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State of the Big 12

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As President Bush offers yet another State of the Union address tonight, BON offers you the State of the Big 12 as we near the halfway point. Sadly, March Madness will come and go too quickly. But even more sadly, we can't say goodbye to the Bush presidency for another three years.

Contenders
Texas (17-3, 5-1) The Horns, even after the loss to OU, are the clear frontrunners. Texas has both outside and inside threats and defends with the best teams in the country. Aldridge or Tucker should walk away with Player of the Year honors. Texas is still capable of securing a number 1 seed.

OU (13-4, 4-2) The Sooners got their biggest win of the season against us. Up until Saturday night, this team had not shown its true potential. Taj Gray, Kevin Bookout, and Terrell Everett present a potent offensive attack. When they all show up, OU is tough to beat. The Sooners could get as high as a three or four seed in March.

Bridesmaids
Kansas (14-6, 5-2) Bill Self may have this team playing as well as anyone come tourney time. The Jayhawks are 11-2 in their last 13 games. Eight of their top ten players are freshman or sophomores lead by Brandon Rush. Rush is the best freshman in the conference and one of the top first year players in the country. No real big time scorers besides Rush though. KU will be tough second round opponent for a top seed.

Colorado (15-3, 5-2) The Buffs snuck into the top 25 this week. I am still not sold on them. They are likely a tourney team but not a scary opponent. Not much to be worried about besides Richard Roby. I expect this team to falter some down the stretch conference run. A double digit at-large selection is within reach though.

Bubble Worthy
Kansas State (12-5, 3-3) The Wildcats have a dozen wins but only one is impressive (at Kansas). I haven't seen them play much this year. If the Big 12 gets five bids, they will make it. If too many regular season mid major champs get upset in their conference tourneys, KSU could easily be NIT bound.

Iowa State (13-7, 3-4) Back to back home losses are surprising and present an uphill battle toward the NCAAs. Will Blalock and Curtis Stinson are a formidable backcourt. Unfortunately, not much else is going right in Ames. The Cyclones must finish strong to have any legitimate shot at an NCAA berth.

NIT Bound
Nebraska (13-6, 3-3) The Huskers have lost three of their last four and beating Missouri isn't as impressive as it used to be. They have enough out of conference wins to make the NIT.

A&M (13-5, 3-4) The Aggies visit Austin on Saturday. All their conference games have been close but they haven't been able to close the deal. It might help to schedule an out of conference road game next year. This team is improved but not there yet.

Oklahoma State (12-8, 2-4) There will not be a more talented team that misses the NCAA tournament. The 34 point loss in Austin has sent the Cowboys into a tailspin. A little defense wouldn't hurt. OSU has given up 80 or more in each of their last three losses.

Sadness
Missouri (10-8, 3-4) This season quickly turned into the Quinn Snyder farewell tour. No one in college basketball has worse hair. The Tigers have lost four of five and host the angry Horns on Wednesday night. The home opening loss to Sam Houston State said it all.

Texas Tech (11-10, 3-4) This is by far the worst Tech team since Coach Knight arrived. I still respect and admire Bobby but his team is terrible. It would help if more than two players could find the basket. An NIT bid seems like a reach.

Baylor (0-6, 0-6) An unfair punishment may prevent the Bears from experiencing victory at all this year. They still have homes games with A&M, Iowa State, and Tech. Let's all pull for Baylor to get at least one.

If the season ended today, the Big 12 would get four bids for sure. Kansas State might snag a fifth but they don't really deserve it. Keep in mind though that most teams have ten conference games left. There is still plenty of time to salvage a season and maybe a job.

--AW--