Both teams are safely in the NCAA Tournament field, seeded at least as high as sixth, but don't tell the 11th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers or the No. 23 Iowa State Cyclones that there's nothing to play for in the Big 12 tournament final on Saturday.
The Cyclones took a 41-31 lead with 18:33 left to play on back-to-back 3-pointers from Burton and Thomas, that after Iowa State made just two 3s in the first half.
They avenged that defeat in a big way at the Sprint Center.
Jevon Carter had 18 points for West Virginia, which will no doubt rue its 8-for-17 shooting from the foul line. West Virginia is also 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven versus the Big 12, and 1-8 ATS in their last nine Saturday games. Matt Thomas joined Morris and Burton on the all-tournament team by scoring 12 points. Now it has won 10 of its last 12 games and will become the first Division I men's basketball team from the state of Iowa to make six-straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
"No matter what, we just do our best to try to find a way to win", said Carter, the Big 12 defensive player of the year and a second-team All-Big 12 guard. The Wolfpack swept the Mountain West Conference regular-season and post-season championships. Point guard Monte Morris, who finished with 17 points and six rebounds, has enjoyed all three.
These two teams tied for second place in the Big 12 this season at 12-6, and are shoo-ins for the NCAA tournament.
Deonte Burton recorded 16 points.
"If they were to not make the tournament, I would point to ... the rough stretch they had kind of mid-season in the Big 12 and the fact that they just didn't do anything of significance at all in the non-conference", Creme said. The Mustangs won the title in 2015.
The Mountaineers, who registered the second-lowest score by a winning team in tournament history in Friday's 51-50 semifinal, reached double figures Saturday after 4 minutes, 55 seconds on a 3 from Carter.
Juwan Evans poured in 29 points as he tried to keep the Cowboys (21-11) afloat.
Deonte Burton tallied his 13 20-point game of his career by netting 22 points, but he helped out in many other areas in the Cyclone victory.
Walton had a hand in 18 consecutive MI points down the stretch, grabbing the rebound of a Minnesota miss that helped seal it.
"If you don't win the league outright, this is a chance to get that back", Morris said, "and we definitely did that tonight". Well, if seeding holds up, it would face regional No. 1 seed Kansas in the round of 16. Much of that should be credited to the way Iowa State finished the first half. Morris led the Cyclones with 11 points and Bowie had 10 before intermission.