2022 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament Preview

Story posted March 8, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Thomas English

The month of March is finally here, which means an end to the regular season of college basketball and the beginning of postseason play.

Before teams can turn their focus to March Madness, they must punch their ticket in their respective conference tournaments.

One conference that will have everyone on their toes is the Big 12. The tournament will begin on Wednesday, Mar. 9, and conclude with the championship game on Saturday, March 12.

Here’s a look at some headlines going into the tournament.

Kansas secures No. 1 seed

The Kansas Jayhawks were able to beat out Baylor with a win over Texas Tech earlier in the season to win the tiebreaker and secure the top spot in the conference heading into the tournament.

The Jayhawks were able to end the regular season on a high note after losing games to No. 3 Baylor and TCU. Kansas avenged their loss against TCU with a 72-68 win in their next matchup and followed the win with another against No. 21 Texas.

Kansas is led by guard Ochai Agbaji who averages 19.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. The 6 foot 5 senior has done it all for Kansas this season and is the favorite to win Big 12 Player of the Year.

The Jayhawks will look to ride Agbaji with hopes of winning the conference tournament and securing a top seed in the March Madness tournament.

Reigning champs stay hot

The Baylor Bears have been plagued by injuries to their top players for a majority of the season, but are finding their stride at just the right time. They will be the No. 2 seed after losing the tiebreaker with Kansas.

The reigning champs are carrying a five-game winning streak heading into the conference tournament. Two of those wins came against No. 5 Kansas and No. 21 Texas. Their most recent win was a 75-68 victory over Iowa State.

The Bears are guard-heavy as they have three guards averaging over 13 points per game. These players include Adam Flagler at 13.8, LJ Cryer at 13.5 and James Akinjo at 13.3. Flagler has been banged up this season and Cryer has played one game since Jan. 25 after suffering a foot injury.

Baylor will rely on excellent defense and high-efficiency scoring to carry them to the conference title as they attempt to go back-to-back in the March Madness tournament.

Sneaky contenders for the crown

The top two favorites are Baylor and Kansas, but both teams have fallen to some other opponents within the Big 12. These opponents could shake up the conference tournament results if they can knock off one of Baylor or Kansas.

No. 12 Texas Tech was able to sweep the series against Baylor and notched a win against Kansas earlier in the season. The Red Raiders have played tremendous defense all season allowing just 60.7 points per game. Texas Tech could be in play for a big upset win.

No. 21 Texas has been an intriguing team this season. Coach Chris Beard led the Longhorns to a win over Kansas earlier this season but was unable to top Baylor in either contest. Fortunately, the Longhorns won’t have to see Baylor until the championship game.

Texas could pose a threat to the Jayhawks and Bears but are struggling as of late as it ended its regular season with losses to Kansas and Baylor themselves.

The last team that could ruin the party would be TCU. The Horned Frogs have recent wins over Kansas and Texas Tech and are poised for another upset. Keep an eye on TCU in the tournament.

The Big 12 tournament should be an exciting one and fans should gear up for a wild ride next week.

Thomas English is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email tfe5082@psu.edu.