DALLAS — Oklahoma State junior outfielder Keanon Simon has been chosen as the Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Baseball Player of the Week, it was announced by the league on Monday.

Simon, a center fielder from Allen High School helped the Cowboys to a 3-1 mark last week, which included a series sweep of Texas Tech. The left-handed hitter batted .533 (8-for-15) in those four games and also scored six runs, stole two bases and had a .600 slugging percentage.

In the sweep of the Red Raiders, Simon led OSU with an 8-for-12 (.667) performance that included a double and an RBI. He also scored five runs, stole two bases and had a .750 slugging percentage. With that effort, Simon raised his season batting average 21 points.

In his third season at OSU, Simon is hitting a career-best .352 and also has career highs in home runs (5), stolen bases (14) and runs (50). Simon has started 47 of Oklahoma State’s 52 games this spring. His 14 stolen bases (out of 18 attempts) is a team-best.

Simon’s award marks the sixth consecutive week OSU has had a player or pitcher honored with one of the league’s weekly awards. Brae Wright has earned Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors twice, while Tyler Mach (twice) and Shelby Ford have also earned player of the week accolades in ’06.

The second-seeded Cowboys meet No. 7 seed Missouri tonight at 8 p.m. at the Big 12 Tournament at the Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.



Big 12 Tournament Notes

OKLAHOMA CITY — In a trend-setting development, the 2006 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship takes on a new life with a first-ever pool-play format among the eight competing teams.

From 1999-05 the meet sported eight teams after the NCAA Regional field expanded to 64 schools prior to ‘99. The conference followed the NCAA World Series example and had two different brackets, which played down in double-elimination format into a nationally-televised (FSN) Sunday finale.

This year’s schedule features none of the “if necessary” contests and no “two and barbecue” situations. Each of the eight teams will play a minimum of three contests, and the teams which win Division 1 and Division 2 tangle Sunday in the finals.

Division 1 consists of the Nos. 1-4-5-8 seeds while Division 2 is the Nos. 2-3-6-7 seeds through the 27-game Big 12 round-robin format (nine three-game series). League coaches have noted that the pool format (similar to Olympic, international and World Baseball Classic competition) gives teams time to prepare their pitching staffs for a maximum of four games over four days. The old double-elimination format allowed some teams to go to the finals with a 3-0 record while others had to fight their way through the losers’ bracket and play a sixth game in four days.

Nebraska (2000, ‘05) and Texas (2002, ‘03) earned their postseason championship trophies “the hard way” with a fifth win and gave fans of the joust plenty of bonus baseball action.

This year’s determining factors in a situation where three teams in a division are 2-1 while the other school is 0-3 is, first, head-to-head competition, and, second, how the teams finished in the regular-season Big 12 race. It could become interesting before Saturday’s four contests, which in the past could have been between two and four tilts in the double-elimination competition.

In the meantime, a look at the eight competing teams produces a plethora of Top 25 national ratings, some of the best pitching this side of the Rio Grande and evenly-matched teams in the 10th anniversary tradition of this championship.

One ongoing trend is that the No. 1 seed in the meet will be a force. These squads have been 30-12 (.714 winning percentage) with three titles and three second-place finishes. The No. 3 seed is next on the championships’ list with three while the Nos. 2-4-5 bracketed squads share one crown apiece. No. 5 seed Nebraska downed No. 2 Baylor in 1999 for the top spot in the biggest “upset” in the finals.

Texas (38-18, 19-7 Big 12) won its third Big 12 baseball title in 2006 and is the No. 1 seed. Oklahoma State (39-15, 18-9) is the No. 2 seed after sweeping No. 8 seed Texas Tech (31-23-1, 9-16-1) over the weekend in Stillwater.

Oklahoma (39-17, 17-10) wrapped up the No. 3 seed after defeating co-third-place finishing Nebraska (39-14, 17-10) twice in three meetings Friday-Sunday at Lincoln, Neb., as the Huskers dropped to fourth seed. No. 5 seed is Baylor (34-22, 13-14), which tied Kansas for fifth place but gained the seed by downing the Jayhawks (38-23, 13-14) twice in three Big 12 meetings. Missouri (29-24, 12-15) nailed down the No. 7 seed after sweeping third-ranked-nationally Texas in Columbia, Mo., to close the regular season.





Big 12 Tournament



At Bricktown Ballpark • OKC

WEDNESDAY, MAY 24

Game 1: #4 Nebraska vs. #5 Baylor, 10 a.m.

Game 2: #1 Texas vs. #8 Texas Tech, 1 p.m.

Game 3: #3 Oklahoma vs. #6 Kansas, 5 p.m.

Game 4: #2 Oklahoma State vs. #7 Missouri

THURSDAY, MAY 25

Game 6: #1 Texas vs. #5 Baylor, 5 p.m.

Game 7: #4 Nebraska vs. #8 Texas Tech, 8 p.m.

FRIDAY, MAY 26

Game 8: #3 Oklahoma vs. #7 Missouri, 5 p.m.

Game 9: #2 Oklahoma State vs. #6 Kansas, 8 p.m.

SATURDAY, MAY 27

Game 10: #5 Baylor vs. #8 Texas Tech, 10 a.m.

Game 11: #1 Texas vs. #4 Nebraska, 1 p.m.

Game 12: #2 Oklahoma State vs. #3 Oklahoma, 5 p.m.

Game 13: #6 Kansas vs. #7 Missouri, 8 p.m.

SUNDAY, MAY 28

Championship Game

Division 1 winner vs. Division 2 winner, 1 p.m.

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