Kansas Won Another Regular Season Crown, But Can They Take The Big 12 Tourney Too?
The Kansas Jayhawks have already celebrated a well-hyped regular season championship. They’ve already congratulated their point guard on his “Player of the Year” award. They’re already a lock for a #1 seed because they were so impressive in a power conference. Will that leave them complacent for this week’s Big 12 tournament?
It should help that the event is being held in Kansas City, a virtual home-away-from-home for the Jayhawks. But, this is a talented conference, and KU had to sweat a few regular season games even back when they were motivated! We hope you enjoyed our ACC preview yesterday. Let’s run those same categories today for the Big 12.
- Kansas is projected to be a #1 seed in the NCAAs
- Baylor is projected to be a #2 seed in the NCAAs
- West Virginia is projected to be a #4 seed in the NCAAs
- Iowa State is projected to be a #6 seed in the NCAAs
- Oklahoma State is projected to be a #7 seed in the NCAAs
- Kansas State is on the bubble, one of the “first four out”
- Texas Tech is on the bubble, but not one of the first eight out
For much of the year, the Big 12 was looking at seven seemingly likely bids. Joe Lunardi of ESPN (and his sources) are no longer impressed with Texas Tech. Kansas State is squarely on the bubble, but on the wrong side of the bubble. It would be a crime (which you’ll see a moment in the computers) if the Big 12 only got five bids. That sets up potential drama up and down the brackets. Everybody but Kansas has something to prove to somebody! You know that West Virginia and Baylor in particular are sick of hearing all the Kansas hype.
Teams in Wednesday’s First Round
- #7 seed Texas Tech: -3.9 margin, #36 in kenpom, #41 in Sagarin
- #8 seed TCU: -3.9 margin, #45 in kenpom, #46 in Sagarin
- #9 seed Oklahoma: -3.6 margin, #62 in kenpom, #57 in Sagarin
- #10 seed Texas: -6.1 margin, #76 in kenpom, #69 in Sagarin
If you weren’t with us yesterday, we’re looking at conference margin averages and computer ratings in our team analysis. Those margin averages are particularly valuable in the Big 12 because the conference plays a full round robin. Everyone played everybody else in a home-and-home. So, the 18-game averages can serve as virtual Power Ratings that provide team differentials. We mentioned a second ago that Texas Tech isn’t even on the bubble right now. Both Ken Pomeroy of kenpom.com and Jeff Sagarin of USA Today would have them clearly in the field on team quality. Heck, the computers would have TCU on the bubble because about 48-50 top teams make the field of 68 along with many auto-bids from lesser conferences.
Needless to say, Tech better impress vs. Texas Wednesday to get back into the discussion… and may need to upset #2 seed West Virginia to have a real shot. Keep an eye on Texas Tech, because they just might be a very serious threat to win the NIT if the Dance selection committee snubs them.
Byes into Thursday’s Quarterfinals
- #1 seed Kansas: +5.5 margin, #9 in kenpom, #6 in Sagarin
- #2 seed West Virginia: +6.7 margin, #3 in kenpom, #3 in Sagarin
- #3 seed Baylor: +4.0 margin, #11 in kenpom, #13 in Sagarin
- #4 seed Iowa State: +2.5 margin, #24 in kenpom, #20 in Sagarin
- #5 seed Oklahoma State: +1.7 margin, #19 in kenpom, #22 in Sagarin
- #6 seed Kansas State: -2.8 margin, #32 in kenpom, #37 in Sagarin
Kansas isn’t expected to sweat the winner of TCU/Oklahoma… but you can see that they’re not exactly blowout contenders beyond that. West Virginia actually had the better average margin in league play, and should have swept the series with the Jayhawks! Baylor’s less than a bucket behind in margin average, and is only two spots behind with Pomeroy. There’s potential for some real thrillers from this round forward.
Let’s touch briefly on Kansas State. They’re on the wrong side of the bubble despite grading out as a #8 or #9 seed in the Big Dance on the computers. It’s likely that either Kansas State or Texas Tech would be near pick-em with Northwestern… a supposed lock for the Dance from the Big 10. Because there’s no play-in for the Wildcats, they probably NEED to upset Baylor Thursday in the 3-6 matchup. Perhaps playing in Kansas City will help them pull off that shocker.
We strongly encourage you do-it-yourselfers to gather this helpful handicapping information for ALL the conferences in action this week. JIM HURLEY’S staff has certainly done that for in-house handicapping. You should know what’s at stake in each event, and how good (or bad) these teams really are. Don’t trust media hype from the cable networks. Do your own homework!
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