There is no doubt that the Big 12 Conference provided plenty of fireworks this season. Now it sends seven teams to the NCAA tournament for only the second time in its history.
The Big 12 Tournament showcased the depth of the talented conference. Baylor, who came into the tournament as the seven seed, upset Oklahoma and Texas to slide into the Big 12 Championship game.
In the end, the Iowa State Cyclones proved to be a force to be reckoned with, knocking off Kansas State and Kansas on their way to beating the Bears for the conference title.
Now the NCAA tournament approaches, and with it comes an opportunity for each of the Big 12’s teams to make a deep run.
Here are the teams’ respective seeds, broken down by region:
#9 Oklahoma State
#9 Kansas State
#3 Iowa State
Starting with number two seeded Kansas in the South, the Jayhawks draw Eastern Kentucky in the first round and should have little trouble getting through game one.
Next Kansas will have to face the winner of New Mexico and Stanford. In any event I see Kansas moving past this challenge into the round of sixteen, but this is where they will have to face Syracuse.
The Orange were highly ranked for the most part of the season and with the health of Joel Embiid in question, I doubt that Kansas will make it past them in the Sweet 16.
The West boasts three teams: Oklahoma, Baylor and Oklahoma State. Of the three, the Sooners have the highest seed and strongest chance of going deep into the tournament.
The Sooners have a chance to make things interesting. I expect Oklahoma to move past North Dakota State and San Diego State to likely play Arizona in the Sweet 16. But, much like their in-state rivals, the Sooners will likely lose to the Wildcats.
Baylor is on fire as of late and should easily move past Nebraska, but Creighton is a different beast. The Bears will lose to Doug McDermott and Co., failing to reach the Sweet 16.
Oklahoma State draws eighth seeded Gonzaga in the first round. With the recent gutsy play of the Cowboys, I see OSU moving on to the second round, where they will face top seeded Arizona. A date with the No. 1 seed will prove too much for the Cowboys, who will lose in the second round.
Iowa State, in the East, is the only team I have advancing to the Elite Eight. The Cyclones are a very strong team and I can easily see them moving past North Carolina in the second round and upsetting the winner of the Villanova vs. Connecticut game.
Lastly there are the Longhorns in the Midwest. Texas struggled down the stretch and imploded against Baylor in the Big 12 tournament.
If Texas makes it past Arizona State, and that’s a big if, there is no chance they get past Michigan, a No. 2 seed.
The Longhorns tip-off the tourney against Arizona State on Thursday at 8:40 PM CST. The game will be televised nationally on CBS.