The Big 12 had one team — Kansas — in the NCAA Final Four in 2018. But with the NBA down to its Final Four, it’s time to see how many Big 12 players remain in the postseason.
Here’s a breakdown of all Big 12 players on a Conference Finals roster, arranged by NBA team.
Tristan Thompson (Texas): Thompson has played sparingly in the 2018 Playoffs. His best games came against Indianapolis in Game 7 of the first round (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Toronto in Game 1 of the second round (14 points, 12 rebounds). The Cavs won both games. Thompson should play more of a role if Cleveland matches up again with Golden State in the Finals, as the Cavaliers need his rebounding ability.
Marcus Morris (Kansas): Morris has played a pivotal part in Boston’s run to the Conference Finals. He hasn’t started a game thus far, but he’s averaged 12.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Morris has also added a much-needed element of toughness to the Boston roster that helped the Celtics stand up to Philadelphia in the second round.
Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State): Smart is one of the best defenders in the league, and he’s only added to that reputation in the postseason. He’s posted a 2.7 Defensive Box Plus/Minus, which means he’s worth an extra 2.7 points every 100 defensive possessions for the Celtics.
Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant (Texas): Durant has been the best player in the postseason for Golden State this year. He’s averaging 28 points per game, highlighted by a 38-point performance against the Pelicans in Game 4 of the second round. At this point, the Warriors are once again the favorites to win the Finals. Durant, possibly the league’s best scorer, is a major reason why.
P.J. Tucker (Texas): Tucker has put together a solid postseason in his first year with the Rockets. He’s averaging 9.0 points per game and hitting 45.8 percent of his three-pointers. In Houston’s run-and-gun offense oriented around taking open threes, Tucker is the perfect bench player.
Tarik Black (Kansas): Black played one season with the Jayhawks after transferring from Memphis. He’s seen the floor for only 10 minutes this postseason with the Rockets.