The Big 12 is not looking too hot as a basketball conference this year. The national consensus favors the Big 10 or the Big East as the best with the ACC running a solid third. The Big 12 is not even considered in the discussion.
In the latest NCAA tournament projections by Joe Lunardi from ESPN, the Big 12 grabs a pathetic three bids: Texas a #2 seed, Iowa State a #7 seed, and Nebraska a #12 seed. Lunardi has OU on the outside looking in with Kansas and Kansas State among the last four left out.
In Jeff Sagarin's latest computer rankings (through Sunday) the Big 12 is not regarded any higher. By his central mean method, the Big 12 is the sixth best conference. Through a simple average rating of all twelve teams, the Big 12 is slightly better as the fifth best conference. Only Texas (2) and Colorado (30) are ranked in his top 50.
Last, Jerry Palm's College RPI.com website is no kinder. Texas is the highest Big 12 team at number 26. The only other team in the top 50 is Kansas State at 38. Oklahoma follows at 54 and then Colorado at 65.
What does this all mean? Computers, polls, and rankings are used at season's end to determine berths and seeding in the NCAA tournament. However, once that happens, the numbers are useless. Whoever is able to win six straight games over three weekends wins the national championship. For the Horns, these numbers are not too important. If Texas plays well the rest of the year, they will likely receive a 1, 2, or 3 seed. At this point, the Horns are virtually assured of making the tournament. Unfortunately, I don't think there is another Big 12 team that could say the same thing right now. Oklahoma and Iowa State should join the Horns in the Big Dance. Kansas and Oklahoma State have the talent to make the post season but are not there yet. Nebraska, Kansas State, Missouri, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, and Colorado will probably be competing for a single spot. Baylor has no shot at the NCAAs.