Photo courtesy of Rob Ferguson – USA TODAY Sports
Baylor Bears (1 Seed, South)
For the first time in school history the Baylor Bears have locked up a No. 1 seed in the tournament. This Baylor squad lost just two games on the year with a total record of 22-2 helping them to maintain the number two spot in the AP Poll for the majority of the season. This team is great defensively, led by Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Davion Mitchell. They can also get hot from the three-point line while averaging a whopping 85.2 points per game this season.
I believe the Bears have a real shot at winning it all in this tournament. They’re set to take on the No. 16 seed Hartford Hawks in the Round of 64. The game takes place on Friday, March 19 at 2:30 PM (CT). I’d expect Baylor to take this one fairly easily, but this is the great month of March so anything can happen.
Texas Longhorns (3 Seed, East)
The No. 3 Seed Texas Longhorns are the current standing Big 12 Champions of the 2020-2021 season. They are a team that has shown that they can win the big games against the tougher opponents. Saying this, they have also shown a few moments of inconsistency throughout the regular season.
Overall, I still would’t want to see them in the tournament because for the most part they are a huge threat with two potential lottery picks in Kai Jones and Greg Brown. Their opponent, the Abilene Christian wildcats finished with a 23-4 overall record in the regular season. They only faced one top 25 opponent all year in the Texas Tech Red Raiders, and were defeated 44-51.
Despite the great overall record the Wildcats haven’t yet proven they can win against top tier teams, but they kept it close in their game against Texas Tech. It will be interesting to see how this one pans out. The game takes place on Saturday, March 20th at 8:50 PM (CT).
Kansas Jayhawks (3 Seed, West)
The Kansas Jayhawks are coming off an unfortunate event where they had no choice but to forfeit their game against the Texas Longhorns in the Big 12 semifinal due to one of their players contracting Covid-19. This wasn’t your typical dominating season for the Jayhawks but it is definitely impressive that on a “down year” for them they still found a way to lock up a No. 3 seed in the tournament.
This team is solid defensively led by guard, Marcus Garrett. They will be taking on the No. 14 seed East Washington Eagles in the Round of 64. I expect the Jayhawks to win this one with no problem and advance to the round of 32. This game is on Saturday, March 20 at 12:15 PM (CT).
West Virginia Mountaineers (3 Seed, Midwest)
This year’s West Virginia squad is certainly not the same type of team that what we are accustomed to seeing. Coach Bob Huggins’ team generally carries the nickname “Press Virginia,” but that certainly is not the style of play this year. This year’s version is more of an offensive oriented squad that is pretty weak defensively allowing 71.6 points per game.
I personally feel that the No. 3 seed that they were given was a little high considering they lost three of their last four games including getting bounced out of the Big 12 tournament in the quarterfinal against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Nonetheless, the Mountaineers are still a very competitive team that could easily make a run in the tournament. They’ll be taking on the No. 14 Morehead State Eagles on Friday, March 19 at 8:50 PM (CT).
Oklahoma State Cowboys (4 Seed, Midwest)
The Oklahoma State Cowboys were “awarded” the No. 4 seed on selection Sunday. Many believe that this was too low of a seed for them. Their Big 12 counterpart, West Virginia, received a 3 seed like I previously mentioned, even when Oklahoma State won the head-to-head 2-1. The Cowboys are led by future number one overall pick, Cade Cunningham, who took home Big 12 Player of the Year and NCAA Freshman of the Year honors.
We have truly seen this Cowboy team grow up together right before our eyes, with sophomores like Avery Anderson and Kalib Boone stepping up for the Pokes. One concern I do have is that this Cowboy team plays very fast and this ultimately can lead to them turning the ball over a lot. I think this Oklahoma State squad is poised to make a deep run in the tournament led by their star player. The Cowboys are set to take on the No. 13 seed Liberty Flames on Friday, March 19 at 5:25 PM (CT).
Texas Tech Red Raiders (6 Seed, South)
The Texas Tech Red Raiders are coming off a very close loss in a Big 12 tournament quarterfinal matchup versus the Texas Longhorns where they were defeated 66-67. This is actually quite impressive considering the Longhorns ended up winning the tournament.
The Red Raiders are led by star player, Mac McClung, who transferred from Georgetown University this off season. McClung is averaging 15.7 points per game for the Red Raiders this season. The Red Raiders were given a No. 6 seed in the tournament and will be facing the No.11 seed Utah State Utes. This matchup will be taking place Friday, March 19 at 12:45 PM (CT).
Oklahoma Sooners (8 Seed, West)
The Oklahoma Sooners have had a bit of a rough patch in the late part of February and early part of March. They are 1-5 in their last 6 games where their lone win was against an Iowa State team who is at the bottom of the Big 12 regular season standings with an 0-18 conference record.
This has been quite the downfall for the Sooners considering they were once ranked No. 7 in the entire country at one point. The Sooners were named a No. 8 seed and are set to take on a very experienced No. 9 seed Missouri Tigers team being that the Tigers play five seniors and two juniors in their primary eight-man rotation. This matchup will be going down Saturday, March 20 at 6:25 PM (CT).