With one game to play, the tournament picture has gotten a little clear. Kansas is the clear No. 1 and the bottom four seeds have been set. Between No. 2 and No. 6, there's still a lot to be decided. There's not home-court advantage to higher seeds, but the teams jockeying want to make sure they get the right seed - and the right draw.
Sooners Illustrated will track, project and evaluate each of the remaining seeds, then examine the matchups at the Big 12 Tournament.
The up-to-date Big 12 standings:
Kansas Jayhawks, 14-3
Oklahoma Sooners, 11-6
Baylor Bears, 10-7
Texas Longhorns, 10-7
Iowa State Cyclones, 10-7
And the remaining schedule:
Iowa State at Kansas
West Virginia at Baylor
Oklahoma at TCU
Texas at Oklahoma State
With that out of the way…
The best-case scenario for Oklahoma is simple. The Sooners beat TCU, and West Virginia falls to Baylor. That gives Oklahoma the No. 2 seed. It is sweet, simple and possible.
Far more likely is that West Virginia takes care of business, knowing that it can clinch the No. 2 seed and avoid Kansas until the title game. Oklahoma sticks at No. 3.
Worst-case scenario for Oklahoma . . . The Sooners can still fall back into the No. 5 seed. Oklahoma would have to lose to TCU, see Texas beat Oklahoma State and have Iowa State win in Phog Allen Fieldhouse on the final night of the regular season. Oklahoma would also need Baylor to lose to West Virginia in Waco. The Sooners would then open the tournament with No. 4 Texas, and the winner would meet Kansas. This would easily be Oklahoma’s toughest road to the title.
Big late-week game to watch: West Virginia at Baylor (1 p.m. Saturday, ESPN)
What the bracket might look like:
No.1 Kansas vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State
No. 4 Texas vs. No. 5 Baylor
No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 6 Iowa State
No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 7 Texas Tech
Notes: West Virginia loses on the final day to Baylor, and Iowa State can’t break the Phog. Just for fun, Oklahoma State beats Kansas State on the first day of the Big 12 Tournament, too. This sets up to be the easiest possible path for the Jayhawks to the title game. They’d miss out on Oklahoma, West Virginia and Iowa State until the final.
Semifinals – Iowa State over Oklahoma, Kansas over Texas. (Yep, still like the Cyclones chances of making a run)
Final – Kansas 91, Iowa State 85. Not changing prediction nor the teams because the road looks a little bit easier for Iowa State to make that run this time.
NCAA Tournament impact? Nothing would change. Kansas is a No. 1 seed. Oklahoma gets a No. 2 but doesn’t feel great about it. West Virginia, Iowa State and Texas all fall between 3 and 6 - and probably in that descending order.