Monday, March 6, 2017

Big 12 conference tournament preview

This is part 20 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country.  We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.

The standings:
Kansas 16-2
West Virginia 12-6
Baylor 12-6
Iowa St 12-6
Oklahoma St 9-9
Kansas St 8-10
Texas Tech 6-12
TCU 6-12
Oklahoma 5-13
Texas 4-14

Tournament format:
Wednesday March 8 to Saturday March 11.  Kansas City is the neutral site host.

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

The stakes:
I think Kansas controls its own destiny for the #1 overall seed.  It's close, but I like their resume over Nova and UNC and Gonzaga.  I reserve the right to revisit this, because the Big 12 bracket doesn't set up well for them.  Only one more chance at a signature win lurks at the end of the bracket, ISU or OSU won't help the resume much.

I don't think Baylor can get to the 1 line; they'll be playing to stay on the 2 line.  They might need to win the tournament to do that though.  If you figure Kansas, Nova, UNC, Gonzaga, the Pac-12 champ, and the SEC champ are on the top 2 lines, that leaves 2 spots left for the group of Louisville, Baylor, the SEC loser, and the Pac-12 losers.  Crowded.

West Virginia is like Butler in that their marginal losses here and there put a cap on their seed.  Tough to justify moving them above a 4 even if they add more signature wins.

Iowa St/Oklahoma St will be for seeding...could see the winner as a 6 seed.

Bubble fun!  Kansas St definitely needs to beat Baylor, and maybe more.  Simple as that.

TCU is just about out of it, but if they beat Kansas and the ISU/OSU winner?  Probably not, but we can revisit.  I suppose this statement also qualifies for Texas Tech on the other side of the bracket.  Of bigger concern might be the NIT.  Both teams could be surprise omissions from that tournament, IMO.  Less spots available than you think.

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