Advertisement

Big 12 tournament will be more compelling with multiple teams capable of winning it all

Advertisement

The Kansas Jayhawks shoot around during an open practice on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at Sprint Center.

The Kansas Jayhawks shoot around during an open practice on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at Sprint Center. by Nick Krug

It has become an annual tradition to mention how wide open the Big 12 tournament is.

Any team, regardless of the seed, is capable of cutting down the nets on the final day of the event. This year is no different, especially with No. 17 Kansas (23-8) listed as the No. 3 seed in the tournament for the first time since 2004.

“It’s been anybody’s ballgame every year,” KU coach Bill Self said. “Every time we come over here, people always say ‘this is the most wide open the field has ever had.’ I’m not sure it wasn’t, but maybe we or Iowa State just played particularly well that weekend.”

But history would suggest that mindset isn’t true, despite how many teams in the field have NCAA tournament aspirations.

Since the Big 12 era began in 1996-97, only four active league members have won enough games to secure a title in this tournament. Kansas leads the way with 11 such crowns, while Iowa State is second with four. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have won three and two, respectively.

The Jayhawks have lost in the championship game two other times, and own a 44-11 record in the league tournament.

“If (Texas) Tech plays great, they can win this tournament easily,” Self said. “If we play our best, I think we can win the tournament. I do think it is more wide open than in years past, but when you really look at it, Tech and K-State won the league by two games. That’s a pretty substantial amount.”

Both the Red Raiders and Wildcats will look to claim their first tourney title this weekend. Most of all, though, they will look to validate their share of the regular season crown, which ended KU’s NCAA-record stretch of 14 consecutive league titles.

“This tournament has always meant something to us, but it’s always been a validation,” Self said. “That’s what Texas Tech and K-State should be saying to each other. Because if it is one of them, they can actually say they are the best team in the league.”

According to TR Brackets, Texas Tech, the No. 2 seed, has the best chance of cutting down the nets with a 32.9 percent winning percentage. Kansas, the No. 3 seed, has the second-highest odds with a 16.64 percent. No. 5 seed Iowa State and No. 1 seed Kansas State are third and fourth on the list at 16.37 percent and 14.51 percent, respectively.

That coupled with the fact that many of the top seeds split the two-game series with each other makes this week’s tournament feel more compelling than usual. TTU split with the other four teams in the top half of the league. Kansas State, Kansas and Iowa State all split with three of the top five seeds.

Perhaps this year, it really is anybody’s ballgame after all.

My prediction: Texas Tech over Iowa State in Big 12 championship game

Comments

Dane Pratt 8 months, 1 week ago

Wonder if Danny is going to lose his job. Wake ended their season yesterday with a dismal 11-20 record. The only thing he has going for himself is his contract runs through 2025 so his buyout would probably be no small sum.

Len Shaffer 8 months, 1 week ago

"Since the Big 12 era began in 1996-97, only four active league members have won enough games to secure a title in this tournament. Kansas leads the way with 11 such crowns, while Iowa State is second with four. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have won three and two, respectively."

That's EXTREMELY shoddy reporting, Shane. If the first tournament was in 1996-97, that makes this the 23rd tournament. And you say that only four teams have won a title. Yet the combined total of titles for those four teams is only 20. Either the conference skipped a couple of years or there are two other teams that have each won a title.

There's really no excuse for such sloppiness from a professional reporter.

Shane Jackson 8 months, 1 week ago

Len, the tournament would have been in 1997, and it is 2019. That means there have been 23 Big 12 tournaments, including this one. So really we only have 22 tourney champs thus far.

Now, notice I clarified "active members" because the Big 12 has lost teams since this tournament began. Missouri won the other two, but I chose to clarify with active members since 60 percent of the current league hasn't won this event and they all had a chance to at the time of this writing.

Len Shaffer 8 months, 1 week ago

Whoops, I missed the "active" part.

Sorry, Shane, that was extremely shoddy reading on my part.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.