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Big 12 Notebook

March 10, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Big 12 Conference Notebook

by Mitch Schneider

Starting this Thursday, the Big 12 will launch its sixth annual conference tournament. And with three of the nation’s top six teams competing (No. 4 Texas, No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 6 Kansas), all eyes will be cast upon Dallas, Texas for much of the week.

This year’s Big 12 Tournament is, once again, rock-chalk full of interesting storylines. Here’s just a sampling of what to watch for at the American Airlines Center this weekend:

• Will Oklahoma repeat as champion, or can Texas capture its first Big 12 title?

• Can OSU bounce back after losing six of its last nine?

• How many NCAA No. 1 seeds will the Big 12 Tournament generate?

• Will Texas Tech string together 2-3 wins in hopes of an improbable NCAA bid?

• Can Colorado pick up its 20th season victory for just the second time in 33 years?

As you can see, there’s much at stake in the Lone Star State this weekend, and it all starts this Thursday with the following first round action.

No. 9 Iowa State (15-12) vs. No. 8 Texas A&M (14-13)

Previous meeting: Texas A&M won 66-54.

Preview: Both Iowa State and Texas A&M limp into Thursday’s first round match-up as both schools are just 3-6 in their last nine games. While A&M won the first and only battle between these two teams earlier this year, a first round upset by the Cyclones wouldn’t be so shocking (ISU recently posted double-digit victories over Missouri and Colorado). Expect a low-scoring, half-court game that will likely be decided at the free throw line.

Match-up to watch: Iowa State’s Jake Sullivan (17.6 PPG, 43% 3-pt.) vs. A&M’s Bernard King (16.9 PPG, 5.7 APG). Both of these guards are capable of lighting up the scoreboard in a myriad of ways.

Next up: Winner plays No. 1 Kansas (24-6) on Friday, March 14.

Mitch’s pick: Iowa State.

No. 12 Nebraska (11-18) vs. No. 5 Missouri (18-9)

Previous meetings: Missouri won both times, 63-56 and 67-50

Preview: While most analysts have all but assured the Tigers a spot in the NCAA Tournament, truthfully, Quin Snyder’s crew is still languishing on the bubble. A win here should clinch a bid for Mizzou, though it won’t be easy. Despite two wins against the Huskers this season, the Tigers have struggled against no-name Nebraska. However, with Missouri needing a victory, expect a more-focused effort by the Tigers on Thursday.

Match-up to watch: Nebraska’s Brennon Clemmons (6.7 PPG, 1.7 SPG) vs. Missouri’s Rickey Paulding (17.1 PPG, 82% FT). If Clemmons can rattle fellow guard Paulding, the Huskers may keep up with Mizzou.

Next up: Winner plays No. 4 Oklahoma State (21-8) on Friday, March 14.

Mitch’s pick: Missouri.

No. 10 Baylor (14-13) vs. No. 7 Texas Tech (16-11)

Previous meetings: Series tied 1-1: Texas Tech won 80-64; Baylor won 74-68.

Preview: Baylor and Tech, two teams playing in front of home crowds in their home state, should provide one of the more intriguing match-ups in the first round. There is much on the line for both schools as a Baylor win will likely secure an NIT bid for the Bears, whereas a Texas Tech win will keep the Red Raiders afloat in their fight to receive an at-large NCAA bid. It will be raining 3’s in this one as Baylor and Tech combined to toss up 76 treys in their two previous meetings.

Match-up to watch: Baylor’s Lawrence Roberts (15.7 PPG, 10.6 RPG) vs. Tech’s Andre Emmett (21.9 PPG – leads Big 12). In their last outing against each other, Roberts poured in 28 in the win, while Emmett went for 26.

Next up: Winner plays No. 2 Texas (22-5) on Friday March 14.

Mitch’s pick: Texas Tech.

No. 11 Kansas State (13-16) vs. No. 6 Colorado (19-10)

Previous meetings: Series tied 1-1: Colorado won 69-63; Kansas State won 62-54.

Preview: Heading into Thursday’s game, both the Wildcats and Buffaloes are surfing very different waves. K-State has dropped six of its last seven and hasn’t broken the 75-point barrier in ten games. Colorado has won seven of ten, with three of those victories coming over ranked opponents. Clearly, the Buffs are rolling, though they have struggled outside of Boulder (5-9). The scoreboard operator won’t be too busy in this one.

Match-up to watch: Kansas State’s Pervis Pasco (10.6 PPG, 7.5 RPG) vs. Colorado’s Stephane Pelle (12.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG). Two of the Big 12’s hardest-working forwards square up in this battle of the P’s.

Next up: Winner plays No. 3 Oklahoma (21-6) on Friday, March 14.

Mitch’s pick: Colorado.


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