Skinny: Around here, they chattered early in the week about the prospect of nine NCAA tournament bids for a Big 12 Conference that has but a threadbare 10 teams, which would make for an otherworldly bid percentage of — hold on just a second — 90. It also could make you feel sorry for Iowa State, which has an excellent program, extraordinary fans, a harrowing home gym and a 13-18 record that landed it unkindly in 10th this slog around.
It’s frankly unpleasant to have to feel sorry for Iowa State, but it appears the sentiment has wound up misplaced anyway. As the Big 12 ended its months of fracas and inconvenient familiarity with its bubble teams failing to menace and leaving a fine tournament final between Kansas and West Virginia — with Kansas winning, 81-70, here Saturday night — the bracket professors in this weird land seem to grant the Big 12 around seven potential bids. — Chuck Culpepper (Read more)
Skinny: Daxter Miles Jr. had 22 points for West Virginia, and Niem Stevenson’s half-court heave at the buzzer bounced harmlessly off the iron, giving the No. 18 Mountaineers a 66-63 win over No. 14 Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals on Friday night. Jevon Carter added 17 points and Sagaba Konate had 11 for the third-seeded Mountaineers (24-9), who advance to their third straight title game. They’ll face No. 9 Kansas on Saturday night. Miles had a chance to clinch the game from the foul line with 6 seconds left, but he only made the first of two free throws. Texas Tech (24-9) corralled the rebound but struggled to get the ball up court, and Stevenson resorted to a half-court shot that would have tied the game. — Associated Press
Skinny: Kansas State could have crumbled when TCU’s Desmond Bane knocked down a desperation 3-pointer to force overtime in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday. Or when Vlad Brodziansky gave the Horned Frogs the lead in the extra session.
Instead, the Wildcats kept their poise, turned to their stingy and consistent defense, and leaned on star guard Barry Brown to convert the go-ahead lay-up with 11.2 seconds to go. And when the Horned Frogs’ Alex Robinson missed two free throws at the other end, Kansas State had a victory that not only meant a semifinal berth but also may have locked up an NCAA Tournament bid. —Associated Press
Skinny: Kansas had just been battered by Oklahoma State for the second time this season, a humiliating loss in Stillwater that sent the Jayhawks into the Big 12 Tournament rubbing their bruised egos. Then the Cowboys raced out to a 10-point lead in their quarterfinal matchup.
Rather than fold, though, the ninth-ranked Jayhawks showed the kind of toughness they’ve been missing much of this season. Malik Newman scored a career-high 30 points, their backup big men made up for the absence of injured center Udoka Azubuike, and coach Bill Self’s squad pulled away in the second half for a victory over the Cowboys. — Associated Press
Skinny: Keenan Evans scored 25 points, including a pretty fadeaway jumper in the closing minutes, and No. 14 Texas Tech held off hot-shooting Jacob Young and Texas. Jarrett Culver added 13 points for the deep and talented Red Raiders (24-8), who had lost four of their last five in the regular season but appeared to recapture their mojo in Kansas City. — Associated Press
Skinny: Senior guard Jevon Carter chucked in a halfcourt buzzer-beater to give the No. 18 Mountaineers a comfy halftime cushion and the Mountaineers pulled away after the break to earn a date in the conference semifinals. Carter finished with 18 points and 11 assists, Esa Ahmad poured in 21 points and West Virginia (23-9) benefited from 22 Baylor turnovers to beat the Bears for the third time this season and the sixth time in their past seven matchups. — Associated Press
FIRST ROUND (Wednesday, March 7)
Skinny: Cameron McGriff scored 18 points, Jeffrey Carroll added 13 points and 13 rebounds, and the Cowboys pulled away from the Sooners after squandering most of a 16-point lead for a in the opening round of the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday night. Oklahoma State will face No. 1 seed Kansas in a quarterfinal matchup Thursday. The Cowboys swept the ninth-ranked Jayhawks during the regular season. Trae Young had 22 points on 7-for-21 shooting to lead Oklahoma (18-13), which must now anxiously await their NCAA tournament fate following its eighth loss in its last 10 games. — Associated Press
Skinny: Dylan Osetkowski scored 20 points, Matt Coleman knocked down a crucial jumper in the final minute and the Longhorns beat the Cylones on Wednesday night in their opening round game. Iowa State (13-18) forged a 58-all tie on a basket by Zoran Talley Jr. with five minutes left, but Coleman started a run of six straight points that gave Texas a cushion. Coleman then scored again with 43.1 seconds left, giving the Longhorns a 68-64 advantage in the back-and-forth affair. Lindell Wigginton turned the ball over on the Cyclones’ next possession, ending any comeback. — Associated Press
Skinny: Barry Brown scored the go-ahead layup with 11.2 seconds left in overtime, and Alex Robinson missed a pair of foul shots at the other end allowing the Wildcats to escape. The Horned Frogs, who forced OT on Desmond Bane’s buzzer-beating three-pointer, had the ball with the game tied at 64 and 34.5 seconds to go. But when Robinson’s pass was deflected out of bounds, a video review showed TCU’s Vladimir Brodziansky touched it last and Kansas State was given the ball. — Associated Press