The brackets are set, and let the March Madness begin! The Selection Committee made its decisions on Sunday evening and seven Big 12 teams made the NCAA Tournament. Here are a few thoughts on the draw that each team received and what it all means.
Kansas Jayhawks: 1 Seed (Midwest Region)
The Jayhawks get the No. 1 seed in the Midwest as expected. Auburn is a solid No. 4 seed that the Jayhawks may need to deal with. But before that it’s a meeting with either Seton Hall or NC State. The Wolfpack have a history of surpassing expectations as a mid-seed. In 2015, they beat No. 1 Villanova in the second round. In fact, NC State has reached the Sweet 16 as an 8 seed or lower three times in the past 13 years. Of course, if we get this far, a Kansas vs. Duke Regional Final is about as appealing as it gets.
Texas Tech Red Raiders: 3 Seed (East Region)
Texas Tech will play Stephen F. Austin in Dallas. Shoutout to our own Matthew Postins. He’s a SFA alum, covers the Big 12 for us, and lives in DFW. Talk about a dream come true. The draw for the Red Raiders isn’t all that bad until the second weekend. I’m not a fan of Florida, who has lost four of its last seven games to close the season, but a match up against Purdue could spell trouble in the Sweet 16. the Boilermakers have a size and strength that no one else in the Big 12 possesses at the moment (maybe WVU?).
West Virginia Mountaineers: 5 seed (East Region)
The Mountaineers draw the dreaded No. 5 seed. I’m a bit surprised considering their run to the Big 12 Tournament title game. They’ll play the Murray State Racers, who are no stranger to the NCAA Tournament. Murray State is riding high on a 12-game winning streak. Their last loss came on January 18th. Their non-conference wasn’t that strong, but they did play Auburn tight, losing by four points. If the Mountaineers can get by Wichita State/Marshall, they could find themselves in a Sweet 16 match up against Villanova. A nice throwback Big East battle.
TCU Horned Frogs: 6 Seed (Midwest Region)
It’s a tough spot for TCU. Sure they get a team that will have already played one of the “First Four”, but damn, it could be Syracuse with Jim Boeheim, who reached a Final Four two years ago as a 10 seed and is one of the best coaches in the game. After that, hello… Tom Izzo! And if they get through that… hi Coach K (possibly)! Jamie Dixon is a great coach, but even he’s got to be wondering what he did wrong to get these potential match ups. TCU is a good team and the defense is improving, but boy this is a lot to ask.
Kansas State Wildcats: 9 Seed (South Region)
The Wildcats get a tough draw with Creighton out of the Big East, and then it’s likely Virginia. Creighton has beaten Villanova this season and the Cavaliers are the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. The other side of the bracket features Kentucky and Arizona. Congrats, Wildcats! All season long the Wildcats seemed to be getting disrespected by the committee. K-State never had that great conference win this season, losing all its games to Kansas, Texas Tech and West Virginia, but they won all the games they were supposed to win. This is going to be a very tough road for Dean Wade, Barry Brown and company.
Oklahoma Sooners: 10 Seed (Midwest Region)
How are they in this darn thing? I have no idea. Oh wait, yes I do. It’s called TV ratings. If there was no Trae Young, the Sooners would not be in this Tournament. I’m convinced of that. The committee would love to get Trae Young vs. Coach K, Marvin Bagley and Duke in the second round. Will they get it? Good luck. Rhode Island lost the A-10 Final, but is a great program under Dan Hurley. I’d be shocked if OU even reached the weekend. However, CBS/Turner is certainly hoping they do!
Texas Longhorns: 10 Seed (South Region)
The Longhorns get Nevada, and then it’s 2 seed Cincinnati or 15 seed Georgia State. Nevada has actually played two Big 12 teams this season, losing to Texas Tech by six in overtime and then TCU by four. But they lost to San Diego State twice in the final two weeks of the season. If Texas can advance, they’ll get Cincinnati or Georgia State (15 seed, but just saying). Cinci has won seven-straight games, but the Bearcats are overrated as a No. 2 seed. They beat up UCLA in the non-conference, but lost their other Power 5 games to Xavier and Florida. Texas actually got a solid draw to possibly reach the Sweet 16. But is Mo Bamba fully healthy?