As was expected from the very start of the season, Kansas has settled into its familiar position at the top of the conference, and a logjam exists right under the Jayhawks for the top-four spots in the standings and the high seeds going into the upcoming Big 12 Tournament.
Four teams are locked in second place with just one week remaining in the regular season. Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa State and Kansas State are all tied with 10-6 records in Big 12 play, and West Virginia sits two games back in sixth place with an 8-8 conference record. ESPN bracketology guru Joe Lunardi is now projected seven NCAA Tournament teams from the Big 12, but West Virginia is not one of the seven.
Lunardi is projecting Kansas as a No. 2 seed, Iowa State as a four seed, Texas as a six seed, Oklahoma a seven seed, Kansas State a nine seed, and Oklahoma State and Baylor as 11 seeds. That would mean that 70 percent of the Big 12 would make the 65-team NCAA Tournament field, which equals the most ever in the Big 12 era. These projected seedings could change again, though, after Kansas State’s victory over Iowa State on Saturday and Oklahoma’s completion of a season sweep of Texas.
Oklahoma and Texas appear to have the easiest schedules over the final week of the season. The Sooners play West Virginia at home on Wednesday and end the regular season Saturday at TCU. Texas has TCU at home on Wednesday and is at Texas Tech to end the regular season. Meanwhile, Kansas State is at Oklahoma State on “Big Monday” and then back home to face Baylor in the regular-season finale. The other team shooting for a second-place conference finish is Iowas State, which plays at Baylor on Tuesday and finishes out the regular season at home against Oklahoma State.
Big 12 Men’s Basketball Week 18 Power Rankings
- Kansas Jayhawks – The Jayhawks have won 14 Big 12 championships in basketball, and 10 consecutive conference crowns, in the 18 years since the Big 12 was formed.
- Oklahoma Sooners – The Sooners have a favorable schedule and the tiebreaker over Texas to their advantage as they aim for the No, 2 conference seed after being projected to finish fifth in the preseason coaches poll.
- Texas Longhorns – The Longhorns have a relatively easy final two games that will most likely put them at 12-6 and in third place to end the conference season.
- Iowa State Cyclones – The Cyclones will in all likelihood split their final two games at Baylor and at home vs. Oklahoma State, which would give them the No, 4 seed in the Big 12 Championship Tournament. A fourth-place finish in the standings would ISU a rubber-game matchup against the five seed heading into the tournament, likely to be Kansas State.
- Kansas State Wildcats – K-State need to win one of its final two regular-season games against Oklahoma State and at home against Baylor , to avoid a fifth-place finish in the Big 12. The goos news is that the Wildcats have won 15 straight games at Bramlage Coliseum.
- Oklahoma State Cowboys - Oklahoma State may have the toughest two games to end the season, having to go up against Kansas State at home Monday night and then travel to Ames, Iowa, to end the regular season.
- West Virginia Mountainners – West Virginia is a much better team at home this seaso, but it is not the same team when playing on the road. The Mountaineers will lose at Oklahoma and return home to beat Baylor on Saturday, ending the regular season with aa conference record.
- Baylor Bears – The Bears might get by West Virgina at home to sweep the Mountaineers this season, but they will not upset Kansas State at Manhattan, which will leave them with a sub-.500 conference record to end the regular season. If they still are able to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament with a sub-.500 league record, they would become to first team with a losing record in conference play to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.
- Texas Tech Red Raiders – Once 5-7 and moving into the thick of the conference standings, the Red Raiders have since dropped four consecutive games, and they have Kansas in Lawrence and Texas at home to finish the season.
- TCU Horned Frogs – Two games left – at Texas and at home hosting Oklahoma – to prvent a winless conference season