season? Or is change coming to Manhattan? Expect plenty of questions before, during and after K-State’s time in Kansas City.

Baylor’s Unfinished Business

Last year the Bears were the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 Tournament and couldn’t finish the job, falling to Oklahoma State in the semifinals. This year the Bears are the No. 2 seed and, even though they’re short-handed, their chemistry looks as good as it has all season. That’s why they’re my pick to win the title and automatic bid. Now, admittedly, I think the Bears’ side of the bracket is tougher than Kansas’, but the Bears are on the biggest surge of any of the teams on that side of the bracket. It would certainly help if the Bears could get guard LJ Cryer back, but he’s a game-time decision the rest of the season. Even with the seven the Bears have, including Adam Flagler and James Akinjo, they’re playing great together.

 

What About the Rest?

The Iowa State-Texas Tech game could end up being one of the lowest-scoring games of the tournament, if their defenses have anything to say about it. The winner will likely get Baylor, and a Baylor-Tech rematch would be awfully interesting, considering the Red Raiders won both meetings. Oklahoma has a considerable amount to gain from upsetting Baylor in the quarterfinals, especially when it comes to a potential NCAA Tournament berth. The Texas-TCU game kicks off Thursday and, while the Longhorns won both meetings, the Horned Frogs have a team that can upend the Longhorns. The first-round game between Kansas State and West Virginia on Wednesday evening could actually be a lot of fun, and don’t rule out the winner pushing Kansas, especially if Self decides to sit McCormack.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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