NCAA Conference Tournament Preview: Big 12

Place: Sprint Center, Kansas City

Format: 10 teams, bottom four seeds play in first round, top two seeds meet the teams that have already played one game

Top Seed: Kansas Jayhawks – Ho hum. Another season, another regular season championship for the Jayhawks; that makes 13 in a row. Coach Bill Self’s team has won just two of the last five tournament championships, but should be poised to win their second straight title this season. Kansas features one of the best backcourts in senior Frank Mason (20.5 points, 5.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 49.3 percent from 3-point range) and Devonte’ Graham (13.2 points, 4.3 assists). Freshman Josh Jackson is a superstar in the making. He averaged 16.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.6 steals. The team is a limited in the frontcourt with Landen Lucas and Carlton Bragg as the only bigs of note.

Dark Horse: Oklahoma Sooners – Call this a deep sleeper or maybe some residual feelings from last year’s team. The Sooners actually won three of their six games after leading scorer Jordan Woodard went down with a torn ACL. They also gave Kansas a good game on Monday before failing in the crunch. Freshman Kameron McGusty has bumped his average up to 13.2 points in his last five games. The Sooners have a solid frontcourt in freshman Kristian Doolittle and defensive ace Khadeem Lattin. Oklahoma takes on TCU in the first round, and the Sooners have already beaten the Horned Frogs in the last game of the regular season. Kansas awaits, but coach Lon Kruger’s team looks like it is ready to take the fight to the Jayhawks

Player to Watch: Juwan Evans, guard, Oklahoma State Cowboys – The 6-1 guard showed plenty of potential as a freshman before his season was curtailed by a shoulder injury. He has remained healthy as a sophomore and looks like he saved his best for last. In his last five games, Evans has averaged 22.8 points and 9.0 assists. The Cowboys put together a five-game winning streak in February before losing on the road at Iowa State, and the season ended with a loss to Kansas. Evans could see a chance to avenge both losses, as he’s slated to go head-to-head with Monte Morris and the Cyclones in the Big 12 quarterfinals. Iowa State swept the season series, but Evans provided 20.5 points and 6.5 assists. If he can lead Oklahoma State to a win, he would likely meet Mason and the Jayhawks in the semifinals.

Click here for Perry’s full breakdown of ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, SEC & Pac-12 conference tournaments.