The Big 12 has been the most dominant basketball conference and it is not even close. A few weeks ago the Big 12 was potentially going to be the first conference to have 6 teams in the top four seeds. This included Kansas, Kansas State, Texas, Baylor, Iowa State, and TCU, Unfortunately, Iowa State has dropped from the AP top 25 and the chances of this occurring are not very likely. 

Currently, they have 5 teams in the top 25, but #22 TCU is barely hanging on at the moment. When it comes to the tournament, the Big 12 has 7 teams that are projected to make it. To add to that Oklahoma State, the eighth-best team in the conference is on the bubble. The Big 12 dominance this year has been fun to watch, but which teams should we be watching for in March?

The Best

There are four teams that should be easily into the Sweet 16 of the tourney. Texas, Kansas, Baylor, and Kansas State have done more than enough to show that they are solid contenders. Each team is efficient and has played well given their strength of schedule. All four of these teams fall in the top 20 of the Ken Pom rankings. 

They all play good basketball and that isn’t going to change in the next few weeks. All of these teams should be circled in your bracket especially considering the competition they have faced. 

Who is the Most Underrated?

Kansas State is one of my favorite teams in the Big 12. They are good on both sides of the ball and have been able to compete with every team in the Big 12. They are 9-7 vs Quad 1 teams and have the 16th hardest strength of schedule. This could potentially be a Final Four team if they are able to pick up some momentum in the tournament. Currently projected to be a top 3 seed in the tournament, they could make some noise in March.

Middle of the Pack

Next up are the mid seeds. These teams should be Iowa State and TCU. Iowa State has incredible defense and uses momentum on one side of the floor to get the job done on the other side. TCU on the other hand just gets the job done. They beat who they are supposed to beat and sneak in a few upsets every now and then. The Frogs will be attractive picks during March because they can stay in games. 3 out of the last 4 TCU games have won/lost by 5 points or less. Beating #9 Texas and knocking them out of contention for the Big 12 regular season title show how legit this team is. 

ISU has the same capability and even though they haven’t played well lately, they still have time to adjust for the tourney. Losing 4 out of the last 5 ISU is potentially dropping into the next category, but all they need to do is shore up that defense. Dismissing Caleb Grill is also going to hurt this team, but the bottom line for the Cyclones is to get some momentum in March. The win against number 10 Baylor certainly helps their case. Both Iowa State and TCU can cause some noise and potentially make a deep run, they just got to get momentum. 

Upset Central

Upset Central is what I am calling the next category. West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma fit here. The Sooners are not really here unless they win the Big 12 tourney, but who knows what can happen. The rest all have good enough teams to make an upset in the tourney. My favorite team here is West Virginia. The Mountaineers have a solid chance to force upsets and have been red hot down the stretch. Bob Huggins has his team playing well on both sides of the ball. I expect this team to be one of my upset picks if they can lock up their spot in the tourney. OSU and Tech both have solid teams, but they are going to have to push to make the bracket. Currently, both teams are on the outside looking in. OSU and Tech have the potential, but they got work to do. West Virginia is still the scariest, you definitely do not want to be on the opposite side of Bob Huggin’s team in the first round. 

Conference tournament predictions

In the first round, I expect #8 West Virginia to beat #9 Texas Tech thoroughly and #7 OSU to escape a feisty #10 Sooner squad. That creates a matchup of #1 Kansas vs # 8 West Virginia, and #2 Texas vs #7 Oklahoma State. The higher seeds should be able to handle these teams although Kansas will have to grit out a win. At the top of the bracket, #5 Iowa State will not be able to handle #4 Baylor in back-to-back games. The Bears will take on Kansas which ultimately will be the end of their tournament. At the bottom of the bracket, I have #3 Kansas State beating #6 TCU in the battle of the purple teams. KSU will use their momentum to outshoot #2 Texas, leading to a KU/KSU matchup in Kansas City. I know right. KSU wins a thriller and upsets the Jayhawks in one of the best games this year. 

Winner: Kansas State Wildcats

Top Picture by Getty Images

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.