As NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday draws ever closer and the 2014 regular-season in college basketball nears the closing curtain, every game of the remaining few takes on added importance.
At one point this season, as many as seven teams from the Big 12 were NCAA Tournament worthy, but recent train wrecks at both Baylor and Oklahoma State have dropped that total to a probable five Big 12 teams that appear to be locks for Match Madness unless the bottom falls out over the remaining three weekends.
As of Thursday (Feb. 20), ESPN’s resident college basketball “bracketologist,” Joe Lunardi, has five teams from the Big 12 in the NCAA Tournament. His latest projections have nine-time defending Big 12 champion Kansas as a No. 2 seed. the next highest seed from the Big 12 is Iowa State, which Lunardi is presently showing as a No, 4 seed. Oklahoma and Texas are six seeds and Kansas State currently is a seven seed.
All five of the Big 12 teams Lunardi projects to get into the NCAA Tournament were seeded higher than wear they are now at one point during the season. A couple of weeks ago, before the losses at Texas and Kansas State, Kansas was a No, 1 seed in Lunardi’s 2014 tournament brackets.
The week of Jan. 23, Lunardi had seven teams from the Big 12 getting into the tournament, the most of any conference at that point in time. The seven teams consisted of the five Lunardi still has slotted, as well as Oklahoma State and Baylor. If you go back to the week of Jan. 9, Oklahoma State was projected as a No. 3 seed and Baylor a No. 4 seed.
After splitting their first two conference games, at which point their coverall season record stood at 13-2, the Baylor Bears went on a five-game losing skid and seven out of eight conference games before rebounding to win their last three over TCU, Kansas State and Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma State was 12-1 heading into the Big 12 portion of its schedule, and the Cowboys won four of their first six games to raise their overall record to 16-3. That was on Jan. 25 Since then, OSU has gone over the cliff, losing seven straight games to fall to 4-9 and ninth place in the league standings.