And down the stretch they come!
Although, let’s not be too dramatic. The Big 12 Conference Tournament is coming next week after Kansas wrapped up at least a share of its 12th-straight Big 12 title. It can still lose, but in all likelihood, the Jayhawks will enter Kansas City as the top seed in the Big 12 Conference. The bottom three seeds are pretty much set too: Kansas State, Oklahoma State and TCU.
Sooners Illustrated will track, project and evaluate each of the remaining seeds, then examine the matchups at the Big 12 Tournament.
First, here’s the up-to-date Big 12 standings:
Kansas Jayhawks, 13-3
Oklahoma Sooners, 10-6
Baylor Bears, 10-6
Texas Longhorns, 10-6
Iowa State Cyclones, 9-7
And the remaining schedules:
Kansas – at Texas, vs. Iowa State
West Virginia – vs. Texas Tech, at Baylor
Oklahoma – vs. Baylor, at TCU
Baylor – at Oklahoma, vs. West Virginia
Texas – vs. Kansas, at Oklahoma State
Iowa State – vs. Oklahoma State, at Kansas
Texas Tech – at West Virginia, vs. Kansas State
With that out of the way…
The best-case scenario for Oklahoma is to win out and have the Mountaineers stumble against Baylor in Waco. Texas loses at home to Kansas, too. That’s not all that much of a stretch and would give Oklahoma a No. 2 seed.
Far more likely is that the Sooners stick at the No. 3 seed by winning out, having West Virginia beat Baylor and Texas falling to Kansas. Iowa State and Texas Tech both also split their remaining games, which means Kansas is the clear No. 1.
Worst-case scenario for Oklahoma is to lose to Baylor (because the Sooners aren’t going to lose to TCU) and have the dominos fall against them. Texas wins out and so does Baylor, knocking Oklahoma down to the No. 5 seed.
Big early-week game to watch: Kansas at Texas (Monday, 8 p.m., ESPN)
What the bracket might look like:
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 8 Kansas State
No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 Baylor
No. 2 West Virginia vs. No. 7 Texas Tech
No. 3 Texas vs. No. 6 Iowa State
Notes: Texas and Oklahoma win out, but Longhorns get the tiebreaker because Oklahoma lost at K-State and the Longhorns lost at TCU; Kansas and Iowa State split final two.
It’s actually a favorable draw for Oklahoma. The Sooners avoid Iowa State in the first round and gets to face Baylor, which it would have swept in this scenario.
Semifinals – Kansas vs. Oklahoma; West Virginia vs. Iowa State
Final – Kansas 91, Iowa State 85 (The game the Big 12 always dreams of in K.C. for ticket sales.)
NCAA Tournament impact? Big 12 still gets seven teams into the tourney. Kansas sits at a No. 1 seed (Des Moines); Oklahoma gets a No. 2 seed (OKC); so does West Virginia (St. Louis); Iowa State nabs a No. 5 seed but Texas jumps them into No. 4 – controversy abounds because of the quarterfinals upset.