And then there were four. The Kansas Jayhawks will be taking on the Baylor Bears while the West Virginia Mountaineers will face off against the Oklahoma Sooners. Both games appear to be great matchups on paper, and must-watch TV for Big 12 fans.
1 Kansas vs. 5 Baylor
Kansas is riding a 12 game winning streak and show no signs of slowing down. Senior Perry Ellis has led the team all season and continued to do so Thursday afternoon, putting up 21 points while his teammates had 24 assists on 32 of the teams total field goals against Kansas State.
But Taurean Prince and the Baylor Bears will test the Jayhawks to the best of their abilities. Baylor's forwards dominated in their opening game of the tournament against Texas, as Prince scored 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds while Rico Gathers put up 13 points and had 9 rebounds. In a guard-heavy league, the Bears' forwards had 67% of their team's 75 points. Baylor finished the game against Texas with a +19 rebound advantage as well.
The first meeting of the season between the two teams was a shocker, as Kansas tore apart the Bears, winning 102-74. But Baylor kept the game much closer a few weeks later, losing just 66-60. The fun matchup to watch will be Perry Ellis and Taurean Prince. Both have stopped each other from taking over games this season, which forces the two teams to find different players to take charge. Kansas has had the edge, with far more depth and talent, but if Baylor guards Al Freeman and Lester Medford can stop the rest of Kansas from going off, the Bears have a shot at pulling off the upset.
2 West Virginia vs. 3 Oklahoma
West Virginia's Devin Williams was a star again in Thursday's victory over TCU. The senior forward had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Mountaineers while Jevon Carter followed suit with 15 points. Despite being known for their defense, the Mountaineers shot over 40% from deep and made 56% of the shots they took even though they gave up 17 turnovers.
Oklahoma has heated up as of late, winning 5 of their last 6 with their last victory coming against the Iowa State Cyclones Thursday night. Buddy Hield had 39 points, while none of his teammates had more than 10. The Sooners are an offensive powerhouse known for being deep threats while playing virtually two point guards, letting Buddy Hield do the heavy lifting.
Oklahoma has defeated West Virginia in the teams' two previous meetings. While the first win was just by two points, the Sooners pounded the Mountaineers in Morgantown, 76-62. West Virginia's defense will be looking to disrupt the Oklahoma guards, but if Oklahoma's offense can remain hot and not allow West Virginia to shoot as lights out as they did Thursday, the Sooners can expect to walk out with a victory and play for the Big 12 Championship.