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Tourney Preview: Big 12, Big Sky, Big South

We continue our look at teams that will make up the NCAA Tournament. Selection Sunday is two weeks away and one conference that will get a lot of attention is the Big 12. Three of the best teams in the nation are from this conference along with a lot of bubble teams.<BR> <A href="http://arizona.theinsiders.com/2/94727.html ">ATLANTIC 10 PREVIEW</A><BR> <A href="http://arizona.theinsiders.com/2/94405.html ">ACC PREVIEW</A></P>

Note: Records and rankings are current as of the day the story is published.

BIG 12 (5-7 teams)

Although the RPI will say otherwise, it is hard not to think the Big 12 is the best conference in America. Two teams will get serious looks as a No. 1 seed while Kansas will be among the favorites. Where things get interesting is in the middle where two bubble teams will have an anxious wait on Selection Sunday.

LOCKS (3)

Oklahoma (20-5, 11-3)
RPI: #4
Key Players: G Hollis Price, G Ebi Ere, F Kevin Bookout
Good wins: Michigan State, UConn, Kansas, Oklahoma State
Good losses: Alabama, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Texas, Missouri
Bad losses: none
The Sooners have played an amazing schedule and have been rewarded with the highest RPI rating. A good showing in the Big 12 Tournament should lock up a top seed.

Texas (20-5, 11-3)
RPI: #3 Key Players: G TJ Ford, F Brandon Mouton
Good wins: Georigia, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma
Good losses: Notre Dame, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma State
Bad loses: Colorado
Texas, like the Sooners is still playing for a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. TJ Ford can take this team a long way come March.

Kansas (22-6, 12-2)
RPI: #8 Key Players: C Nick Collison, G Kirk Hinrich
Good wins: Cal, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma State
Good losses: Florida, Oregon, Arizona, Oklahoma
Bad losses: North Carolina, Colorado
Kansas will really miss Wayne Simien in the NCAA Tournament. Despite a slow start, the Jayhawks managed to win the Big 12 regular season title.

IN GREAT SHAPE

Oklahoma State (20-7, 9-5)
RPI: #15
Key Players: G Victor Williams, G Tony Allen
Good wins: Michigan State, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas Tech, Texas
Good losses: Texas, Cincy, Oklahoma
Bad losses: College of Charleston, Baylor
Eddie Sutton continues to get it done in Stillwater. The Cowboys fly under the radar all season and are once again a team no one wants in their bracket.

Missouri (18-7, 9-6)
RPI: #17
Key Players: G Ricky Paulding, C Arthur Johnson
Good wins: Memphis, Oklahoma
Good losses: Illinois, Syracuse, Oklahoma State, Texas, Kansas
Bad losses: Texas A&M, Colorado, Iowa State
Missouri is a team that has built up a good RPI by losing to good teams. They lack a number of good wins and have dropped a handful of games they shouldn't have.

BUBBLE

Texas Tech (16-10, 6-9)
RPI: #40
Key Players: G Andre Emmett, F Kasib Powell
Good wins: Minnesota, Oklahoma State
Good losses: Wyoming, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Texas, Kansas
Bad losses: Kansas State, Texas A&M
Texas Tech is probably on the outside looking in unless they pick up a couple of quality wins. Honestly, if the Red Raiders did not have Bobby Knight at the helm, no one would give them much of a second look.

Colorado (17-10, 7-7)
RPI: # 47
Key Players: G Michael Morandois, C David Harrison
Good wins: Georgia, Kansas, Texas, Missouri
Good losses: Oklahoma, Kansas
Bad losses: New Mexico State, Rice, Nebraska, Iowa State
The Buffs have a ton of good wins, but then lose games to the likes of Rice. They are right there on the bubble and a good finish could put them in. Not much margin for error.

BIG SKY (1-2)

Weber State is the class a league that traditionally gets just one seed. That could change if the Wildcats were to fall in the finals of the conference tournament. They are a longshot for an at-large, but warrant discussion.

Weber State (24-5, 15-0) RPI: #45
Key Players: G Jermain Boyette, F Slobodan Ockoljic
Good wins: UCSB, Nevada, BYU Good losses: Utah, Bad losses: Alaska-Fairbanks, North Texas, UT Chattanooga This is a team that has not lost since early January. They have not played a whole lot of quality opponents, although the win over BYU is nice.

BIG SOUTH (1)

Winthrop is the only team in the league with a winning record (20-9, 11-3). Whoever wins the league is looking at a 16 seed more than likely.


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