It’s that time of the year when we start preparing for March Madness and the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Selection Sunday is March 13th but there’s always a lot of speculation leading up to the moment where the teams and seedings for the tournament are announced. Let’s take a look at the Big 12 and where they stand heading into March Madness!
The Big 12 is quite arguably the best conference in college basketball from top to bottom. With that being said, what teams can we expect to see dancing this year?
Let’s start with a couple of obvious teams. The Kansas Jayhawks are currently being projected as a #1 seed. KU currently holds a 2-game lead in the conference race over the Baylor Bears and the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The ‘Hawks played Baylor on February 26th, and even if they lost, that would put them a game over Baylor. A win in Waco would end the Bears conference championship hopes.
Baylor, the defending national champions, are projecting out as #2 seed. Baylor is currently 23-5 and 11-4 in the conference. Texas Tech, who is possibly playing the best in the conference right now, is projected as a #3 seed. Currently 22-6 and 11-4 in the conference, they only have 3 games left so they’ll need a lot of help to claim the Big 12 championship.
The Texas Longhorns are projecting to be a #5 seed. Of their 8 losses, 6 of them are to ranked teams. Is it just me, or do the Longhorns never seem to play up to their potential? Maybe this year will be different considering that Chris Beard is their coach now. It will be interesting to see how far they advance.
Iowa State is quite possibly the best story of the Big 12 this year. Currently at 18-9, the Cyclones are projected as a #9 seed. Not too bad for a team that went 2-22 last year, including 0-18 in the Big 12. A plethora of transfers and a new coach has the Cyclones on the verge of a tournament invitation. Incredible.
The last Big 12 team to make it into the tournament is TCU. After finishing 12-14 a year ago, the Horned Frogs have righted the ship are currently 17-8. However, 4 of their last 5 games are against Texas, Texas Tech and two games against KU. They could easily be 17-12 after that stretch. However, if they are able to get 1 or 2 wins, they will cement their case for the tournament.
Kansas State, Oklahoma and West Virginia are all possibly in line to play in the NIT tournament. Even though they’re in the bottom of the Big 12, all of them are at .500 or better. The only team that won’t be playing this postseason is Oklahoma State and that’s because they’re ineligible for the postseason this year due to infraction penalties.
This should be an amazing tournament and hopefully the Big 12 will be well represented in the Sweet 16 and beyond!
–Rob Mooney | Metro Voice sports writer