Big 12 basketball finished up at the tournament this weekend in Kansas City, with the Iowa State Cyclones winning the tournament. What can Big 12 basketball fans expect for the other teams?
When it comes to basketball, the Big 12 always seems to put several teams in the big dance. This year will be no different, as ESPN bracketology expert Joe Lunardi has six Big 12 teams making it to the NCAA Tournament.
With Iowa State winning the Big 12 Tournament, they might move up from the six-seed that Lunardi had projected them at on Saturday. If they do move up, it’d probably only be to a five-seed, but Lunardi has them in the West and facing off against 11-seeded Middle Tennessee in the first round.
Iowa State’s path would likely then consist of Florida State and potentially Oregon too, depending on how everything shakes out. The number-one seed in the West region is Gonzaga, who is the probably going to be the most beatable number one due to their lack of tough opponents during the regular season.
West Virginia, the runner-up in the Big 12 Tournament, is slated to be a four-seed in the East region. The Mountaineers are projected to face Princeton, who is seeded at 13. The toughest teams in West Virginia’s region are Villanova and Duke, the one and two seeds respectively.
Despite an early exit from the Big 12 Tournament, the Kansas Jayhawks are going to be a one-seed and they’re going to be in the Midwest region and eventually make it to Kansas City in the Sweet Sixteen. That tournament loss to TCU will have hurt their pride and I don’t see them getting embarrassed again in the early rounds.
That projection would see KU square off against Texas Southern. We all know that a one-seed has yet to lose to a 16-seed, and I don’t see Kansas being the first to have it happen to them.
Baylor, who always manages to disappoint in March, is projected to be a three-seed in the South bracket. Their round one opponent would be against Iona, according to Lunardi.
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Oklahoma State will be a middle-tier tournament team, sitting as a nine-seed in the South region. They’d see Northwestern in their first game, and that’s a team who has literally never made it to the NCAA Tournament. The pressure will be high for the Cowboys in that one to make sure Northwestern doesn’t get their first ever tournament win against them.
Lastly and the team every Big 12 basketball fan will be following come Selection Sunday is Kansas State. The Wildcats took down Baylor at the Sprint Center, but then fell last minute to West Virginia.
K-State isn’t a gimme to make the big dance, but Lunardi has them as a “Last Four In” team. He predicts they’ll have to play against Wake Forest in order to make it to Indianapolis as an 11-seed. Their opponent would be Wisconsin.
While it’s always fun to see which Big 12 basketball teams will get seeded and where they’ll be playing at, they always manage to disappoint. Kansas and Oklahoma were the exceptions to the rule last year, but teams like Baylor, Iowa State, and West Virginia are always getting upset by some small unknown school.
Hopefully that changes this year and the conference can represent themselves well in March Madness.