Big 12 Look: Where will OU end up?

Sooners have plenty of NCAA Tournament options but how does Oklahoma wind up where it wants to be?

The race for Omaha is on, and it’s not because the baseball season is entering its third week of play.

It’s likely that only two Big 12 basketball teams will make it to the closest geographical site to the majority of the conference’s teams. The next closest site? Louisville is nearly 800 miles away. Beyond that, Jacksonville, Portland, Seattle and Charlotte are all in coastal states.

Here’s a list of all the possibly destinations for Oklahoma and how the Sooners could wind up there:

Omaha: There is a clear way for the Sooners to wind up in their perfect site. All Oklahoma has to do is win out. Win all three games left on the schedule, and Oklahoma will be a No. 3 seed and playing closest to home. Although, Oklahoma also could make it to Omaha by losing just to Kansas in the regular season finale and making a deep – at least semifinals – run in the Big 12 Tournament.

Columbus: Right now, Columbus seems to be the most likely destination for the Sooners based on many different bracketology reports. It would seem as though the third seed out of the Big 12 will head to Columbus. Oklahoma wouldn’t have to do much. Hold serve and maybe pick up two victories. More importantly would be about playing as long as West Virginia in the Big 12 Tournament.

Jacksonville: The Florida city seems to be the primary destination if the Sooners fall below a No. 4 seed. That’s not that much of a long shot, though. With favorites holding serve the final three games and a quick exit in the Big 12 Tournament – again, not unlikely – then the Sooners could be in store for some travel, especially since there are no regional sites anywhere near Florida.

Louisville: There doesn’t seem to be much of a chance for any Big 12 team to end up in Louisville – although that can always change depending on who gets into the tournament and who doesn’t. Likely though, Louisville is a central location to a lot of high-ranking Big Ten or ACC teams. Only chance for the Sooners to end of in Kentucky for the tournament is to earn a No. 3 seed minimum and have teams call out of the way above them. Maybe a big rise for the Pac-12.

Charlotte: See Louisville. Too many North Carolina-based teams with high rankings for Oklahoma to wind up there, unless the Sooners lose four straight games. That might not even do it.

Portland or Seattle: It might be possible that a No. 4 or No. 5 seed out of the Big 12 lands in the Pacific Northwest. Right now, that seems like it would be West Virginia and/or Baylor. If Oklahoma sticks at a No. 3 seed, it can’t go to Portland or Seattle. Winning two of the final three in the regular season would likely keep the Sooners from the Pacific coast.

Of note: Iowa State’s Monte Morris and West Virginia’s Juwan Staten were named to the final 17 finalists for the 2015 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award.

Biggest surprise: There might not have been a biggest surprise this week but there were a lot of surprises. West Virginia beat Kansas in Morgantown – not all that out of the ordinary. Texas Tech nearly won a pair of games against ranked teams – Oklahoma and Baylor. TCU knocked off Kansas State, not all that surprising now but it would have been early in conference season.

What to watch this week: Well, the first game that matters is on Monday when Kansas heads to Kansas State. The Jayhawks lead on the Big 12 isn’t nearly as secure as it was a week ago, with just a one-game advantage on Iowa State. Kansas State has lost two in a row but still beat the Jayhawks, who have lost two of their last three road games, last season at Bramlage Coliseum. Should Kansas go down, keep an eye on Baylor at Iowa State on Wednesday. The Cyclones could pull into a tie for first place with a win.

Quotable: “Why would it take pressure off of us? The whole point is to have a higher seed in the tournament. The only way this is like an NCAA Tournament is because we only had one day in between.” - West Virginia coach Bob Huggins on the Mountaineers’ victory against Kansas.

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