Big 12 Tournament - Day 1
(I have no editor again, as always please forgive the poor usage of commas and apostrophes.)
Howdy from Oklahoma City.
The Big 12 tournament got off to a good start today with a couple of pretty intriguing games in the morning session followed up by one very difficult game to watch and one game which saw the surprise team of the day head into the quarterfinals with a full head of steam.
Game 1 Recap
The Oklahoma Sooners came out and made a strong statement to the local fans by taking down the Iowa State Cyclones by a final score of 68-63. The Sooners were led by Nate Carter who had 22 points 9 rebounds and Taylor Griffen who had 11 points and 7 rebounds.
OU was in complete control in the first half and took a 35-23 lead into the break, but Iowa State came out like gangbusters in the second half opening with an 18-9 run to cut the Sooner lead to only 3 points.
The Cyclones, led by 18 points from Mike Taylor, actually took the lead at 56-55 before OU closed the game with their last 8 points coming from the free-throw line to put things on ice.
The Sooners will take on Kansas in tomorrow’s 1st quarterfinal game at 11:30.
Game 2 Recap
The 2:00 game saw Texas Tech come out and take care of business against Colorado by defeating the Buffalos by a final score of 81-71.
The game actually felt much closer than the final margin of 10 points would indicate. Colorado got a strong performance from Dominique Coleman who put up a career-high 25 points and added 8 rebounds.
Texas Tech was anchored by Martin Zeno who scored a very impressive 28 points. Jarrius Jackson did not have a very good day at the office only make 3 of his 10 field goal attempts in scoring 13 points.
Tech was helped substantially by shooting 22 more free-throws than the Buffs. (Thanks Jerry.)
One interesting note from the game is that the loss by Colorado brings to a close the Ricardo Patton era in Boulder; Patton was the last remaining coach from the inaugural season of the Big 12 (1996-1997).
Texas Tech will take on Kansas State tomorrow at 2:00 in a battle of strong-willed coaches (Knight vs. Huggins). I hope the officials will let these two teams play as it should be a very entertaining match-up.
Game 3 Recap
Well, I am not sure what to say about Game 3. I think Kristin Reynolds summed it up best when she simply shook her head and said, “Best game ever…..”
Game 3 saw Oklahoma State knock off Nebraska by a final score of 54-39. No that is not a typo. Yes, the two teams combined for 93 total points on the evening.
Nebraska had a whopping 19 points at halftime on a very impressive 25% shooting from the field. [/sarcasm]
The most amazing thing is that Nebraska did not score more than 1 point until the 10:17 mark of the first half when Aleks Maric hit a basket to cut the OSU lead to 12 points at 15-3. How do you go 9+ minutes and score only 1 point? Seriously.
OSU came out with the best defensive intensity and effort they have had in a long-long time and the results were very evident. This same Nebraska team put up 85 points on the Cowboys only 3 nights ago in Lincoln.
OSU was lead by Mario Boggan’s 11 points and the Cowboys had 6 guys register 6 or more points on what was a very balanced attack.
OSU will take on the Aggies tomorrow at 6:00 (more below).
Game 4 Recap
Well, well, well, what do we have here? The most impressive team on the entire day was the mighty Baylor Bears. Surely you jest? Nope, not me.
Baylor looked like a team that has all the tools necessary to win the league on Thursday night and I would reckon that most Bear fans will tell you that their 97-83 win over Missouri was probably their most impressive win they have had in the Scott Drew era.
No I am not kidding, I am being dead serious, Baylor looked great on Thursday night.
In Baylor’s first tournament win since 2001, they were led by Curtis Jerrells’ career high 31 points and 25 points off the bench from Henry Dugat. Jerrells and Dugat were so hot that they combined to score 28 straight points for Baylor late in the first half through the first part of the second half.
Baylor also shot a sizzling hot (and Big 12 tournament record) 63% on the game. They were actually knocking down shots from all over the court. A team that usually relies heavily on the three point shot, of the Bears’ 34 baskets on the night, only 9 of them were three pointers.
Missouri was lead by 13 points each from Matt Lawrence and Leo Lyons (whoever that is?)
Baylor will take on Texas tomorrow night at 8:30. Sic ‘em Bears.
Other Musings (or Quick Hits if you prefer)
- The Ford Center in downtown Oklahoma City is a great place to watch basketball. In their first ever attempt in hosting the tournament, OKC is putting on a pretty darn good show.
- The best (and by “best” I may mean strangest) sign of the day has to go to a Missouri fan, a lady, who was holding up a tiny (8.5 x 11) sign that simply said “Bears Are Not Green”. I am not sure what that means, but she held it up the entire time in the Tigers’ game against Baylor. Thanks lady, I agree, Bears are not green.
- I have not seen any great t-shirts yet this year, but Kansas fans usually take the cake and there were not too many Jayhawk fans there today. However, they are going to be hard pressed to beat the “Missouri Fans Wear Jean Shorts” shirt from last year in Dallas.
- What happened to Baylor, how did they look so good? [thinking to myself again, sorry]
Quick look at tomorrow’s OSU game
I do not know why, but I am very nervous about tomorrow for some reason.
Perhaps it was the enthusiasm and defensive tenacity that OSU showed tonight. Perhaps it was Sean Sutton saying to his team, “If you guys want to keep playing, this is our chance.” Perhaps it was all the Cowboy Orange in the stadium tonight. Is it the Aggies’ 1-9 all-time record in this event? Perhaps I am just preparing myself just-in-case. Who in the heck knows?
I can not quite put my finger on it; the Aggies are 10 point favorites, is that is enough to make you feel safe?
Man-for-man, the Aggies are a better basketball team that OSU and that should never be more evident that the 19 point average margin of victory in their two meetings this season, but most anyone will tell you that beating a team three times in one season is a tall task, especially in a league as competitive as the Big 12.
I do not want my pessimistic tone in this note to be misinterpreted as a lack of passion or excitement about the game tomorrow, I can not wait to see the Aggies lace ‘em up on a big stage, like I said above though, to me it just stinks for some reason.
OK, fine, let’s go with a close hard fought win and say Aggies take care of business by a final score of 82-77.
One other thing worth pointing out is that OSU super-freshman Obi Muonelo is back for the Cowboys after missing nearly all of the Big 12 season with a leg injury. Muonelo is a threat from multiple spots on the floor and gives the Cowboys some much needed depth off the bench.
All four games tomorrow should be fun to watch – I hope you guys will tune in.
Root like heck for the Aggies tomorrow – a win over OSU could set up a Saturday rubber-match game with our good friends from Austin - - if they can beat the smokin’-hot Baylor Bears of course.