Joe Lunardi’s newest ESPN.com ‘Bracketology’ saw the Kansas Jayhawks take a dip in seeding, while the Big 12’s six remaining teams saw some movement.
Lunardi’s latest 68-team bracket, released on Jan. 26, has seven Big 12 teams in the field, second only to the Big Ten’s 11 teams.
Kansas still feels like a NCAA Tournament-worthy team, but after losses to Baylor and Oklahoma last week, Lunardi had no choice but to drop the Jayhawks from a No. 3 seed to a No. 4 seed. That puts the Jayhawks in the Region 4, where they would play Winthrop in the first round.
Baylor remained a No. 1 seed, and remained one of the two No. 1 seeds that would receive a First Four opponent in the field — the other being Gonzaga. The Bears remained in Region 2 and in Lunardi’s view would play either South Dakota or Montana State in the first round.
Texas didn’t play a game last week due to COVID protocols at Iowa State and TCU, but that didn’t hurt the Longhorn’s seeding in Lunardi’s view. The Longhorns remained a No. 2 seed in Region 3, with a projected first-round meeting against Northeastern. Texas head coach Shaka Smart tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be on the bench for the Longhorns this week.
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West Virginia defeated Kansas State on Saturday, its first game in two weeks due to COVID protocols within in the Mountaineers’ program. The Mountaineers then followed that up with a huge win at home over Texas Tech on Monday night. With that win, West Virginia remained a No. 4 seed per Lunardi, and would face Belmont in the first round in Region 1.
Like Texas, Texas Tech wasn’t able to play last week, as the Red Raiders were also set to play both Iowa State and TCU. The Red Raiders lost to West Virginia on Monday, and in Lunardi’s view that necessitated a seed drop for the Red Raiders, who are now a No. 5 seed in Region 4 and would take on St. Bonaventure in the first round.
Oklahoma’s big week further solidified the Sooners as a NCAA Tournament team. The Sooners beat Kansas State and then-No. 9 Kansas a week ago. The Sooners moved up from a No. 9 seed in Lunardi’s last update to a No. 7 seed in Region 3, where they would play LSU in the first round.
Oklahoma State fell to Baylor after a week off due to COVID protocols, and then beat Iowa State on the road on Monday night. The Cowboys remained a No. 8 seed, and in this update the Cowboys found themselves in Region 3 facing Xavier in the first round.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard. Send him a tweet with your question to be included in this week’s Big 12 Basketball Mailbag, which appears each Friday during the conference season.
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