Not much of note went down on the first day of the Big 12 tournament. Texas A&M knocked off Oklahoma and Oklahoma State took care of Texas Tech.
Now's when it gets interesting.
Kansas and Texas are the two teams with the most to gain from the tourney. The Jayhawks can wrap up a No. 1 overall seed if they run through the tourney -- as has been the case each of the past two years.
Rick Barnes' young Longhorns are playing for their NCAA tournament lives, squarely on the bubble and likely needing a victory on Thursday against Transfer U. - Iowa State.
Teams like Missouri, Iowa State, Baylor and Kansas State are all playing for seeding while Oklahoma State and Texas A&M will attempt to play the role of spoiler.
Now, let's look at Thursday's games in Kansas City:
Kansas (1) vs. Texas A&M (9). The Jayhawks have won eight straight Big 12 regular-season titles and the last two conference tourney crowns as well. Bill Self has arguably the nation's top player in Thomas Robinson, but the key for KU is the play of point guard Tyshawn Taylor. Texas A&M has had a rough season with the health issues of its coach, Billy Kennedy, and the injuries to the Aggies top player, Khris Middleton.
Missouri (2) vs. Oklahoma State (7). The Tigers have exceeded expectations this season under first-year coach Frank Haith, whose taken a veteran group and put them in position to receive a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. These guys have strong guard play -- led by Marcus Denmon and Phil Pressey. Oklahoma State has been disappointing, largely due to injuries and the erratic play of talented freshman Le'Bryan Nash.
Iowa State (3) vs. Texas (6). This is the most intriguing matchup of the day. Fred Hoiberg has done a terrific job assembling a team loaded with transfers and getting them to click. The Cyclones are led by Royce White, but have lost six straight years in the first round. Texas is down this season due to a lack of size and experience. J'Covan Brown is the star of the team, but he'll need help in order for the Longhorns to pull off the win. Rick Barnes will be without senior big man Alexis Wangmene, who dislocated his wrist in the regular-season finale and is done for the year.
Baylor (4) vs. Kansas State (5). There aren't many teams who possess more talent than Scott Drew and the Bears. Baylor jumped out of the gates strong, but have struggled in league play -- losing six times. However, four of the setbacks came against Kansas and Missouri. Perry Jones III needs to play with toughness because right now it's Pierre Jackson who is carrying the team, averaging 21.5 points over the past four games. Frank Martin's Wildcats are balanced and have won four of the past five against Baylor.
-- Jeff Goodman