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March 7, 2012
The Big 12 tournament opens with two games on Wednesday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. PowerMizzou.com will be on hand to provide full coverage of the tourney as long as the Tigers stay alive. We take a quick look at each team in the field and analyze the chances of all 12 walking away with the trophy. Teams are listed in order of league finish.
Current Record: 26-5
Big 12 record: 16-2
Key Player: Thomas Robinson was the Big 12 player of the year, but the key to the Jayhawks is Tyshawn Taylor. He played at an all-American level for most of the Big 12 season and was the biggest reasons the Hawks won the league again.
Why they could win: Because they have two of the top four players (at least) in the entire tournament. Beyond Taylor and Robinson, the Jayhawks aren't as good as years past, but those two give Kansas an edge in every game.
Why they could exit early: If early is the semifinals, the Jayhawks could lose then if Taylor is turning it over or Robinson is in foul trouble. Kansas needs those two to play well to beat the better teams in the league and the country.
It's a good weekend if...: Kansas wins it. Nothing else is a success for the No. 1 seed.
Postseason Seed: Likely a one seed, but it could fall to a two if Missouri wins the tournament..
Current Record: 27-4
Big 12 record: 14-4
Key Player: Missouri's strength is that they have not really had one player on whom they rely. But Phil Pressey is the guy that drives the show. When he's playing well and distributing the ball to shooters, Missouri can look unguardable. If he falls in love with his shot and it isn't falling, the Tigers are beatable.
Why they could win: Because they were seconds away from sweeping Kansas and went 5-1 against the top four teams in the league. Also, Kansas State, the only team the Tigers haven't beaten, is on the other side of the bracket.
Why they could exit early: They're not deep and if jump shots aren't falling they're beatable. In addition, the Tigers don't have a guy who can match up with Iowa State's Royce White, who they are slated to see in the semifinals.
It's a good weekend if...: The Tigers win the tournament. That's the expectation of this team and that's what has to happen for Missouri to have any shot at a one seed.
Postseason Seed: A two is likely, but a tournament title could net a one seed.
Current Record: 22-9
Big 12 record: 12-6
Key Player: Royce White is the toughest matchup and perhaps the best player in the league. He can carry the Clones a long way in the postseason.
Why they could win: Because White is capable of winning them three games. They've beaten Baylor and Kansas once and pushed Missouri in both games.
Why they could exit early: They're not experienced in pressure packed post-season games and they're facing a team in round one that may have to win to play in the NCAA Tournament.
It's a good weekend if...: It's a decent weekend if they beat Texas in the first round. But to be a good weekend, ISU needs to make the title game.
Postseason Seed: Most people have Iowa State right around an 8 seed at this point. A win over Texas should push them off that line and a win over Missouri in round two could get them up as high as a 6. Winning the tournament would assure it.
Current Record: 25-6
Big 12 record: 12-6
Key Player: Perry Jones III is regarded as a potential NBA lottery pick and one of the nation's most talented players. But in Baylor's biggest games, he has been virtually invisible. If Jones delivers on the potential this weekend, Baylor can go a long way.
Why they could win: They're probably the most talented team in the league. But the performance hasn't always matched the potential.
Why they could exit early: Baylor got to 12-6 by beating the bottom half of the Big 12. The Bears were 10-0 against the bottom five teams in the league and 2-6 against the top four.
It's a good weekend if...: The Bears make it to the final. The simple fact is this team is good enough to do that. A loss on Thursday or Friday will continue a season-long trend of winning games they should win, but losing when they play good teams.
Postseason Seed: A tournament title could push Baylor back up to a 3, and just getting to the final might do it. A loss against Kansas State would leave them no better than a five in all likelihood.
Current Record: 21-9
Big 12 record: 10-8
Key Player: Rodney McGruder had an argument for first-team all-Big 12 honors. Jamar Samuels is capable of being very good, but he disappears at times. But Kansas State is playing it's best basketball of the season because Angel Rodriguez has been very good at the point the last few weeks.
Why they could win: They're great defensively. If they can beat Baylor and upset Kansas in the semis, the Cats have beaten Missouri twice and will like their chances against the Tigers.
Why they could exit early: Because they are the five seed and aren't supposed to win a game here. If Baylor plays an A game, the Cats could be done by 2 o'clock on Thursday.
It's a good weekend if...: Kansas State beats Baylor and acquits itself well in the semis against Kansas. A win would be great, but can't be expected.
Postseason Seed: A win over Baylor should push the Cats off the dreaded 8-9 line and up to a seven seed. Beating Kansas could have them as a 6 and winning the tournament would probably make them a 5.
Current Record: 19-12
Big 12 record: 9-9
Key Player: Even more than Royce White, J'Covan Brown determines how good his team can be. Brown was the Big 12's leading scorer and he when he starts to make shots, he can light it up.
Why they could win: Winning the tournament is extremely unlikely. Texas was just 1-7 against the top four teams in the league. They can beat ISU, but much beyond that would be surprising.
Why they could exit early: They're the six seed. They're supposed to lose on day one.
It's a good weekend if...: Texas beats Iowa State, probably locking up a tournament bid.
Postseason Seed: Win one and Texas is in as an 11 or 12. Lose to ISU and you're hoping there are no other bubble teams who do well this week.
Current Record: 14-17
Big 12 record: 7-11
Key Player: With injuries ravaging the roster, the Cowboys will win exactly as many games as Keiton Page can win for them.
Why they could win: They can't.
Why they could exit early: They're the seven seed and don't even have the same roster that got them that high.
It's a good weekend if...: The Pokes win one game. Any more than that is very unlikely.
Postseason Seed: OSU is headed playing its final games unless the Pokes win the tournament.
Current Record: 13-17
Big 12 record: 4-14
Key Player: Khris Middleton was a pre-season all-Big 12 pick who had his season destroyed by injuries. He showed signs late in the year of being the player he was a year ago. If he can catch fire, the Aggies can be dangerous.
Why they could win: They probably can't win, but they put a scare into Kansas in College Station and actually led the Jayhawks at halftime in Lawrence.
Why they could exit early: They're the eight seed. They're expected to win one game and give Kansas a nice scrimmage to get ready for the semis.
It's a good weekend if...: A&M makes the semifinals. Maybe that's unfair for an eight seed, but this team was expected to contend for the league title. Winning one game and going home isn't a success.
Postseason Seed: Like OSU, A&M has to win the tournament to keep playing.
Current Record: 15-15
Big 12 record: 5-13
Key Player: Mississippi State transfer Romero Osby is one of the league's better rebounders and had a career day against A&M in the regular season finale.
Why they could win: There is no scenario where we can see this happening.
Why they could exit early: They were 5-13. No one will be surprised if they're out by the time the top six even show up.
It's a good weekend if...: They can beat A&M and build for next year.
Postseason Hopes: They have to make the semifinal to be NIT eligible and it's fairly doubtful then.
Current Record: 8-22
Big 12 record: 1-17
Key Player: On a freshman dominated team, Jordan Tolbert is the best of the bunch.
Why they could win: They can't. They won one game in the Big 12. They're not winning four this week.
Why they could exit early: They won one game in the Big 12.
It's a good weekend if...: Tech can beat Oklahoma State on Wednesday. The Pokes are hurt by injuries and the Red Raiders have continued to play hard.
Postseason Hopes: Win it all or there are none.
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