Big 12 women’s basketball tournament predictions: Wildcats have tough road ahead

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Senior forward Jessica Sheble and sophomore guard Kayla Goth cheer during the K-State game against Oklahoma State in Bramlage Coliseum on Jan. 28, 2017. (File Photo by Maddie Domnick | The Collegian)

The Kansas State women’s basketball team enters this season’s Big 12 conference tournament, the Phillips 66 Women’s Basketball Championships, as the No. 4 seed. The tournament starts today in Oklahoma City, and the Wildcats start play at 11 a.m. Saturday against Iowa State.

K-State is coming into the quarterfinal match-up off a tough home loss to Texas on senior night. The Wildcats kept the game close for much of the night but ended up falling to the Longhorns 69-61.

The Wildcats split the series against the Cyclones in the regular season, with each team winning on their home floor. The last match-up came on Feb. 11 with the Wildcats winning that game 80-68.

Here are some scenarios for how the tournament could play out for the Wildcats.

For the Wildcats to win the tournament:

The Wildcats open play against the dangerous Iowa State Cyclones, who already beat them once this season and have won five straight, including against No. 6 Texas. The Wildcats, however, won the last game against them and should be able to beat them again.

Their next game might as well be the title game. Baylor will play the winner of Friday’s game between Texas Tech and TCU. Neither is likely to beat Baylor. Neither team has this season. Baylor’s only losses came to then-No. 3 Connecticut and then-No. 11 Texas. The Bears also won last season’s tournament.

History is stacked against the Wildcats if they advance to meet the Bears. The Wildcats have lost 25 straight, last beating the Bears in 2004. If, however, they can beat Baylor, the rest of the tournament is manageable.

On the other side of the bracket, Texas and Oklahoma are likely to meet in the second game for each team, with the winner advancing to play either Baylor or K-State.

The Wildcats recently beat the Sooners and kept both games against Texas within eight points, despite losing both. It’s difficult to predict who would win if Texas and Oklahoma play because the teams split the season series.

Either way, if the Wildcats are able to beat Baylor, they’ll have momentum on their side in a way that could propel them to a Big 12 tournament victory.

Prediction

Iowa State is no easy win, but K-State has a chance to win against the Cyclones. I think Baylor advances because I just don’t see Texas Tech or TCU. On the other side of the bracket, Oklahoma State plays Kansas with the winner playing Texas, while Oklahoma plays West Virginia. Texas is a combined 4-0 against Oklahoma State and Kansas, so I believe Texas will beat whoever wins.

Oklahoma beat West Virginia in the teams’ last meeting, and I believe they’ll win the next one to play against Texas, which I think they’ll beat again, in part because the game is being played In Oklahoma City.

I think K-State will win against Baylor. The Wildcats have to beat the Bears eventually, and with senior guard Kindred Wesemann and senior center Breanna Lewis both moving on, this is as good of a chance as ever to beat the Bears.

From there, I think the Wildcats will beat the Sooners again in the Big 12 Championship game.

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Shelton Burch
Shelton grew up in the desert southwest. A native of Lancaster, California, he mostly grew up in south Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Kansas and graduating from Junction City High School. He started working as a news writer for the Collegian in 2009 before taking a three-year break from college. He returned to K-State in 2013 and has since worked for the news desk, feature desk, as a copy editor and now as a sports writer. He enjoys tap dancing, writing anything possible, reading court opinions and watching Arizona Coyotes hockey.