After a brief one-year hiatus from the top spot, Kansas has once again won the Big 12 Conference regular-season title. Baylor gave them a run for their money before faltering down the stretch losing three of four. With the rest of the Big 12 Conference beating up on each other it should be no surprise if we get the much-anticipated round three of Kansas versus Baylor.
Outside of Kansas and Baylor, most of the matchups this week in Kansas City could go either way. Every team in this conference has been inconsistent since conference play started. All of this sets up for a fun time per usual in the Sprint Center hopefully culminating in another awesome top-five matchup on Saturday night.
Let’s breakdown some potential matchups, give a championship prediction and who we could see winning MVP of the weekend.
— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) March 8, 2020
Thursday should be a fun full day of basketball with Baylor possibly getting a rematch with TCU who recently upset them. The Oklahoma and West Virginia matchup could go either way even with the Sooners sweeping the season series. West Virginia just ran Baylor out of the gym and could carry that momentum into Kansas City.
Texas is a team that has shown to be Jekyll and Hyde under Shaka Smart this year. They recently won five straight to get back on the right side of the bubble before losing by 22 to Oklahoma State in their last game on senior night. Interestingly enough Texas Tech was one of the teams Texas beat during their five-game winning streak and it came on the road. It will be interesting to see which Texas team shows up this week.
As we advance on to the semifinals we could get another Kansas versus Texas Tech matchup which brought two great games this year. Both games came down to the final seconds with the Jayhawks escaping both times. Even with their recent struggles, I expect Baylor to escape to the championship game. Kansas has talked of resting some of their top guys who have had some lingering injuries. Bill Self will be looking to limit his top guys minutes to around 30 or so minutes per game but that may prove difficult once the games begin. Although a game versus Texas Tech could be challenging I do expect the Jayhawks current winning streak to continue.
Championship Game Prediction
We get the game everyone in the country has wanted since part two happened in Waco a few weeks back. Baylor has scuffled a bit the last few weeks starting with that loss at home to Kansas. It’s almost if that loss set them back confidence-wise and they are struggling to regain that form they had previously. This game would be as good as any to get back to the things that allowed them to win 23-straight games. Kansas made some nice adjustments in the game in Waco to counteract the defensive gameplan Baylor coach Scott Drew implemented in the first matchup. Watching how Drew possibly responds to the Jayhawks setting more screens in the middle of the floor will be fun. Both teams have relied on their defense all year and I would expect nothing less than another low scoring grind-it-out game. Kansas seems to have found another gear right now and is playing better than just about anyone in the country. It’s hard to pick against them at the moment and I’m not about to.
Big-12 Tournament MVP
If Kansas wins the Big 12 Conference Tournament it’s going to be because of three guys, like it has all season. Marcus Garrett won’t score enough to win the award so it really comes down to Devon Dotson or recently named Big 12 Player of the Year Udoka Azubuike. Dotson has scored in single figures just once in conference play, a game he didn’t finish versus Baylor. He’s been remarkably consistent all year long and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him the 20-point mark in a couple of games in Kansas City this week. While Azubuike has been as dominant as any big in the country the last month, my money is on Dotson to bring home this award if the Jayhawks do in fact win this tournament.