The Big 12 baseball tournament starts Wednesday in Bricktown. Or is it the Big Eight Tournament?
Oh, there’s no OU-Nebraska or OSU-Missouri games. But neither is there a Texas or a Texas A&M game. Of any kind. The Aggies have left the building, and the Longhorns have played their way out of the this tournament. For 16 years, the Big 12 baseball tournament was spiced with UT and A&M games. They had some cachet, some brand names that gave the tournament a special splash.
Now look at the first-round games. OU-Baylor. Texas Tech-Kansas State. Kansas-West Virginia. TCU-OSU. That doesn’t sound so much like a Big 12 baseball tournament as it does NIT games or Independence Bowls.
But it does make for some interesting baseball. Of the eight teams in the tournament, only one had a losing conference record (Tech, 9-15). OSU and Baylor had a game weathered out earlier in the year; if they had played, and Baylor had won, there would be a four-way tie for second place in the conference. As it is, six of the eight teams in the tournament won either 13 or 12 Big 12 games.
Looks like Kansas State and OSU have secured NCAA Tournament berths. But everyone else is at least shaky with an NCAA bid. Which means the field is playing for its life. OU, West Virginia, Baylor, Kansas, TCU.
It should make for good and dramatic baseball. But the tournament sports a lack of marquee names compared to the Big 12′s heyday.