Monday, March 7, 2016

Big 12 conference tournament preview

This is part 21 of a 32-part series that will take a look at every conference and conference tournament in the country.  We'll recap who's playing and what the stakes are for each team in the conference.

The standings:
Kansas 15-3 (27-4)
West Virginia 13-5 (24-7)
Oklahoma 12-6 (24-6)
Texas 11-7 (20-11)
Baylor 10-8 (21-10)
Iowa St 10-8 (21-10)
Texas Tech 9-9 (19-11)
Kansas St 5-13 (16-15)
Oklahoma St 3-15 (12-19)
TCU 2-16 (11-20)

Tournament format:
Kansas City, Wednesday March 9 to Saturday March 12.

The matchups:
1) Kansas vs. 8/9) Kansas St/Oklahoma St
4) Texas vs. 5) Baylor
2) West Virginia vs. 7/10) Texas Tech/TCU
3) Oklahoma vs. 6) Iowa St

The stakes:
Kansas is the #1 overall seed.  Deal with it.

Can Oklahoma get to the 1 line?  I can see it.  Beat Kansas first, though, win this conference tournament.  Then a 1 line of Kansas, Oklahoma, ACC champ, and Big East champ?  That works.  I want to say they'd have a 90% chance of the 1 line this way.  With any loss, they're probably stuck on the 2 line.  West Virginia is a trickier case because the non-con resume isn't that great.  I think the 1 line is out of reach for this reason, but their peak can still be the 2 line.  A bad loss can drop them to the 4 line, perhaps.

Let's look at the Iowa St/Baylor/Texas hierarchy for the moment.  I think Baylor is a half-step behind the other two at the moment.  They don't have the same high-end wins as the other two.  Of course, Baylor and Texas play each other.  So Baylor has one chance to make up ground.  Between Texas and Iowa St, I'm starting to lean towards Texas maybe.  Better SoS, just a couple more quality wins...but it's pretty razor thin.  Obviously ISU can help itself with another signature win, but Texas has a more manageable quarterfinal game.  In the end, I think you can argue for either ISU or Texas being higher and it'd be reasonable.  Why is this important, though?  Because I think there's room for one of these (or maybe both!) on the 4 line.  And if either runs the table this the 2 line reachable?  I mean, an Iowa St run through OU/WVU/KU, or a Texas run through Baylor/KU/OU...think about it.

Texas Tech is probably safe.  As much as I see through their fraudulent computer numbers...there's enough quality wins here.

Will the NIT take a 5-13 Big 12 team as an at-large?  In the end, I'm guessing not.  Sorry, K-State.

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