Sunday, March 1, 2015


Column: Big 12 could have 5 champs


The final week of the Big 12 men’s basketball season begins with the chance that the conference that markets itself with the slogan “one true champion” could crown five true champions.

In order for Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia to tie for the Big 12 championship with 12-6 conference records, seven outcomes would have to take place, including the right five favorites and the right two underdogs winning.

The seven remaining outcomes, with the home team listed in italics, required for there to be a five-way tie:

Monday: Baylor defeats Texas, Iowa State defeats Oklahoma.

Tuesday: West Virginia defeats Kansas.

Friday: Baylor defeats Texas Tech.

Saturday: West Virginia defeats Oklahoma State, Oklahoma defeats Kansas, Iowa State defeats TCU.

Texas is a 2 1/2-point favorite at home today for a 6 p.m. tipoff vs. streaking Baylor, so a mini-upset would have to take place right off the bat for the possibility of the five co-champs to remain. Two hours later, Oklahoma and Iowa State, favored by 4 1/2 points, tip off in Ames.

For the scenario to remain alive, West Virginia would have to upset revenge-minded Kansas.

Juwan Staten, West Virginia’s best player, missed Saturday’s loss at Baylor because of a left knee injury he suffered last Tuesday vs. Texas.

If the possibility survives through Tuesday, the four remaining games would need to be won by the favorites for Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia being crowned co-champions.

Another way of looking at it, a five-way tie happens only if Kansas finishes 0-2, Oklahoma 1-1 and Baylor, Iowa State and West Virginia 2-0.

The fact that five teams still could lay claim to the Big 12 title with just 11 percent of the schedule remaining portends well for an exciting Big 12 tournament in Sprint Center. The fact that Texas, armed with such good and experienced talent, isn't one of the five speaks to the depth of the loaded Big 12. The Longhorns, 6-10 in conference games, play a ranked opponent, Baylor, for the fifth consecutive game tonight and are seeking their first victory in that stretch.

"Our league, it's hard," Self said last Thursday. "You've got four teams, going into the last eight days of the season, that can all win the league. … It's pretty high drama. Certainly, it's a great league."

Actually, five, but only if Kansas loses twice. Naturally, Self wasn't thinking along those lines.


Suzi Marshall 7 years, 7 months ago

Had the Hawks lost to UT, an interesting multiple tie for first seemed seemed highly possible. See slugging it out and winning like "Rocky" combined with Ellis and Oubre in full alpha mode, there is no realistic possibility the Hawks will lose Tuesday.

Tuesday night we will be celebrating an AFH undefeated season and number 11!!!!

Our guys have got it....Rock Chalk 11.

Joe Ross 7 years, 7 months ago

Winning either of the last two games (WV at home and OU) OR if OU loses either of their last two games (ISU away and Kansas) continues the streak. Have to agree with you: Kansas controls its own destiny and its ours to lose. Interestingly, if OU wins out they are guaranteed at least a share of the Big 12 conference title and winning it outright is still a possibility for them. I wont celebrate until we achieve a win.

Joe Ross 7 years, 7 months ago

The conference tournament will be the best in the nation.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 7 months ago

Being a Kansas Alum, I've always hated the Big 12 Tournament. The Hawk never have much to gain for this ordeal and is a major distraction/energy drain from NCAA Tournament prep.

David Kemp 7 years, 7 months ago

Exactly, playing possibly 3 games 3 days is a big emotional and physical drain with turnaround of possible Thursday game on road.

Bryce Landon 7 years, 7 months ago

The conference tournament is a good idea. If the team gets eliminated in the conference tournament, it serves as one final wake-up call to the team to get themselves right before the NCAA Tournament. The conference tournament is also an opportunity to confirm what you demonstrated in the regular season, that you are the best team in the league.

David Kemp 7 years, 7 months ago

Didn't say it's not a good idea, just a grueling 3 day marathon.

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 7 months ago

The thing I don't like is you win your conference and you are not the automatic qualifier to go into the tournament. 3 games determines that and almost every year some team with a losing record gets in just to get crushed the first game of the tournament. Get rid of that rule because we all know the NCAA created this for money in the pockets of schools, but yet they are supposed to be student athletes. Oh well, it is not going to change. Let's win Tuesday.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 7 months ago

The teams that get in with sub .500 records are typically low major conference teams where the regular season champ would also likely get crushed in the first round.

RJ King 7 years, 7 months ago

I hate the post season tournament. I think it would be better for the team to have an additional 3 non-conference games. Maybe a couple really good mid-majors, and a strong contender from another power conference. The type of teams that we would face in the tournament.

We've already played everyone in our league twice. I like the idea of playing teams with different looks and strengths - zones, good guard combos, speed, height - and learning to make adjustments. The kind of thing you have to do in the tournament.

I agree that a loss in the Big-12 tourney can be a wake up call, but I prefer the idea of using strong non-conference opponents to give a better idea of who we are, and for what we need to prepare.

Page Butler 7 years, 7 months ago

As a Kansas fan I always enjoy the tournament because it is more basketball games I get to watch.

Allison Steen 7 years, 7 months ago

My guess is Iowa State wins tonight, which means we could be celebrating a clinch by 10:30pm. OU is playing their best ball of the year, but I don't see Iowa State dropping a third game and at home. Would love to take care of business and win out, taking the trophy for ourselves.

Allison Steen 7 years, 7 months ago

And I get the points about the Big 12 tournament, but I'm clearly selfish and will take any excuse to extend our season. After March/early April, I'm stuck sleeping through baseball until August.

Robert Brock 7 years, 7 months ago

I cannot watch baseball (I have some self-esteem) so I hit the road and watch 17-and under AAU hoops. Love grassroots basketball.

Len Shaffer 7 years, 7 months ago

What the hell does watching baseball have to do with self-esteem??? As much as I love basketball and watching KU, I also love baseball.

I could argue that if you didn't love the Royals' post-season run last year, there's something wrong with you.

Allison Steen 7 years, 7 months ago

Like the NBA, I like the MLB playoffs. I go to royals games occasionally and follow their progress, but I can't sit down and watch a regular game from start to finish. No no no no no

Mike Riches 7 years, 7 months ago

I agree, I think ISU clinches #11 for us tonight, and then we take it outright tomorrow.

Code_2008 7 years, 7 months ago

I'd almost rather have a 5-way tie just to make the Big 12 committee keep choking on their "One True Champion" crap.

Joe Joseph 7 years, 7 months ago

Gonna be only one champ after Tuesday evening!!


Jim Pendleton 7 years, 7 months ago

I have never understood people's opinions of these so called "draining" games for the Big 12 Tournament. This event has been going on since 1977. Yes there have been a lot of years we have played three straight days. Every other conference does the same thing (except Ivy league), so many teams are in the same boat when NCAA starts, and have played three straight days, and in some cases four straight days.

I was one who actually hated the switch a few years ago from Thurs-Sun to Wed-Sat for the event, more weekday travel for fans. With the tourney in KC every year, not as much of an issue (unless you live further away), and I do understand the extra day off for players who play in conf title games.

I get during the year you aren't playing back to back days, except for early season tourneys, but you do play a lot of Sat Mon days, so that gets players used to that come tourney time.

I used to think as long as most teams who played in conf title games, whether they were Sat or Sun, didn't have to play Thurs, that would be ok. Ironically in 2008, we won the Big 12 Tourney on a Sunday in KC, and played in Omaha the following Thursday AM. Things worked out ok that year as we all remember!

We are fortunate in that first weekend NCAA travel has not been very far in recent years, which helps as well. Prob the worst travel deal I can remember was '06, we won conf tourney in Dallas, came home, and had to travel to 1st Round NCAA in Auburn Hills (Detroit), albeit for a Friday late evening. Lost first game, so you never know.

Assuming UK wins the SEC tourney (their final is on Sun), don't think it will matter for them for first NCAA weekend what day they play, likely non issue for the favorite. The only issue for us, and any other Big 12 team, is this has been a very competitive year, and the conf tourney should be exciting.

Everyone has these tourneys, which they should. Every league should have them or not have them. It is a last chance for bubble & losing teams to get in the big dance, and others a chance to improve their seed. Once the NCAA starts, there are enough off days, that other than an earlier travel day, everyone should get plenty of rest. We are used to this routine and should handle it well. As Roy used to say, if you have to play the conf tourney, you might as well win the dang thing! Rock Chalk!!

Joe Joseph 7 years, 7 months ago

I think too much emphasis is put on travel as well. I'm sure every coach and player would rather not travel far, but KU hasn't exactly proven that a close venue translates to wins. It may even lead to a feeling of complacency.

One thing that certainly has been proven over the years is that teams that do well in conference tournaments are more than capable of doing well in the NCAA tournament. Teams that bounce early in their conference tournaments are also more than capable of doing well in the NCAA tournament.

RJ King 7 years, 7 months ago

I don't like how a team that was not expected to go to the dance, can win it's conference tournament and knock another team out of it.

For instance, Arizona, Utah, and Oregon will still go to the dance regardless of their tournament success. But UCLA, Stanford, even Oregon State or Cal could easily get hot and win 3 games - especially if Arizona gets upset in the 1st or 2nd game.

That would likely push out another team (from another conference) which has fought all season to earn a possible 10th, 11th, 12th seed. It just doesn't seem right.

Michael Lorraine 7 years, 7 months ago

5 champs would actually be kind of funny. In a twisted sort of way.

Mike Riches 7 years, 7 months ago

It's official! Kansas wins at least a share of #11 (thanks to ISU)!!!


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