KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Big 12 Championships return to the hardwood in Kansas City, after a year of uncertainty. One year ago, the city canceled both tournaments because of a surge in COVID-19 cases sweeping the country.
Now, it’s a new year, teams are playing in the newly renamed T-Mobile Center, and the Championships are operating under a new set of guidelines to prevent the spread of coronaviruses.
Teams are tested daily. The conference said the student athletes and everyone else traveling with the team is required to get a test. They are also socially distancing on the way to and from the arena. The Big 12 has all the men’s teams staying in one hotel. All of the women’s teams are staying in a different hotel.
In the first game of the Championship, K-State easily handled TCU to advance to the second round of the Big 12 Championship Wednesday night.
The Wildcats easily handled the Horned Frogs in the 71 to 50 blowout. Nijel Pack led the way for the Wildcats, scoring 23 points.
They face Baylor Thursday morning in the first game of the day.
The second game of the evening has No. 7 Oklahoma playing No. 10 Iowa State. The Sooners enter the game on a four-game skid. The Cyclones struggled through the conference this year, playing tough against several teams, but unable to win a conference game.
The second seeded Jayhawks became the first men’s team to face the COVID-19 Protocol at tournament time. KU announced Tuesday that forward David McCormack and guard Tristan Enaruna wouldn’t play in the Championship because of COVID-19 protocols.
McCormack is the second-leading scorer for KU this season.
The Jayhawks don’t play until Thursday when they meet the winner of the No. 7 Oklahoma vs. No. 10 Iowa State game Wednesday night.