Thursday, February 18, 2021

Bubble watch: Big 12

The thing that strikes me here is the top-heavy nature of the conference.  How do you get a conference that sends 7 of 10 teams to the tournament?  The biggest step is making sure the other 3 teams are terrible (and they are).

The next step is relatively strong SoS numbers, which they seem to have done.  And outside of Baylor, they're distributing wins pretty evenly in conference play.  All the good teams are failing to separate from each other in the middle of this conference, which just means everyone has a pile of quality wins.  I feel pretty confident that they'll have 5 teams in the top 16 on the S-Curve at least (and easily could get to 6).  It's just that I don't think we'll know which ones, and in what order, until the conference tournament.


Baylor (17-0) (9-0) NET 2 SoS 163
Vital signs:  6-0 vs. Q1, 2-0 vs. Q1, 9-0 R/N
Signature wins:  N-Illinois, @Texas Tech, @Texas

The SoS number isn't great.  That's really the only issue.  Non-con cupcakes are kinda killing it.  That said, in this environment, I don't think it's as big a deal this year.

Kansas (15-7) (10-5) NET 21 SoS 43
Vital signs:  4-7 vs. Q1, 3-0 vs. Q2, 6-6 R/N
Signature wins:  @TTU, WVU, Oklahoma
Bad losses:  not even close to one

Their usual SoS numbers are down; no big deal.  Their resume features a lot of quality win chances....and more misses than hits.  They're not going to enjoy their usual lofty seed, but they're safely in the field...and they still have signature win chances on the board.  This looks like the type of team that goes 19-10 and ends up on the 4 line.

Oklahoma (13-5) (8-4) NET 18 SoS 20
Vital signs:  5-5 vs. Q1, 1-0 vs. Q2, 3-4 R/N
Signature wins:  Alabama, swept WVU
Bad losses:  @Xavier, but that probably doesn't even count as one

Polarizing resume with just 2 games in Q2/Q3.  .500 is a fine enough record in Q1 games.  A resume with no major holes, but also no starring feature that gives them a chance at the 2 line, at least for now.  And I don't see signature win chances coming, so this seed may be lower than people think in March.

Texas (13-5) (7-4) NET 22 SoS 5
Vital signs:  3-5 vs. Q1, 3-0 vs. Q2, 6-1 R/N
Signature wins:  @WVU, @Kansas, N-Indiana?
Bad losses:  none

Strong SoS numbers and a VERY strong road/neutral record means they're in a very good position for a protected seed.  Home losses against elite competition is forgivable.  With more quality win chances coming, a sleeper candidate to move up to the top 2 lines.

Texas Tech (14-6) (6-5) NET 15 SoS 40
Vital signs:  4-5 vs. Q1, 1-1 vs. Q2, 6-2 R/N
Signature wins:  @Oklahoma, @Texas, @LSU
Bad losses:  I suppose home to OSU technically has to be listed here?

Another sterling road/neutral record, and again, a couple home losses against elite competition.  Just like Texas, a sleeper candidate to move up to the top 2 lines.

West Virginia (14-6) (7-4) NET 17 SoS 7
Vital signs:  5-6 vs. Q1, 4-0 vs. Q2, 8-3 R/N
Signature wins:  swept TTU, @OSU
Bad losses:  nah

Strong SoS numbers, and another team with massive road/neutral splits.  The schedule isn't as accodomating for quality win chances like the other teams above them, so they may be out of reach of the 2 line.


Oklahoma St (14-6) (7-6) NET 39 SoS 75
Vital signs:  4-4 Q1, 2-1 vs. Q2, 6-3 R/N
Signature wins:  @TTU, Kansas, Texas
Bad losses:  swept by TCU?!

That bad sweep keeps them out of the lockbox for now.  It's the only resume flaw, really. 

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