Three Thoughts on Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology for Feb. 28
The Big 12 has seven teams in the men’s basketball bracket in the latest ESPN Bracketology for the Men’s NCAA Tournament in March.
Who’s moving up and who’s moving down? Let’s dig into this week’s update.
Is Kansas a No. 1 Seed No Matter What?
The thought crossed my mind after seeing Tuesday’s bracket that unless Kansas just completely bottoms out it will probably be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. By ‘bottoming out’ I mean the Jayhawks must lose their last two regular-season games and then lose in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament.
I think if the Jayhawks were to split this week and then lose in, say, the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament, it wouldn’t make much of a difference.
Why? It’s the power of this conference right now. Teams that are firmly in the field aren’t getting punished much for having a split week (look at TCU moving up a spot after a split week last week) or getting too much of a bump for a 2-0 week. The days of wild seed swings are gone — unless you’re losing multiple games in a row.
That’s what it would take for Kansas to fall off a No. 1 seed line by March 12, in my opinion.
The Intertwining Fortunes of OSU, TTU
Oklahoma State’s loss to Baylor on Monday put the Cowboys on the wrong side of the bubble. They are now the second team among the First Four Out.
Texas Tech, which lost to TCU at home on Saturday and will play Kansas on Tuesday, is among the Next Four Out.
At this point, it’s time for these two teams to win if they expect to get into the NCAA Tournament as an at-large. The best Oklahoma State can do now is a split for the week. Texas Tech still has a chance to sweep the week.
But, a bid for one will likely come at the expense of the other. Why? Because Texas Tech and Oklahoma State play each other to end the regular season. In fact, it’s the last game of the Big 12 schedule.
Whichever teams loses on Saturday would need a Cinderella run in Kansas City to go dancing. The winner will be hanging by a thread.
How Far Will Iowa State Drop?
Iowa State lost to West Virginia on Monday, the Cyclones’ sixth loss in their last seven games. ISU has to go to Waco to face Baylor on Saturday. I’m planning on covering that game.
Let’s say Iowa State loses that game and loses its first game in Kansas City. How far would the Cyclones drop? I could see them dropping as far as No. 8 seed (ISU is a No. 6 seed right now and that’s three spots down from last Tuesday). The committee may take that trail-off to end the season into account when bracketing the field.
A No. 8 seed puts you in line with a No. 1 seed in the second round. Ask TCU how that went for it last year. ISU needs to win NOW or this could be a really short tournament run for the Cyclones.
Big 12 Teams in Projected Field
The seven Big 12 teams in the current projected field are:
Kansas, No. 1 seed in the West Region (Las Vegas) vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in Des Moines, Iowa
Baylor, No. 2 seed in the MIdwest Region (Kansas City) vs. Eastern Washington in Denver, Colo.
Texas, No. 2 seed in the South Region (Louisville) vs. Kennesaw State in Denver, Colo.
Kansas State, No. 2 seed in the East Region (New York) vs. Vermont in Des Moines, Iowa
TCU, No. 5 seed in the Midwest Region (Kansas City) vs. Bradley in Orlando, Fla.
Iowa State, No. 6 seed in the West Region (Las Vegas) vs. Auburn in Columbus, Ohio
West Virginia, No. 10 seed in the West Region (Las Vegas) vs. Maryland in Sacramento, Calif.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.