Three Thoughts on Big 12 Men’s Basketball Bracketology for Feb. 7
The Big 12 has eight teams in the men’s basketball bracket in the latest ESPN Bracketology for the Men’s NCAA Tournament next March.
Who’s moving up and who’s moving down? Let’s dig into this week’s update.
The Noah’s Ark Problem
It’s a nice problem to have and it speaks to the quality of the Big 12.
As Lunardi told ESPN on Monday night at halftime of the Kansas-Texas game, there are six teams in the Big 12 among the Top 16 teams in his bracket. That didn’t change on Tuesday. For the Tournament selection committee, that can be a potential issue. It tries to keep a conference’s top four teams in separate regions. But what if you have six Top Four seeds? You can’t do that.
So it opens up the possibility of an All-Big 12 Sweet 16 or Elite Eight matchup if these seeds hold. Given the overall quality of the league, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Because the Ken Pom and the NCAA Net scores are so good for this league, teams that win don’t get too much help and teams that lose aren’t punished too much.
It also helps pull up other teams, as you’ll see.
On the Bubble, Naturally
The dream of nine Big 12 teams in the tournament is still alive. In this update, West Virginia and Oklahoma are among the Last Four In, while Oklahoma is among the First Four Out.
West Virginia has been hovering around either Last Four Byes or First Four in for a while now. Their Ken Pom and NCAA Net ratings are ridiculous for a team with just three league wins — No. 20 in NCAA NET and No. 14 in Ken Pom. The Mountaineers host Iowa State on Wednesday. That would be a big win for WVU.
Oklahoma State now has to play without guard Avery Anderson III, who will have wrist surgery. The Cowboys have been the hottest team in the Big 12 the last three weeks, winning five of their last six and sweeping Bedlam.
Oklahoma is on the outside looking in and, according to Lunardi, the Sooners have the most work left to do.
“You look at their resume, they have one really special win (Alabama) and that’s not going to be enough, I don’t think at the end of the day, unless they can pick up a game or two somewhere on the road that they’re not supposed to,” Lunardi said.
That’s exactly the opportunity that Oklahoma has on Wednesday at No. 14 Baylor.
Speaking of Baylor
The Bears remained a No. 4 seed this week, and the return of Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua to the lineup has Lunardi bullish on the Bears, perhaps, reaching a No. 2 seed by March Madness.
“Baylor is closer to a full deck,” Lunardi said. “In the next update I’ll have them as a No. 3, and then I think that they can get to it to a No. 2. I don’t think (No. 1) is within range unless they really ran the table and maybe won the Big 12 Tournament but that’s asking a lot.”
Baylor still has plenty of chances ahead to change Lunardi’s mind. Five of their remaining games are against Top 25 Big 12 teams.
Big 12 Teams in Projected Field
The eight Big 12 teams in the current projected field are:
Kansas, No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region (Kansas City) vs. Vermont in Des Moines, Iowa
Texas, No. 2 seed in the West Region (Las Vegas) vs. Youngstown State in Denver, Colo.
Baylor, No. 3 seed in the East Region (New York) vs. UC Santa Barbara in Denver, Colo.
Iowa State, No. 3 seed in the South Region (Louisville) vs. Eastern Washington in Des Moines, Iowa
Kansas State, No. 4 seed in the Midwest Region (Kansas City) vs. Hofstra in Albany, NY
TCU, No. 4 seed in the East Region (New York) vs. Louisiana in Orlando, Fla.
West Virginia, No. 10 seed in the East Region (New York) vs. Duke in Greensboro, NC.
Oklahoma State, No.11 seed in the West Region (Las Vegas) vs. Boise State in First Four game in Dayton, Ohio
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.