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OU Men's and Women's Big 12 Tournament Preview

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No. 10 Seed Oklahoma (13-17, 5-11) vs. No. 7 Seed Baylor (18-12, 7-9) 
 Date & Tip Time  Wednesday, March 9 at 6 p.m. CT
 Location  Kansas City, Mo. | Spirit Center (18,758)
 Tickets  OU Athletics Ticket Office

 Big 12 Network 
 KOCB Ch. 34 in Oklahoma City
 KJRH-DT2 in Tulsa
 ESPN Full Court

 Radio  Sooner Radio Network 
 KRXO FM 107.7 in Oklahoma City
 KTBZ AM 1430 in Tulsa
 Live Stats GameTracker
 Game Info  Game Notes (PDF)

So we obviously knew who the men were playing going in and they enter Wednesday night's game having split their regular season match-ups with the Baylor Bears.  The first game, in Waco, saw the Sooners fall 61-74 and at times look severely outmatched.  There is no arguing Baylor is a much more athletically gifted team, but OU is definitely capable of pulling the upset.  OU beat Baylor in Norman this year, granted there were some unique circumstances.  The game originally was scheduled for a Tuesday night, but had to be postponed thanks to a brutal winter storm.  So you could make the argument that it threw Baylor off their game and that would probably be fair, but at the same time you have to give credit to the Sooners for capitalizing on it and winning the game.

All that doesn't even take into account the current drama surrounding the program and their head coach.  News broke yesterday afternoon that OU A.D. Joe C. was rumored to be considering the possibility of letting Capel go.  There have been no new developments and it's not Joe C's style to let this kind of thing play out in the media.  That said, there is no way Capel's players aren't aware of the speculation.  So the $64,000 (okay, $64 is probably more appropriate for this team) question is how (if any) will this affect the Sooners when they suit up against Baylor?  Personally, I think we'll learn a lot about this coach, his future, and this team tonight based on how they come out and play the game.  If they decide inside that locker room that they're going to go out and play their butts off for their coach, I think that is a good thing and almost guarantees Capel is coming back.  If they get down early and give up, see most recent Texas Tech game, then I think it clearly signals this team knows Capel is gone and it's time for Sooner fans to get ready for a new head man.  I'll just say this, in my opinion I don't think the final score tonight decides Capel's fate.  I believe Joe C. has already made up his mind as to what he wants to do and this game won't change that decision.  Obviously I don't know what that decision is, though I'm sure Joe C. will be calling me any minute, but if I had to put money on it I'm betting Capel is back next year.  Not necessarily saying I agree with that decision, but it would take a lot more than this situation for me to waver in my confidence with Joe C.

Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech
 Date  Wednesday, March 9, 2011 | 7:30 p.m
 Location  Kansas City, Mo. | Municipal Auditorium
 TV  Fox Sports Network
 COX Ch. 37/722 HD in Oklahoma City | COX Ch. 27/722 HD in Tulsa
 Radio  Sooner Radio Network 
 KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City
 Live Stats
 Game Info  Game Notes (PDF)

Unlike the men, the women performed well enough during the regular season to earn a bye in the conference tournament so we didn't know their opponent until after the opening round Tuesday night.  Now we know that OU will face Texas Tech for the third time this season after losing to Tech to close out the regular season.  I have to believe that Sherri will have the ladies ready to play tonight after having lost to the Lady Red Raiders just four days ago. 

The women will have to make jump shots and could use a good game from their three point shooters.  If OU struggles from the field, it could be a long night.  Their post play has improved throughout the course of the season, but it definitely is not enough to carry them through an entire game.  I think the natural assumption is that if Danielle Robinson has a good game this team wins, but honestly I don't think it's quite that simple.  D-Rob has had big games this year and it hasn't been enough to get OU the win.  In my opinion, this team's success is more reliant on freshman Aaryn Ellenberg.  I think for the most part D-Rob will get hers regardless, but OU needs some kind of secondary threat to truly be successful.  If Ellenberg is hitting shots, the offense opens up driving lanes for Robinson to do what she does best and get to the basket.  Then the posts can contribute with the occasional bucket and offensive rebound also creating open 3's for Whitney Hand, Morgan Hook, and Carlee Roethlisberger.

That's the situation I expect to see tonight against the Lady Red Raiders as OU advances to the semi-finals to face the winner of the A&M vs. Texas game.  OU will go into the game against Tech knowing who their opponent would be in the next round since they play in the last game of the night on Wednesday.  Forgive me for even uttering these words, but OU fans should be rooting for a Texas victory.  OU has beaten Texas pretty handily in both their regular season match-ups while falling twice to A&M, so obviously a potential game against the Longhorns would be much more appealing to earn a spot in the tournament final.