Big 12 Rankings thru games on March 16th: (last week's ranking in parentheses)
The Longhorns were a disappointment in the Big 12 tourney, but still managed to secure a number one seed in the Big Dance. They play the winner of the play-in game, which implies that the tournament committee viewed them as the best one seed in the country. Texas will play in the South region, which features Florida, Xavier, UConn, and Maryland as some of the other top seeds. Texas has the makeup of a national championship team.
The Sooners did not play pretty in Dallas, but played well enough to win the tournament for the third straight year and move into a number one seed. Hollis Price was on fire in the first half against Mizzou and then knocked on the floor for most of the second half. As long as he is healthy, OU could make a return trip to the Final Four. In the East region, Oklahoma has to deal with Wake Forest, Syracuse, Louisville, and Mississippi State as the top seeds.
KU could not beat Missouri for the third time this year and that may have been the reason they slipped a seed. They will play the tournament as the #2 seed in the West and will not have an easy ride whatsoever. Opposite the Jayhawks in the West bracket are the Arizona Wildcats. Also in the region is perennial power Duke, Illinois, and Creighton. A trip back the Final Four will not be easy for Kansas, but Hinrich and Collison could make it happen if they get some help.
The hottest team in the Big 12 is Quin Snyder's Tigers. They beat Okie State at the last second, upset Kansas, and then never quit and almost pulled the upset against Oklahoma after falling behind early. After the great run in the tourney, Mizzou earned itself a six seed and a first round matchup against Southern Illinois. If they can get by the Salukis, then possible matchups with Marquette, Pittsburgh, and Kentucky lie ahead. The Tigers can play with anybody, but need to maintain their hot play if they want to match or exceed their Elite Eight performance last year.
5. Oklahoma St. (4): 21-9, 10-7; lost to Missouri
The Cowboys are still hard to figure out. After streaking through January, including their controversial win over OU, Okie State has slowed way down and become the most inconsistent team in the league. They lost their first game in the Big 12 tourney to Missouri although they played pretty well. They face a very dangerous Penn team in the first round. Syracuse would probably be next and Pittsburgh and Oklahoma are the top teams in the East.
6. Colorado. (6): 20-11, 10-8; beat Kansas State then lost to Oklahoma
Well the Buffs were the beneficiaries of quite possibly the dumbest play in college basketball in some time. Pervis Pasco's stupidity secured CU's bid in the NCAA tourney and its first round matchup against Michigan State. It will be a very tough game, but if Ricardo Patten can convince his squad that they are still in Boulder then they could come away with a victory. Florida would be their second round matchup if they were to win. This season is already a success, so a first round win would be icing on the cake.
7. Texas Tech (7): 18-12, 8-11; beat Baylor and Texas then lost to Oklahoma
Tech almost got into the Big Dance, but fell just short in their upset bid of Oklahoma in Dallas and ultimately their 6-10 conference regular season kept them out. They picked up a huge win over Texas after squeaking by Baylor in the first round. Bobby Knight's boys are headed to the NIT and could do some damage if they are focused enough. The Raiders welcome the Nevada Wolfpack to Lubbock for their first round game this week.
8. Iowa St. (9): 16-13, 6-12; beat Texas A&M then lost to Kansas
The Cyclones saved their best offensive performance of the year for their game against the Aggies in Dallas. They scored 97 points and blew away A&M right from the start. Their cupcake wins at the beginning of the year allowed ISU to finish with a record over .500 and a trip to the NIT. They face Wichita State in the first round at home, but that will not be an easy win.
9. Texas A&M (8): 14-14, 6-11; lost to Iowa State
The Aggies were embarrassed against ISU and probably lost a chance to go to the NIT because of that loss in Dallas. It was a pretty good year for A&M and has a great player in Antoine Wright to build on. They will miss Bernard King a lot though. It is always difficult to replace a player who ended his career as one of the top scorers in Big 12 history (Nick Collison was battling for the top spot with King).
10. Baylor (10): 14-14, 5-12; lost to Texas Tech
The Bears had high expectations coming into this year, but did not live up to those at all. They have a foundation for success with Lawrence Roberts, John Lucas Jr., and others, so this team may be the breakout team next year in the Big 12. A trip to the NIT would have been nice, but it did not happen. Next year needs to end in a postseason birth or it will be another disappointment for Baylor.
11. Kansas State (11): 13-17, 4-13; lost to Colorado
What was Pervis Pasco thinking?!?! After stealing the ball on the sidelines with only seconds left and KSU leading by 2, Double P started celebrating and traveled with the ball. This led to Mookie Wilson's game-winning 3-pointer off glass and ended the Wildcats season. Next year could be even rougher than this one because Pasco, Matt Seibrant, and Gilson DeJesus all graduate and the youngsters will probably not be ready for the Big 12.
12. Nebraska (12): 11-19, 3-14; lost to Missouri
The worst season in Nebraska basketball history finally came to an end in Dallas after another loss to Missouri. Hope for next year is limited for this team, but they are still very young and could finally reach their potential if everything comes together. Barry Collier runs a clean program, but has yet to produce results. Another season without a postseason berth could mean trouble for Barry.