I have the opportunity to do a weekly radio segment on KGSO in Wichita, Kansas on Wednesday mornings. A couple of weeks ago I was asked, during the segment, if the Big 12 was that good or that bad where everyone could beat everyone. If the early results from the opening day of the NCAA Tournament tell the story then the conference that had been tabbed as the, "best basketball conference in the country," was in fact just that bad.
RT @ESPNStatsInfo: Today is the 1st day in Big 12/Big 8 history that the conference lost 3 NCAA Tournament games on the same day.— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) March 19, 2015
Conference USA, the Sun Belt, and the Big East all bested the Big 12 on Thursday with UAB taking down conference tournament champion Iowa State by a final of 60-59. It's not just that the Big 12 went down, it's that it went down hard and fast.
The rest of the college basketball world is laughing at the Big 12 and it is deservedly so. I realize that I'm saying this before Oklahoma plays on Friday but a #3 seed has no business losing to a #14 and it happened twice to the conference on Thursday. Even if the Sooners go down in flames with the rest of the conference on Friday night, it doesn't change that from being a true statement.
For as good as Georges Niang and Monte Morris were in Kansas City last week, they were decidedly average today as they combined to go 11-28 from the floor with 26 points and six assists to go with six turnovers.
The Cyclones went from the triumph of winning the conference tournament on Sunday to being the first major upset in the NCAA on Thursday. A 21-point performance from the Blazers' Robert Brown, combined with 11 Iowa State turnovers was too much for the Cyclones. However, if you want to know where this game was really lost, it was on the boards where UAB grabbed 52 rebounds to ISU's 37.
RT @BillPlaschke: Many of Iowa State's players walk off without shaking hands...classless ending to a classess effort.— Guerin Emig (@GuerinEmig) March 19, 2015
Kudos to the Cyclones for walking off the floor like grown men and not shaking hands. It was a fantastic display of class.
The Bears held a 40-22 advantage in rebounding, the biggest factor that counter-balanced the turnovers all game.
Given how Baylor had executed against West Virginia's pressure, Georgia State's pressure wasn't anticipated to pose a major difficulty for the Bears. I don't know what was different, but Georgia State harassed Baylor's ball handlers all game and expertly jumped pass after pass. - Our Daily Bears
Baylor just has to be kicking themselves. In typical Scott Drew fashion they watched a 12-point lead evaporate into thin air by providing a clear example of how not to close out a game. Georgia State used four Baylor turnovers over the final 2:54 to end the game on a 13-0 run.
If anyone gets a pass for losing on the opening day here it's the Texas Longhorns. They were never going to win this game, regardless of how much smoke was blowing out of Austin. This just wasn't a great match-up for a team that is limited on offense (Oklahoma State is going to have the same problem tomorrow) and ball handling.
Credit to Butler today, who won in totally Butler-like fashion, with a nice assist from both Texas, who as usual gifted gobs of turnovers, as well as the zebras, who gave Kellen Dunham the Jordan Treatment in the second half. But hey, that's a credit to Dunham and Bulter, too. We should have done a much better job of using our various advantages to earn trips to the line, but that's something this team didn't do very well all year, and didn't do well enough today. - Burnt Orange Nation
The Longhorns committed 15 turnovers and racked up 22 personal fouls that resulted in Butler having a 28-12 advantage in attempts from the charity stripe.
The theme for Oklahoma basketball this season has been, "Take Notice." Well, I hope the Sooners took notice on the way the conference played on Thursday. It's not pretty right now and can get even uglier with a bad Friday. Here's to hoping it's a better day for the Big 12.