College Sports

March 14, 2014

Big 12 commissioner to push for eight NCAA bids

Bob Bowlsby believes seven will be awarded but says West Virginia is deserving.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby expects his 10-member league to receive seven berths when NCAA Tournament teams are selected Sunday. But that does not mean he has given up hope of getting 80 percent of his league into the 68-team field.

“We will continue to advocate for West Virginia,” Bowlsby said. “I think if you are 9-9 in our league, you deserve it and are a good basketball team. … I’m fairly comfortable that we will have seven in.”

West Virginia (17-15), the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament after posting a 9-9 record in league play, fell to Texas 66-49 in Thursday’s quarterfinals.

Kansas City praised

Bowlsby dismissed the possibility that Kansas City, which has hosted more Big 12 men’s basketball tournaments than any other city, would be considered a permanent host. But he acknowledged it would take “a Herculean effort” for another city to spirit the event away from Kansas City, where it will be held the next two years.

Bids for future tournament sites are expected in the near future, with Bowlsby citing Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Des Moines as possibilities. One positive new wrinkle at this year’s event in Kansas City, in Bowlsby’s estimation: beer sales inside the arena.

“It’s been good, I think. We’re very pleased,” Bowlsby said. “I haven’t seen the numbers in terms of what we made on it. But I think [Saturday night] is really the bellwether night.”

Although he said it was not practical to name Kansas City as a permanent host venue, Bowlsby said: “We’ll always look at the various elements of this. But it’s going to take a Herculean effort for somebody to take this away from Kansas City.”

Holmes’ knee fine

For the first time since suffering a right knee injury five weeks ago, Texas junior forward Jonathan Holmes said after Thursday’s game that he was 100 percent healthy.

The Longhorns’ leading scorer had a game-high 20 points on 7 of 8 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds in just 18 minutes of a 66-49 win over West Virginia on Thursday night. He said after the victory that he played completely pain-free.

“I’d say it’s 100 percent. It didn’t bother me once this whole week so I’m feeling good about it,” Holmes said. “[The trainers] did a really good job all week. I didn’t feel it once tonight.”

Holmes first hurt his knee in a loss to Kansas State on Feb. 8 and has since missed two games. He was limited to 21 minutes when Texas fell to Texas Tech in its regular-season finale last Saturday.

After the Longhorns’ practice Wednesday, Holmes said he was closer to 100 percent than he had been since the injury but that he wasn’t quite there yet. Now he is.

Collision recounted

All Kendal Yancy knew when he dove into press row in the second half of Texas’ win Thursday night was that he needed to save the ball from going out of bounds.

What he didn’t know was that, by preventing the ball from landing in the seats, he would land in the lap of Texas men’s athletic director Steve Patterson.

“Tell him I apologize for that,” Yancy said with a chuckle. “Honestly, I was trying to make sure I didn’t hurt him and make sure I didn’t hurt myself, then just hurry and try to get back in the play.”

Patterson was not hurt and even tweeted minutes after the collision: “Nearly taken out by Kendal Yancy. Good hustle.”

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