Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Women’s Big 12 Tournament Preview…Really.

In what can only been seen as one of the most competitive years in recent memory for the Big 12, A&M and OU have come out of the pack as Regular Season Co-Champions and favorites to claim the Conference Tournament Championship as well. The current ESPN Bracketology has seven Big 12 teams getting into the NCAA tournament. This is quite a feat considering the highest predicted seeds are A&M & OU’s at #4. This is just proof of how evenly matched the Big 12 has been and will be in the conference tourney. Here is a breakdown of each team's chances:

#1 Texas A&M 23-5 (13-3)- All-around the best team in the league. Led by Big 12 Coach of the Year, Gary Blair, the Aggies have 4 of their 5 starters on either the 1st or 2nd All-Big 12 Team or the All Defensive Team. The Aggies look to improve on their NCAA seeding and claim their first ever Conference Tournament Championship.

#2 Oklahoma 23-4 (13-3)- Led by Big 12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, Courtney Paris, the Sooners enter the tourney with one of the best players in the NCAA. Averaging 24 ppg, 16 rpg and 3.41 bpg, Paris is a force for any team to deal with.

#3 Baylor 24-6 (11-5)- The latest addition to Women’s basketball powerhouses, the lady Bears continue to have success in the NCAA and Big 12. This year’s team is a strong team that has experience and wants to go deep in both post-season tournaments. The Bears are led by Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, Bernice Mosley.

#4 Nebraska 22-6 (10-6)- Led by 1st Team All-Big 12ers Kelsey Griffin and Kiera Hardy, the Cornhuskers look to improve their NCAA tournament seeding with a strong Big 12 showing. When Husker fans were asked about the Women’s Basketball Team’s chances, most replied, “Are you sure you don’t mean Men’s Football? Cause either I have some corn niblets in my ear or you just suggested that there is a sport called basketball and supposedly women are allowed to play it.” (Actual quotes by real Nebraskans).

#5 Iowa State 22-7 (10-6)- Convinced by their coach that the only way they were allowed to escape the suffocating hell of Ames, Iowa was to dribble a round ball and put it into a basket, the Lady Cyclones have put in hours of hard work to make this dream come true. However, Iowa State coach Bill Fenelley has expressed concern of defection if the Lady ‘Clones are placed in a NCAA regional site that is “too close to mimicking 21st century luxuries.” (again an actual quote (probably anyway))

#6 Oklahoma State 20-9 (8-8)- The Lady Cowpokes are clinging to NCAA hopes. A loss to the lowly Jayhawks will ensure OSU will be playing in the even more irrelevant Women’s NIT.

#7 Texas 17-13 (6-10)- The latest Bracketology has Texas as one of its “Last Teams In.” This makes the tourney more important to Texas than any other team. They absolutely need at least one win to have any shot at the Big Dance, but a trip to the semi-finals (meaning a win over OU) would have the Horns dancing.

#8 Colorado 17-16 (6-10)- Being one game over .500 doesn’t guarantee your team a lot; Unless you are the Lady Buffs, which ensure that you would able to beat your men’s team in a 5-on-5. (Not shirts and skins. Get your minds out of the gutter).

#9 Texas Tech 15-15 (6-10)- Once mighty Texas Tech has been relegated to the unfamiliar role of “Also-ran” this year in the Big 12. The Lady Raiders look to gain some much-needed experience headed into the NIT.

#10 Missouri 17-12 (5-11)- One thing is clear. Either the Big 12 conference is the hardest in the nation or the Missouri Tigers played a bunch of High School teams in pre-conference. There’s really no other way to explain a deterioration like this (well, maybe there is, but I didn’t look into it).

#11 Kansas 10-19 (4-12)- The only team in the conference with an overall losing record does not bode well for the Jayhawk’s chances this weekend. I guess crazier things have happened (like me writing a Women’s Basketball article).

#12 Kansas State 16-13 (4-12)- Coming off a 12-1 pre-conference showing, the K State Wildcats were disappointing in the Big 12 year; indicated by their seeding in the tournament. The Wildcats will need to make quite a run to pull off an upset Tournament Championship and get a spot in the Final 65.

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