The race for the Big 12 crown may be a two-team affair, but below that there's a mad scramble among tournament bubble teams jockeying for position. The Big 12 race as we hit the home stretch:
Both teams could really use this game, but Oklahoma State - despite winning five in a row to get back in contention - finds itself in the more dire situation. A loss at home to the Sooners drops the Pokes to 7-8 heading into a tough season finale in Austin, which means their best chance to play their way into the field of 64 probably includes a win this evening over Oklahoma. For the Sooners, they can greatly firm up their NCAA tournament chances with a much-needed conference road win. On the season, OU does have Big 12 road victories over Baylor and Texas Tech, but losses at Colorado and Nebraska don't look very good. With a very winnable game to close the season against Missouri in Norman, this win would go a long way toward's easing the fear of life on the bubble.
Is this a must-win game for Mark Turgeon's Aggies? Considering their season finale is against Kansas, probably so. A loss tonight drops the slumping Agros to a game under .500 in conference, putting them in the unenviable position of having to upset Kansas to get to 8-8. Remember that no team in Big 12 history has gotten into the NCAA tournament with less than an even mark in conference play. For Baylor, a win tonight all but locks them into the NCAAs and gives them an inside track to the coveted first-round bye in the Big 12 tournament. A loss puts them in the difficult position of having to win in Lubbock to stay above the break-even mark; win tonight and everything falls into place.