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Big 12 NCAA Tournament Prospects

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Thanks to the Red Raider's upset win in College Station, there is now a two-way tie atop the Big 12 standings with just two weeks remaining. Texas A&M and Kansas are both 10-2, but it should be mentioned that the Aggies beat the Jayhawks in their only regular season meeting. Texas is just a game back at 9-3 after wins over Oklahoma State and Baylor.  Kansas State, aided by North scheduling, stands at 8-4, and Texas Tech and Oklahoma are tied for fifth at 6-6.

Kansas and A&M are locks to make the NCAA tournament, and with at least one win in their last four, the Longhorns will likely be NCAA tournament bound as well. The picture for a fourth and possibly fifth Big 12 bid remains unclear and is getting murkier by the game.

Kansas State really hurt their chances at an at-large bid with their loss at Nebraska last Tuesday night. The Wildcats did rebound to beat Iowa State over the weekend, though. With an RPI in the mid 50s and only two wins over top 50 teams, there is work left to be done. Bob Huggins gets a chance for his first signature win tonight as Kansas visits Manhattan. Win tonight at they are in much, much better shape; lose tonight and KSU will need to win two of their last three and win at least one game in the Big 12 tourney to have a legitimate case.

Although Texas Tech is just 17-10, they now have three wins over top 10 teams on their resume. Even if they lose in Austin on Tuesday night, Tech has a real shot of winning their last three and finishing 9-7 in conference. I was more than ready to write the Red Raiders off after they dropped five in a row, but with a decent RPI and an above .500 finish in conference, Bobby Knight's club could snag the Big 12's fourth bid.

Perhaps no team has fallen harder and faster than Oklahoma State. Sean Sutton's team has lost four of their last five, and now faces an uphill battle to reach 8-8 in conference. Three of their last five are on the road, where they remain winless on the season, and they still must face A&M and Kansas State at home. Despite a non-conference win over Pittsburgh and a decent RPI, OSU will probably fall from a top 20 team in early February to the NIT by March.

Any hopes of an NCAA tourney berth for Oklahoma were completely dashed with losses to Iowa State and A&M this past week. With four tough games to finish the season and an RPI in the 80s, the Sooners are destined for the NIT, at best, this season.

With two weeks remaining in conference play plus the Big 12 tournament in Oklahoma City, the Big 12 is positioned for probably four bids with an outside shot at five.

--AW--