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Big 12 Tournament: Can OU or OSU make some magic in Kansas City?

Kansas stands at the Big 12 Tournament favorite again, but this year's event could be more competitive than ever.
by John Helsley Published: March 13, 2013
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Reasons to worry

*Of all the teams in the field, first-round foe Baylor may pose the worst matchup for the Cowboys. The Bears' size and athleticism with 7-footer Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson in the post poses a problem, with Philip Jurick somewhat marginalized. The teams split their regular season series, but both games were grinding struggles.

*While the Cowboys have grown up rapidly and impressively this season, this will be a new experience for many. Not so much veteran-led teams like Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Baylor.

Why not OU?

Oklahoma basketball is having its best season since Blake Griffin ran the court for the Sooners.

Their 20-10 overall and 11-7 league records include victories over then-No. 5 Kansas and Oklahoma State, as well as bouncing back from all but one of their losses with a victory. The Sooners are the fourth-best team in the league. They beat every team at least once, except for Kansas State. The Sooners swept Texas Tech, West Virginia and Baylor.

Toward the end of the season, Oklahoma has played some of its best basketball, according to Sooners coach Lon Kruger. The Sooners could continue to shock people in the postseason.

Reasons to believe

*They could be due: In their last nine games they've won two, lost one, won two, lost one, won two and lost one. If history continues to repeat itself, OU's due for back-to-back victories — and maybe they can pull out a third for the championship. OU's longest win streak this season was five.

*What hasn't happened this Big 12 season that's been a surprise? Upsets and unpredictable outcomes are the heartbeat of postseason college hoops.

Reasons to worry

*Could the Sooners repeat the way they played Repeating the way the Sooners played in the first half against TCU during their final regular-season game?

*Cyclones' 3-point dominance: Oklahoma opens the bracket with a game against Iowa State. The teams split their regular season matchups with the Cyclones taking the first by 19 points and Oklahoma winning the second by 17. The Sooners could get stopped by Iowa State's dominance from beyond the arc.

*Say OU beats Iowa State and Kansas beats the winner of West Virginia/Texas Tech. The Jayhawks might have faltered in early February to Oklahoma, when they were in the midst of a three-game losing streak, but they have returned to national prominence … until that Baylor loss that ended their regular season.

by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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