2024 Big 12 Baseball Tournament Predictions: Oklahoma's Bracket To Lose?

The Big 12 Tournament begins Tuesday. The field is as wide open as its ever been – does that put top seeds Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in an advantageous position?
OU Baseball on X @OU_Baseball

The college baseball regular season is finally in the books. Now, it's showtime. The top 10 teams in the Big 12 secured berths in the Big 12 Baseball Tournament, which kicks off Tuesday. An automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament – and likely a seat as a regional host for some – is at stake, but plenty of other teams can play themselves into the national postseason with a few wins in Arlington.

This year's field may be the most wide-open we've seen in some time. Just three games separate No. 5 seed Cincinnati from No. 9 seed TCU and that gap only opened in the closing weeks of the season. Each year, we get choas in the conference tournament, but this year might top the charts.

So, in a likely fruitless effort, let's try and parse out this tournament field.

Big 12 Baseball Tournament Predictions: Round 1

Game 1: Kansas State (31-22, 15-15 Big 12) vs. Kansas (29-21, 15-15)

Kansas State took two of three from the rival Jayhawks in Manhattan just a couple weekends ago. But each game was a real tossup, with Kansas actually coming away with a +1 series run differential. In the postseason, pitching matters even more.

  • The pick: Kansas

Game 2: West Virginia (33-20, 19-11 Big 12) vs. TCU (31-19, 14-16)

Make it a four-game series, as these two just wrapped up a series in Fort Worth. West Virginia took two of three and will extend its stay in the DFW Metro for the tournament. Payton Tolle returned to the mound and should be the guy again Tuesday. All it takes is one game.

  • The pick: TCU

Game 3: Cincinnati (31-23, 17-13) vs. UCF (33-18, 14-15 Big 12)

The Bearcats are perhaps the biggest surprise in the Big 12 this season. To close out April, Cincinnati took two convincing games from UCF in Orlando thanks to some stellar run prevention. While they went a combined 1-5 against the top two seeds in the tournament, Cincy is a dangerous team to the rest of the field.

  • The pick: Cincinnati

Game 4: Texas (35-20, 20-10 Big 12) vs. Texas Tech (31-24, 12-17)

Let's be honest here, this is Tim Tadlock's worst team since he started coaching in Lubbock. The Red Raiders failed to get anything going offensively against Big 12 competition this year. Texas is a team that could sneak into a Regional Hosting spot with a win (or runner-up) in this tournament. They mean business.

  • The pick: Texas

Big 12 Baseball Tournament Predictions: Round 2

Game 5: Kansas State vs. West Virginia

  • The pick: West Virginia (Kansas State eliminated)

Game 6: Oklahoma (34-18, 23-7) vs. TCU

With TCU needing to go to other arms like Louis Rodriguez in this game, their dream run in the tournament takes a difficult turn. Unfortunately for them, Oklahoma loses games when they give up runs by the bucket and TCU hasn't shown the ability to deliver offensively in league play. It doesn't matter the opponent, Oklahoma's offense doesn't slow down.

The pick: Oklahoma

Game 7: UCF vs. Texas Tech

  • The pick: UCF (Texas Tech eliminated)

Game 8: Oklahoma State (36-16, 19-9) vs. Cincinnati

The Pokes swept Cincinnati and left little doubt about the outcome back in April. They also won 9-of-11 to close out the Big 12 slate and lost just six total conference games after starting 2-3. I trust Oklahoma State's No. 1 pitcher over Cincinnati's No. 2.

  • The pick: Oklahoma State

Elimination Round

Game 9: TCU vs. West Virginia

  • The pick: West Virginia (TCU eliminated)

Game 10: Oklahoma vs. Kansas

The Sooners did not see the Jayhawks this regular season. With extremely strong starting pitching, Kansas has a good counter to Oklahoma's incessant offense. Its problem, like Oklahoma's previous opponent, is that Kansas doesn't score enough runs against the better pitching staffs to win.

  • The pick: Oklahoma

Game 11: Cincinnati vs. UCF

  • The pick: Cincinnati (UCF eliminated)

Game 12: Oklahoma State vs. Texas

Pitting the conference's two longest win streaks against each other here is must-watch TV. Texas is a team that's hitting its stride and nobody wants to see in the postseason. The Longhorns won nine of their last 12 Big 12 games against the top two seeds in the tournament, UCF, and Kansas. Their series against the Pokes was exciting, but Texas didn't need back-to-back walk-offs to win it (like vs. Kansas). It's tough to pick against them, so I won't.

  • The pick: Texas

Game 13: West Virginia vs. Kansas

  • The pick: West Virginia (Kansas eliminated)

Game 15: Oklahoma State vs. Cincinnati

  • The pick: Oklahoma State (Cincinnati eliminated)

Big 12 Baseball Tournament Predictions: Semifinals

Game 14: Oklahoma vs. West Virginia

The Mountaineers have been a fun team, especially since they returned J.J. Wetherholt. But, to this point, they've enjoyed a relatively easy route to the semifinals. I just don't believe they have the firepower to send the No. 1 seed home packing. However, their performance getting to this point almost cements them in the NCAA Tournament.

  • The pick: Oklahoma (West Virginia eliminated)

Game 16: Oklahoma State vs. Texas

The Pokes are the only thing standing between a Big 12 final between SEC departures Oklahoma and Texas. Narrative street, sure, but it's foolish to assume the Pokes wouldn't realize that. There's real animosity among the Big 12 loyalists and the defectors. All it takes is one game in the postseason.

  • The pick: Oklahoma State (Texas eliminated)

Championship Game: Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State

Sure, it might be chalky to pick the top two seeds in the tournament, but these two teams are playing the best baseball in the conference currently. Plus, one more Bedlam as conference foes? That sounds like a heck of a finale to me.

Conference tournaments are a war of attrition. Do you burn your top starter in earlier games to avoid falling behind? Do you risk throwing out starter No. 4 in the semifinal to preserve your ace on for the title game? Or will this be between two aces on just three days rest?

With so many unknowns – and no way to know until it plays out – you have to look to pitching depth. Ultimately, Oklahoma State had to play one extra game after dropping their first to Texas. Oklahoma also had the easier route to the championship and likely could afford to pull top starters earlier. It's just luck of the draw and the bottom bracket was a much tougher test.

I believe No. 1 seed Oklahoma wins this year's Big 12 Tournament and secures a Norman Regional in the NCAA Tournament.


Want to join the discussion? Click here to become a member of the Killer Frogs message board community today!

Follow KillerFrogs on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest TCU news! Follow KillerFrogs on Facebook and Instagram as well. Download the KillerFrogs app on Google Play or in the Apple App Store.


Published
Brett Gibbons

BRETT GIBBONS

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s covered college sports for Fansided, Stadium Journey, and several independent outlets over the past five years. A graduate of BGSU, Brett currently works on-site at Google as a project lead for content curation products.