For the second week in a row, the Big 12 has seven teams in ESPN’s most recent Bracketology for the Women’s NCAA Tournament next March.
But there is one team that is right on the bubble. Think you know who it is? Here are three thoughts on ESPN’s latest Women’s Bracketology from a Big 12 perspective.
Kansas State’s Bubble Status
The Kansas State Wildcats — who have been firmly in the field for most of the season — are now firmly on the bubble after a 1-2 start to Big 12 action. In fact, the Wildcats are now the last team in the 68-team field.
That loss to West Virginia on Saturday certainly didn’t help the Wildcats’ status. How much help might they get in the games to come?
Next up for the Wildcats is an Iowa State team trying to regroup after losing center Stephanie Soares for the season. The Cyclones are still quite talented. Next is a home game with Texas Tech, and that’s a game the Wildcats need to win because right around the corner is Baylor.
At the start of league action, I wrote that 20 wins before the Big 12 Tournament basically gets you into the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats have 12 right now. So eight more with 15 remaining games? K-State has some work to do.
Baylor on the Rise
Baylor did something it had never done before last week, beating a pair of Top 25 teams on the road back-to-back. Meanwhile, guard Sarah Andrews and guard/forward Darianna Littlepage-Buggs swept the Big 12’s player awards for the week.
Baylor’s reward? A Top 4 seed.
That’s a big deal in the women’s tournament because at the Top 16 seeds host a sub-regional, giving those teams a decided advantage. Last year four Big 12 teams hosted and two — Iowa State and Texas — advanced to the Sweet 16.
Baylor is starting to settle in with its chemistry and should be able to slide Aijha Blackwell in when she’s ready. The Bears are also the only undefeated team left in league play. I don’t expect the Bears to run the table, but they’ll be in the race for the regular-season title right to the end, and that should help their cause for a Top 16 seed.
A Win Over Texas Means …
Oklahoma State is off the bubble and solidly in the field … for now. The Cowgirls beat Texas at home on Saturday. Before the game, they were in the field but on the bubble. That win meant a two-seed jump for the Cowgirls.
The Cowgirls are now a No. 9 seed. That’s better than Texas, which drops to a No. 10 seed. It also put Texas among the Top Four Byes, which is the run before you land on the bubble. I don’t expect Texas to slide further.
Oklahoma State goes to Baylor later this week and hosts TCU this weekend. Beating Baylor will be tough, so beating TCU will be critical to keeping the Cowgirls in the field.
Big 12 Teams in Projected Women’s Field
The Big 12 has seven teams in the field. The seeds include:
Iowa State, No. 3 seed (Seattle Region), vs. Ball State, Ames, Iowa. (moved up in seeding from last week)
Baylor, No. 4 seed (Seattle Region), vs. Penn, Waco, Texas (moved up two seeds from last week)
Kansas, No. 6 seed (Greenville Region) vs. Mississippi State or Nebraska in Durham, N.C. (dropped two seeds from last week)
Oklahoma, No. 5 seed (Seattle Region), vs. UNLV, Tucson, Ariz. (no change in seed)
Oklahoma State, No. 9 seed (Greenville Region) vs. Colorado, Columbia, S.C. (OSU moved up two seeds)
Texas, No. 10 seed (Greenville Region), vs. Illinois, Salt Lake City, Utah (dropped one seed from last week)
Kansas State, No. 11 seed (Greenville Region), vs. Miami in a First Four Game in Los Angeles, Calif. (dropped one seed from last week)
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.