Big 12 Hoping For Seven NCAA Bids

The NCAA will announce the 64-team field Monday at 11:30. The Big 12 Conference looks to have six teams comfortably in the tournament, but can they get a seventh team in the playoff? Who gets a national seed, and where will teams be headed? Aggie Websider's Lanny Hayes predicts what will happen when the envelope is opened Monday morning.

The Big 12 conference's top two finishing teams, Texas and Oklahoma, were both awarded a regional host site today by the NCAA selection committee. Those two have confirmed bids to the tournament, and the Big 12 stands poised to add several more teams. Texas A&M's analysis will be included separately. Let's take a look at who's in, who's out, and who's biting their nails until the selection show ends.

Texas – The Longhorns have the #2 RPI and were the Big 12's regular season and tournament championship. Other stats from Texas are similarly gaudy, and it's a given that they will be a national seed. How high? Some analysts say that they'll be the top seed in the entire tournament, and I agree with that assessment.

Bomber's Pick: #1 Overall National Seed


Oklahoma – The Sooners are hosting in the first round and, as of Wednesday afternoon, were probably penciled into a national seed. After losing to A&M and Missouri to run the tournament out, though, OU's probably on the outside-looking-in for a national seed. Their #16 RPI wouldn't be an unheard of figure for a national seed, and they do possess a winning record against Top 25 RPI teams (9-7), but the late season stumble and the #28 non-conference RPI is probably enough to allow eight other teams to be in front of them.

Bomber's Pick: Non-National #1 Seed, Paired with LSU or Arizona State


Missouri – The Tigers' season has been very up and down; a very slow start was turned around in league play, and all parlayed into a lock for the NCAA tournament. The early season struggles have the Tigers overall resume a little less flattering than one might think, the #27 RPI and just a 12-16 record against Top 25 RPI teams. The Tigers are within the NCAA bus distance for Louisville. This seems like the likely location though, frankly, Louisville's resume makes them seem like they may be hosting as a #2, which would conflict with Mizzou's likely 2 seed. Would the committee give Mizzou a #3 just for geography? I tend to doubt that. Still, a trip to Kentucky seems most likely for Mizzou.

Bomber's Pick: #2 seed at Louisville.


Kansas State – The Wildcat baseball program is reaching never-before-seen heights tomorrow, as they're a lock for the very first NCAA tournament bid in their school's history. They seemed a good candidate to host, outside of the #23 RPI, but will gladly take their two-seed and run. KSU isn't within the NCAA allowed distance for taking a bus to the site, so expect them to get shipped farther away since they'll be flying wherever they go. As a "high #2" with long travel being a given, expect them to be kept away from a national seed.

Bomber's Pick: #2 seed in Clemson or East Carolina.


Kansas – The Jayhawks represent the first real conundrum for the NCAA selection committee. The Jayhawks finished fifth in the league at 15-12 and boast a 37-22 overall record, but their #54 RPI and losing record vs RPI Top 100 opponents (18-19) help create a dichotomy of standing. Other confusing stats? They've played 22 games against RPI top 25 teams, going 12-10 in those contests – and only two other teams in the country have more than 12 wins against that same group. I tend to think that the committee will offset the RPI and put KU in the tournament, but their 0-3 league tournament will have nervous twitches all over Lawrence today.

Bomber's Pick: #3 seed at Arizona State or Cal-Irvine


Baylor – In what seems to have become a Baylor baseball theme over the last few years, the 2009 club was full of sound and fury but ultimately signified little. The Bears don't have a terrible RPI at #30, but a 29-24 overall record, 10-16 mark in league play, and an 11-16 record against RPI top 50 teams really don't inspire confidence into the committee. With many traditional one-bid leagues becoming two-bid leagues, thanks to upsets in conference tournaments, Baylor may be left in the cold tomorrow morning. Don't be surprised if they squeeze in, but don't lay any money on the thought. Steve Smith has taken the Baylor program to consistently higher results than before his tenure, but if the Bears are left out, one has to wonder if the clock in Waco is ticking out…

Bomber's Pick: Just out of the NCAA tournament


Oklahoma State – Just a few years ago, the fact that OSU didn't even make the Big 12 tournament would be reason enough to not include them in this discussion. However, after the NCAA set precedent by allowing a ninth place SEC team in a few years ago, anything can happen. Quite frankly, OSU's resume is better than Baylor's. The two teams split their series 1-1, but OSU has a better overall record (32-22), RPI (25), and record versus Top 100 RPI teams (21-19 vs 20-20 for Baylor). OSU ended just a half-game behind the Bears for the last slot in the Big 12 tournament, but would the selection committee consider the weather implications when assessing teams? I'm not sure there, though I do believe that (A) the shrinking bubble probably cost OSU a bid and (B) if it comes down to Baylor and OSU for one spot, the Cowboys should get it.

Bomber's Pick: Just out of the NCAA tournament


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