Big 12 Tournament Preview (May 20-24)

Chance Ruffin and the Texas Longhorns look to add a conference tournament championship to their regular season championship. (Texas Media Relations Photo)
Chance Ruffin and the Texas Longhorns look to add a conference tournament championship to their regular season championship. (Texas Media Relations Photo)

The best of the Big 12 will be showcasing their skills in Oklahoma City this week.  While some teams are comfortably in the NCAA tournament field, other teams need to impress at Bricktown Ballpark to secure their bids.  Texas, the regular season conference champion, enters the tournament as winners of nine of their last ten games.  Oklahoma makes the twenty five mile drive up I-35 as the 2 seed with ideas of winning a conference tournament championship and locking up a regional host bid.  Missouri enters the tournament as the 3 seed, having won eight of their last ten games.  Kansas State, fresh off a series loss to rival Kansas, will again face the Jayhawks in the opening round 4/5 matchup.  Texas A&M, the 6 seed this week, comes into the tournament as losers of five of their last six Big 12 games and looking to turn things around before the NCAA tournament.  As the 7 seed and with a losing record on the season, Texas Tech knows their only shot at the NCAA tournament is through the Big 12’s automatic bid.  Baylor, the 8 seed, is desperate for a strong showing in Oklahoma City.  The Bears are a very unimpressive 2-8 in their last ten games, and their at-large chances might disappear with a dismal performance this week.

Below is the Big 12 tournament schedule with probable pitching matchups:

Game 1

5/20 10:00 AM

Kansas (#5)

Kansas State (#4)

Game 2

5/20 1:30 PM

Baylor (#8)

Texas (#1)

Game 3

5/20 5:00 PM

Texas A&M (#6)

Missouri (#3)

Game 4

5/20 8:30 PM

Texas Tech (#7)

Oklahoma (#2)

Game 5

5/21 4:00 PM

Texas (#1)

Kansas (#5)

Game 6

5/21 9:30 PM

Kansas State (#4)

Baylor (#8)

Game 7

5/22 4:00 PM

Missouri (#3)

Texas Tech (#7)

Game 8

5/22 9:30 PM

Oklahoma (#2)

Texas A&M (#6)

Game 9

5/23 10:00 AM

Kansas (#5)

Baylor (#8)

Game 10

5/23 1:30 PM

Texas (#1)

Kansas State (#4)

Game 11

5/23 5:00 PM

Oklahoma (#2)

Missouri (#3)

Game 12

5/23 8:30 PM

Texas A&M (#6)

Texas Tech (#7)

Game 13

5/24 2:00 PM

Winner, Pool 1

Winner, Pool 2

Probable Pitching Matchups:

Wednesday, May 20

Game 1: #5 Kansas – Shaeffer Hall (Jr., LHP, 4-6, 4.60 ERA)   v. #4 Kansas State – Lance Hoge (Sr., LHP. 5-4, 4.52 ERA)

Game 2: #8 Baylor – Logan Verrett (Fr., RHP, 7-1, 4.50 ERA)  v. #1 Texas – Cole Green (So., RHP, 4-2. 2.85 ERA)

Game 3: #6 Texas A&M – Clayton Ehlert (Jr., RHP, 5-0, 5.95 ERA)  v. #3 Missouri – Kyle Gibson (Jr., RHP, 9-3, 3.69 ERA)

Game 4: #7 Texas Tech – A.J. Ramos (Sr., RHP, 5-4, 4.95 ERA)  v.  #2 Oklahoma – Andrew Doyle (Jr., RHP, 7-4, 4.28 ERA)

Thursday, May 21

Game 5:  #1 Texas – TBA v.  #5 Kansas – TBA

Game 6: #4 Kansas State – A.J. Morris (Jr., RHP, 12-1, 1.61 ERA)  v. #8 Baylor – TBA

Friday, May 22

Game 7:  #3 Missouri – TBA  v.  #7 Texas Tech – TBA

Game 8:  #2 Oklahoma – Michael Rocha (So., RHP, 5-2, 3.63 ERA)  v.  #6 Texas A&M – Brooks Raley (So., LHP, 7-2, 3.09 ERA)

Saturday, May 23

Game 9:  #5 Kansas - Lee Ridenhour (Fr., RHP, 6-2, 4.37 ERA)  v. #8 Baylor – TBA

Game 10:  #1 Texas -  Taylor Jungmann (Fr., RHP, 6-3, 1.88 ERA)  v.  #4 Kansas State – Todd Vogel (Sr., RHP, 4-1, 5.20 ERA)

Game 11:  #2 Oklahoma – Garrett Richards (Jr., RHP, 8-3, 6.56 ERA)  v.  #3 Missouri – TBA

Game 12:  #6 Texas A&M – Ross Hales (Fr., LHP, 5-2, 3.90 ERA) v.  #7 Texas Tech – TBA

Who needs what?

(1) Texas – The Longhorns locked up a national seed with their regular season conference championship.  This weekend they will just be trying to impress the committee enough to earn the top overall national seed.

(2) Oklahoma – The Sooners pretty much locked up a host spot with their sweep of Texas A&M last weekend, but a win or two wouldn’t hurt their resume any.

(3) Missouri – The Tigers are likely to hit the road for a regional, so they are just playing for regional position at this point.  An impressive performance could ensure they are sent to a  non-national seed regional.

(4) Kansas State – The Wildcats looked to be in the regional hosting mix before rival Kansas took two of three last weekend, but it’s still possible Kansas State could get back into the hosting discussion with a 3-0 performance in pool play and conference tournament championship appearance.

(5) Kansas – Kansas has a very mediocre RPI that is holding them back right now.  A conference tournament championship might land them a 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, but anything less probably means the Jayhawks are a 3 seed when the brackets are released.

(6) Texas A&M – The Aggies have to be really disappointed with their finish.  They looked well on their way to hosting a regional before losing two of three to rival Texas and being swept by Oklahoma.  Now, it’s almost certain the Aggies will be hitting the road for a regional no matter what happens this weekend.

(7) Texas Tech – The Red Raiders have one opportunity to make the NCAA tournament, and that’s winning the conference tournament.  It’s all or nothing for Texas Tech this weekend.

(8) Baylor – Baylor is one team that absolutely has to have a good showing at the Big 12 tournament in order to make the NCAA tournament.  The Bears looked to be in decent shape before being swept by last place Nebraska to finish the year.  Baylor needs to pick up a few wins to feel good about their chances on Monday.  The non-conference wins can only carry them so far.