Big XII: Wrapping It All Up From OKC

By Jean Neuberger - March 11, 2007


We are finishing things up here, as the press is busy putting the last touches on articles in the Media Room as we wrap up coverage of the 2007 Big XII Tournament, won by Kansas today in overtime, 89-84 over Texas.

As the Selection Show began, the media room got quiet, with some ooohs and ahhs from the press and volunteers who were gathered inside. As for my opinion, I have the following....

I'm shocked that the Big XII didn't get a fifth team, and I'm even more surprised that the team that got left out was Kansas State. No disrespect to Texas Tech, but let's face it, the Wildcats went against them head-to-head and absolutely clocked the Red Raiders. K-State was fourth in the league, had over 20 wins, and when critics say they didn't beat the 'high-caliber opponent', well, they beat Tech didn't they? I agree with Bill Self on this one; K-State not getting in is a total travesty.

SIDE NOTE: I'm further enraged at Missouri State not getting a bid, and the ACC and Pac-10 getting seven and six bids, respectively, is ridiculous. Do we really think that the a team that loses more conference games than it won (tournament games included)...deserves a NCAA bid? I certainly don't. Secondly, what was wrong with Missouri State? Over 20 wins, a Top 40 RPI, a win over Wisconsin to their credit....why is Stanford in and Missouri State out? Why is Georgia Tech in and Missouri State out? The ACC and Pac-10 got too much love in my book.

Kansas is for real, no doubt about it. The Jayhawks have a lot of weapons, and they've got a lot of great talent on the floor, no matter who's playing. The biggest impression though that the Jayhawks left on me was their composure, something they've been lacking over the last two years. Tonight, down 22 points, the Jayhawks clawed back and found a way to win. Despite foul troubles, droughts, and Kevin Durant, Kansas managed to win the Big XII regular season, and the Big XII Tournament as well. Last year, Kansas was full of freshman and sophomores, and their lack of composure in big games showed in losing to Bradley in the first round. This year, those players are older, wiser, and greatly composed, so I don't expect the Jayhawks to leave the Big Dance anytime soon.

As for Texas, they'll go as far as Durant takes them. Give credit to A.J. Abrams, who had a tremendous game today. But the matter of fact is that Texas relies almost completely on Durant to win games for them. When the Longhorns face a team that has some size in the frontcourt (like Kansas did), the 'Horns will be a target for an upset. Texas must find ways during the Big Dance to set up other players for scoring options and taking the pressure (and the swarming defense) off of Durant. No doubt, Texas is good, but they still will only be carried so far, as long as Durant is scoring close to half of their points.

Texas A&M runs on Acie Law, and he's a talented guard and floor general for Billy Gillispie. The biggest fear on the Aggies is their depth. Gillispie played his starters almost the entire game against OSU, and when it came down to the stretch, the Cowboys ran past the tired Aggies to get the upset win. A&M has five really talented starters who have won a lot of games for them, but they must, must find some depth if they want to go far in this tournament.

As for Texas Tech, they looked awful against Kansas State, and I doubt they'll make it too far in the tournament. Bob Knight is a great coach who will get a lot from his team, but Tech needs to score more, and they looked sloppy trying to run with Kansas State. I think Boston College could create some problems for the Raiders, and if Tech wins that one, they'll run into even more trouble against a quick team like Georgetown.

Here's the final awards for the tournament.

TEAM: Kansas
They won...what can you say?

PLAYER: Kevin Durant, Texas
He was awesome, what can you say?!

QUOTE: Bill Self, Kansas (from the quarterfinals)
"If that was Coach Knight, he'd have left by now"...referring to the mics going bad during the press conference

MASCOT: Kansas
Big Jay was big time...the other mascots can learn from him.

BAND: Kansas
Again, the most lively and fun band in the Big XII, by far.

CHEER/POM: Oklahoma
Their dance to the Oklahoma! musical theme song drew tens of thousands to their feet

And with that, we conclude coverage of the 2007 Big XII Tournament. I'd like to thank everyone here in OKC for what was an enjoyable time here at the Ford Center. CSTV.com is THE place for March Madness, and we'll be watching all these Big XII teams, as well as the rest of the 65, as we find our college basketball national champion. For now though, we bid you good night from Oklahoma City, where the Kansas Jayhawks have claimed the 2007 Big XII Championship!

Posted by Jean Neuberger at 08:28 PM on March 11, 2007
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