Player of the Week:

Erik Stevenson, G, West Virginia Mountaineers

When the week started WVU was sitting dangerously on the bubble but with two more chances to pick up massive wins against Iowa State and Kansas State. They were must wins for the Mountaineers and Erik Stevenson went out and made sure they got those wins. Stevenson led the charge on Monday night scoring 23 points while also grabbing 2 rebounds in the win in Ames. Saturday Stevenson showed up again scoring 27 points grabbing 4 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists. Stevenson has found another level since the start of February averaging 16.7 points per game and is a big reason West Virginia’s tournament hopes are still alive.

Who’s Hot

Dajuan Harris Jr, G, Kansas Jayhawks

Dajuan Harris continues to be one of the best all-around players in not just the conference but maybe the entire country. He was a crucial piece in the Jayhawks win over Texas Tech on Tuesday scoring 16 points dishing out 5 assists also getting 2 steals. Saturday’s game against Texas was an ugly one for Kansas as they lost on the road by 16. Harris struggled to score only putting up 5 points, but he was great otherwise dishing out 7 assists pulling down 5 rebounds and getting three steals. The loss against Texas was the Jayhawks first in a month a run that has been fueled by Dajuan Harris’s rise as a scorer.

Jaren Holmes, G, Iowa State Cyclones

I was critical of Holmes last week who had seemingly forgotten how to score but he bounced back big time this week. He scored 16 against West Virginia and then really exploded in the win over Baylor going for 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. I’m still very skeptical about this Cyclone team’s ability to make a deep run in March but Holmes finding his scoring touch again will make it a lot easier for them to succeed.

Who’s Not

Gradey Dick, G, Kansas Jayhawks

The Jayhawks star freshman was on a roll down the stretch but has hit a bit of a scoring slump in his last two games. It started against Texas Tech where for the first time all season Dick didn’t hit a field goal with all four of his points coming at the free throw line. The slump carried over to the Texas game where he was shut down all game and was only able to get off 5 shot attempts. They were both threes, so he finished with 6 points but not the performance we’ve become used to seeing from Gradey Dick. Overall, I’m not too worried about Gradey Dick, he is a fantastic player and should step his game up now in the postseason.

Big 12 Tournament Preview

First Round

(8) West Virginia vs (9) Texas Tech

This one is tough to get a read on with Texas Tech coach Mark Adams under investigation and most likely not going to be on the sidelines for this one. West Virginia and Texas Tech split their two regular season meetings and both teams need wins in this one. Both teams play fairly similar styles, but I think West Virginia has just a slight edge over the Red Raiders because of their depth. West Virginia is a team that likes to wear you down and Texas Tech doesn’t get a ton of quality minutes from their bench which will be a problem against a WVU team that gets to the line more than anyone else in the conference. I do think it will be a close game but one that West Virginia will be able to pull out.

(7) Oklahoma State vs (10) Oklahoma

The Cowboys swept the two regular season meetings of this bedlam rivalry, but will they be able to get a third victory over their in-state rival Sooners. Both teams face an uphill climb to make the NCAA Tournament with Oklahoma most likely having to win the Big 12 Tournament to get in and Oklahoma State needing a few more wins to get off of the bubble. Despite not being fully healthy I do think Oklahoma State will get a much needed win in this one. Oklahoma State is so strong defensively I think they will be able to slow down a Sooner offense that really only runs through two players in Grant Sherfield and Tanner Groves.


(4) Baylor vs (5) Iowa State

These two met on the final day of the regular season just a couple days ago and Iowa State absolutely embarrassed Baylor on their home floor. Iowa State dominated the glass out rebounding the Bears 36 to 24. Flo Thamba, Johnathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, and Jalen Bridges are going to be the X-Factors in this one. We know what to expect from Baylor’s guards. They are going to be really good, and they are going to score and push the pace. What you can’t always count on with Baylor is their front court. The talent is there, but they haven’t been consistently good. The other factor in all this is that Iowa State are usually really good at the Big 12 tournament. I think that the Cyclones showed they can exploit the Bears weaknesses successfully and will do it again on Thursday.

(9) West Virginia vs (1) Kansas

This one is massive for West Virginia. While I think they are on the safe side of the bubble regardless a win against the top ranked Jayhawks would mean they will spend Selection Sunday with no worries. These two met a few weeks ago in Lawrence with Kansas edging out WVU by just two points. It was a bit of a sloppy game by both sides with 40 total turnovers in the game, 21 by West Virginia and 19 by Kansas. This is usually part of the Jayhawk’s gameplan who have the second most steals in the conference. Kansas is the most complete team in the country and I think that they won’t turn the ball over again 19 times and while I really like this WVU team I think Kansas should move on to the semifinals.

(2) Texas vs (7) Oklahoma State

The Big 12 has been incredible this year and the first few games of this tournament I think will all be close, but I think this is going to be the first blowout. Texas is really good, and they proved it a couple days ago when they blew out Kansas. They beat Oklahoma State by double digits twice already this season and the Cowboys are still not fully healthy. Texas should be able to flex their muscle and show they are a serious title contender in this one.

(3) Kansas State vs (6) TCU

The nightcap on Thursday will be an awesome game between two top 25 teams looking to improve their seeding in the NCAA Tournament. The teams split their two regular season meetings, but they haven’t played each other in over a month. K State’s win over the Horned Frogs comes with a bit of an asterisk as TCU star Mike Miles Jr was injured and missed the game. In the other meeting which TCU won Miles had a double double with 13 points and 11 assists so him being back is a huge boost for TCU. Unfortunately for TCU center Eddie Lampkin Jr is questionable for this one. Obviously, TCU would love to have Lampkin in the lineup but JaKobe Coles has emerged as a more than capable fill in for Lampkin and I think even without Lampkin TCU will have a strong chance to win this game. I really want to see Jerome Tang and the Wildcats dream season continue but I think this is where it ends for them in Big 12 play.


(5) Iowa State vs (1) Kansas

I’m really really tempted to pick Iowa State here because of how good they usually are in the Big 12 Tournament, but I just can’t bet against Kansas. The two split their regular season meetings with both games being close but I think Kansas just has too much depth for Iowa State to deal with. Iowa State likes to play a physical defensive style of basketball that not a lot of teams can handle but I think Kansas has proved that they can handle that. Kansas also just has the ability to score in a way Iowa State can’t which I think will ultimately be the difference in this one. I think it will come down to the wire and it would not shock me if the Cyclones pull another upset but I think Kansas is just too good.

(2) Texas vs (6) TCU

TCU and Texas are another pair of teams that split their regular season meetings with both games being very tight contests. This game is very hard to predict without knowing the status of Eddie Lampkin. Texas is a better team than TCU but the one edge I think TCU has is they are a stronger team on the glass and Lampkin is a big part of that. I’m not a doctor and I have no inside information here, but I have a feeling that Lampkin is going to be available for this one. Another edge TCU has is that they get to the line a lot and Texas fouls the third most in the conference. Assuming Lampkin plays I’m going with the Horned Frog to pull another upset.


(6) TCU vs (1) Kansas

I think this is where the run of upsets ends for TCU. Kansas has won the Big 12 tournament 12 times which is 7 more than Iowa State who has the second most with 5. This TCU team will go as far as Mike Miles Jr can take them, but Dajuan Harris is a great perimeter defender and should be matched up on him all game. Even when Harris goes to the bench, Joseph Yesufu will most likely replace Harris and is a terrific on ball defender as well. Not to mention the Jayhawks play great help defense with their other guards Gradey dick and Kevin McCullar. Bill Self and the Jayhawks will want to enter the NCAA Tournament on a high note. This team knows how to win and have been red hot winning 7 of their last 8 games and I think they’ll finish off their season with another Big 12 title.

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