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Big 12 Tournament 2016: Quarterfinals Preview

Great basketball is a guarantee for day two of the Big 12 Tournament, which will feature the top six teams in the conference, all of whom are ranked in the Top 25.

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most exciting days of Big 12 basketball is here. Of the eight teams remaining, TCU and Kansas State plan on winning out if they want any chance at the NCAA Tournament, while the other six teams are fighting to improve their seeding for the big dance.

4 Texas vs. 5 Baylor

Broadcast Info: 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2

What To Watch For

Texas is led by All-Big 12 point guard Isaiah Taylor, who averaged 15 points and 5 assists a game this year. He gets help from teammate Javan Felix, who averages 11 points a game, while senior big man Prince Ibeh has stepped up in his role in the paint after Cameron Ridley's injury, averaging over 5 rebounds a game after seeing his minutes go up.

Meanwhile, Baylor is led by senior forward and All-Big 12 first team player, Taurean Prince, who averages nearly 16 points and 6 boards a game, while another forward on the team, Rico Gathers, puts up 11 points and 9 boards a game.

It was Texas forward Connor Lammert that led the way with 15 points for the Longhorns in the first meeting between the two teams, including a 3-pointer in the final minute to cap off a 67-59 victory over Baylor. Texas was in the middle of a streak in which they won 7 of 8 games at the beginning of the conference season. By the time the two teams met the second time around, the Longhorns had cooled down, and Baylor got revenge in dominating fashion, winning 78-64. Forward Johnathan Motley led the way for the Bears, scoring 24 points, while Prince had 17 and Gathers put up 6 in a limited role due to illness.

This game will come down to whichever position group performs the best. If the Baylor forwards are able to dominate the game like they have a tendency to do, the Bears have the chance to pull off the slight upset. However, don't count out the Shaka Smart-led Longhorns, whose pressure defense will do everything they possibly can to make it a guard-focused game.

1 Kansas vs. 8 Kansas State

Broadcast Info: 1:30 p.m. on ESPN2

What To Watch For

The most unique trait about this year's Kansas team is there's no individual star, but every player brings a trait that makes the team great. Four different players are averaging double digit scoring, while Perry Ellis leads the way with nearly 17 points and 6 rebounds a game. The scary thing about KU is they have five players who see significant playing time while shooting at least 41% from behind the arc on a consistent basis.

Kansas State is coming off a close 75-71 win over Oklahoma State, after letting a 17 point halftime lead slip away. Freshman forward Dean Wade led the way for the Wildcats, scoring 20 points while senior guard Justin Edwards put up 17 points, 9 rebounds, and had 4 assists along the way.

Kansas dominated the first two meetings between the two teams, winning by an average of 13.5 points. In both games, KU had held at least a 17 point lead. The Jayhawks have been led by Ellis throughout the series. Despite getting 12 stitches behind his ear and scratched in the eye by his own teammate, Ellis was able to put up 14 points in the second game, while leading all scorers with 19 points in the first meeting.

The Wildcats of Kansas State have proven unable to have anyone step up in this series and stop the Jayhawks, and odds are they won't find that special player Thursday afternoon either. Count on Kansas advancing to Friday's semifinals.

2 West Virginia vs. 10 TCU

Broadcast Info: 6:00 p.m. on ESPNU

What To Watch For

West Virginia's junior forward Devin Williams and senior guard Jaysean Paige have provided great leadership for the Mountaineers. Williams averages 12 points and 9 rebounds a game, while Paige leads the team at 14 points a game. West Virginia has 10 players averaging over nine minutes a game in their highly aggressive, full court press defense that has earned them the nickname, "Press Virginia." This style of D allows the second least amount of points to conference opponents. Despite having a bottom-half shooting team in the Big 12, their top-tier rebounding has helped make them a top 10 team in the nation.

Meanwhile, TCU is coming off an upset win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The Horned Frogs were led by sophomore guard Chauncey Collins, who put up 19 points in 40 minutes of action. TCU also blocked nine shots in the winning effort.

Not surprisingly, West Virginia's defensive pressure and fast-paced style has proven too much for TCU this season. In their last meeting, the Mountaineers walked out with a 31 point victory. TCU did a phenomenal job of slowing Wednesday night's game down and forcing Texas Tech to play the slow style of ball they wanted. Unfortunately for the Horned Frogs, the Mountaineers will be a much more daunting task than they had against the Red Raiders.