Bracketology Preview: Big-12 Predictions

Day 2 of College Pride Press’s Bracketology Preview has begun! Today, we will be examining the Big-12 Conference and take a look at some of the powerhouses in the country. Every year, the Big-12 offers the NCAA Tournament some of the strongest teams in the country. This year, the Big-12 has a lot of teams with work still to be done in order to make it to the big dance! Kansas, Baylor, and West Virginia are all locks for the tournament at this point, but the other 5 teams competing for tournament berth have unfinished business! Without further ado, let’s take a look at how the Big-12 will play out for the rest of the season!

(* Denotes neutral court game)

 

Kansas Jayhawks (23-3) (11-2)

RPI Rank: 2  BPI Rank: 11  AP Rank: 3

Best Wins: v.s. #1 Duke*, v.s. #2 Baylor, @ #4 Kentucky

Worst Losses: v.s. Iowa State, @ #18 West Virginia, v.s. #11 Indiana*

It seems like the Jayhawks are one of the top teams in the country every single season. That is because they are! Kansas is currently 23-3 and sitting atop the Big-12 rankings alone with a 2 game lead. They have proven to be one of the top teams in the country once again with some very impressive wins. Wins against three Top 5 teams is very impressive and they have a chance to go 4-0 against Top 5 teams when they take on Baylor this weekend. Josh Jackson (16.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG) has been on a tear the past few weeks for Kansas. In their past five games, the freshman phenom is averaging 20.2 PPG and 9.0 RPG. Kansas has also been having success shooting from the three point line, 41.3% as a team from long range. The Jayhawks’ schedule down the stretch seems pretty simple, but anything can happen on the road in the Big-12:

February 18th – @ Baylor – L 73-79

February 22nd – v.s. TCU – W 84-75

February 25th – @ Texas – W 79-71

February 27th – v.s. Oklahoma – W 86-80

March 4th – @ Oklahoma State – L 73-77

Final Record: 26-5 (14-4)

 

Kansas should be well on their way to yet another conference title, but I do expect them to suffer some losses down the stretch. Kansas was barely able to edge out Baylor at home in their last meeting and now they will go to Baylor for a top 5 clash. Baylor could really use a big win over Kansas and I think the Bears will barely edge out Kansas in the final minutes of play. As for the Oklahoma State game, the Cowboys always bring their A-game when the Jayhawks come to town. The Cowboys have beaten the Jayhawks at home for three straight years! I expect Oklahoma State to give Kansas a run for their money once again this year on the Cowboys’ Senior Day! Come time for both the conference tournament and NCAA Tournament, the Jayhawks will be one of the teams to beat, and be penciled into the Final Four in a lot of people’s brackets!

Projected Conference Tournament Seed: 1

Projected NCAA Tournament Seed: 1

 

Baylor Bears (22-4) (9-4)

RPI Rank: 1  BPI Rank: 14  AP Rank: 4

Best Wins: v.s. #4 Oregon, v.s. #10 Louisville*, v.s. #7 Xavier

Worst Losses: v.s. Kansas State, @ Texas Tech

 

Baylor looked as if they were coming into this season with the mindset of rebuilding and fighting to make the tournament. Instead, they started the season 15-0 instead and picked up 4 wins v.s. Top 25 teams before losing to West Virginia. Baylor was even ranked as the top team in the country at one point this season! Johnathan Motley (16.7 PPG, 9.5 RPG), the potential Player of the Year in the Big-12, has been an absolute monster for Baylor this season. Motley has made it very clear he cannot be stopped with the ball in his hands, and continues to dominate teams in the paint! As impressive as Baylor has been this season, they may not finish the season as strong as they started:

February 18th – v.s. Kansas – W 79-73

February 21st – v.s. Oklahoma – W 73-66

February 25th – @ Iowa State – L 71-78

February 27th – v.s. West Virginia – L 74-81

March 4th – @ Texas – W 75-71

Final Record: 25-7 (12-6)

 

Finishing 25-7 may seem like a disappointment for Baylor fans, but it is actually a very solid season for a Baylor team who was being projected to be on the bubble for the tournament at the beginning of the season. Baylor has been a different team on the road than at home this season. Three of their four losses have come on the road and they have been held under 70 points in three of their four losses. As a result of their road struggles, I believe Iowa State will be able to upset the Bears at home. Their game versus West Virginia could go either way, but I am giving the Mountaineers the victory in this meeting. Overall, Baylor should not be disappointed if they finish the season the way I have them projected to! They may be a force to be reckoned with in the tournament!

Projected Conference Tournament Seed: 4

Projected NCAA Tournament Seed: 3

 

West Virginia Mountaineers (20-6) (8-5)

RPI Rank: 29  BPI Rank: 2  AP Rank: 9

Best Wins: @ #6 Virginia, v.s. #1 Baylor, v.s. #2 Kansas

Worst Losses: v.s. Temple*, v.s. Oklahoma, v.s. Oklahoma State

 

The Mountaineers have once again solidified themselves as one of the best teams in the country. “Press-Virginia” has continued their defensive success from last season into this season! West Virginia ranks as the 7th best defensive team in the country based on defensive efficiency. The reason the Mountaineers are very dangerous and can pull off big upsets is because they do not have a go to guy. They can play up to 10 guys and have 6 of them score in double figures! By not having a go to guy, it is very difficult to defend West Virginia in a man-to-man defense because you do not know who to put your best defender on! Here is how I see West Virginia’s season ending:

February 18th – v.s. Texas Tech – W 85-78

February 20th – v.s. Texas – W 81-64

February 25th – @ TCU – W 77-73

February 27th – @ Baylor – W 81-74

March 3rd – v.s. Iowa State – L 74-78

Final Record: 24-7 (12-6)

 

Nobody knows what to expect from West Virginia on a week-to-week basis because they are so unpredictable. Their success solely depends on the play from their defense. West Virginia has not lost a game this year by more than 7 points and have lost 3 OT games this season. I believe the Mountaineers can go into Baylor and pull off an upset on the road because of their transition offense. West Virginia dominated Baylor earlier in the season and Baylor will have to make some major defensive adjustments in order to slow down the Mountaineers. West Virginia is another one of those teams to watch out for because there is no gameplan to beat their defense!

Projected Conference Tournament Seed: 2

Projected NCAA Tournament Seed: 4

 

Iowa State Cyclones (16-9) (8-5)

RPI Rank: 46  BPI Rank: 26  AP Rank: N/R

Best Wins: @ #3 Kansas, v.s. Miami*, @ Oklahoma State

Worst Losses: @ Iowa, @ Vanderbilt, @ Texas

 

When you look at Iowa State’s resume, it is hard to miss the win at Kansas, ending the Jayhawks’ tremendous win streak at home, but it is also hard to miss the loss at Vanderbilt and Texas. Iowa State is currently on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament, but may pass the committee’s eye test. Lead by senior guard, Monte Morris (15.9 PPG 5.8 APG), the Cyclones are currently tied for third in the Big-12 with a 8-5 conference record. Iowa State’s remaining schedule offers multiple opportunities to pick up another big win in order to punch their ticket to March Madness:

February 18th – v.s. TCU – W 74-70

February 20th – @ Texas Tech – L 71-75

February 25th – v.s. Baylor – W 78-71

February 28th – v.s. Oklahoma State – W 81-77

March 3rd – @ West Virginia – W 78-74

Final Record: 20-10 (12-6)

 

With wins over Baylor and at West Virginia, I would assume Iowa State would be a lock for the tournament. The loss at Texas Tech would be overlooked by the committee if they were to pull off these two upsets in the final two weeks of their season. The Cyclones have become accustomed to the NCAA Tournament in past years and will look to continue their success this March!

Projected Conference Tournament Seed: 3

Projected NCAA Tournament Seed: 7

 

TCU Horned Frogs (17-9) (6-7)

RPI Rank: 48  BPI Rank: 48  AP Rank: N/R

Best Wins: v.s. Iowa State, @ Kansas State, v.s. Texas Tech

Worst Losses: v.s. Auburn, @ Texas Tech, v.s. Oklahoma State

 

As the Horned Frogs enter the final few weeks of their season, there is little room for error. Jamie Dixon has done a fantastic job turning this TCU program around from last year. They are on the verge of a NCAA Tournament berth, and can accomplish this goal with a big victory over one of the top teams in the Big-12. TCU has the resume to be a tournament team as long as they do not falter down the stretch:

February 18th – @ Iowa State – L 70-74

February 22nd – @ Kansas – L 75-84

February 25th – v.s. West Virginia – L 73-77

March 1st – v.s. Kansas State – W 66-63

March 4th – @ Oklahoma – W 74-71

Final Record: 19-12 (9-9)

If TCU is to lose their next three games against the top teams in the Big-12, they must win their final two against Kansas State and Oklahoma. A win versus Iowa State, Kansas, or West Virginia would make their resume complete and should give them a bid into the tourney. With a 19-12 record entering the conference tournament, TCU should get the nod from the committee.

Projected Conference Tournament Seed: 7

Projected NCAA Tournament Seed: 10

 

Oklahoma State Cowboys (17-9) (6-7)

RPI Rank: 28  BPI Rank: 27  AP Rank: N/R

Best Wins: @ #7 West Virginia, @ Wichita State, v.s. Arkansas

Worst Losses: @ Texas, v.s. Kansas State

 

Oklahoma State started Big-12 play 0-6 and looked like they would finish on the bottom of the conference. Brad Underwood quickly turned things around for the Cowboys and has coached the Cowboys to win 6 of their last 7 Big-12 games. Oklahoma State needs to carry their momentum into the final weeks of the season in order to stamp their ticket to the big dance. They have multiple chance to help their resume:

February 18th – v.s. Oklahoma – W 84-76

February 22nd – @ Kansas State – L 66-67

February 25th – v.s. Texas Tech – W 77-72

February 28th – @ Iowa State – L 77-81

March 4th – v.s. Kansas – W 77-73

Final Record: 20-12 (9-9)

 

Oklahoma State would be in prime position to make it to the tournament with a win at Kansas State, but I think the Wildcats will be able to hold off the attack by the Cowboys. With that loss, Oklahoma State will have their season on the line, home on senior day versus Kansas. Oklahoma State has won 3 straight games at home versus Kansas and I believe this streak will continue this year, giving the Cowboys a must need win! Oklahoma State is a team to watch in the NCAA Tournament this year if they are to make it because they are more than capable of pulling off multiple upsets!

Projected Conference Tournament Seed: 6

Projected NCAA Tournament Seed: Last Four In (11)

 

Texas Tech Red Raiders (17-9) (5-8)

RPI Rank: 83  BPI Rank: 37  AP Rank: N/R

Best Wins: v.s. #4 Baylor, v.s. #7 West Virginia, v.s. #25 Kansas State

Worst Losses: @ Texas, v.s. Auburn*, @ Oklahoma

 

Texas Tech has some impressive home wins over Top 25 teams, but has suffered on the road versus bad teams. Losses to Texas and Oklahoma have put Texas Tech on the bubble. Texas Tech could use one more signature win to boost their resume and receive an invitation back to the tournament:

February 18th – @ West Virginia – L 78-85

February 20th – v.s. Iowa State – W 75-71

February 25th – @ Oklahoma State – L 72-77

March 1st – v.s. Texas – W 78-70

March 4th – @ Kansas State – L 73-76

Final Record: 19-12 (7-11)

 

In a similar situation to TCU, I have Texas Tech finishing the season 19-12. Picking up a win over Iowa State at home would look very nice on their resume. Their final game at Kansas State could hold their fate. This game could go either way as both teams will be needing a victory. I give Kansas State a slight edge because they are at home for Senior Day. Texas Tech may need some help to make the tournament if they are unable to get a big win in the Big-12 Tournament.

Projected Conference Tournament Seed: 8

Projected NCAA Tournament Seed: First Four Out

 

Kansas State Wildcats (16-10) (5-8)

RPI Rank: 54  BPI Rank: 36  AP Rank: N/R

Best Wins: @ #2 Baylor, v.s. #7 West Virginia, @ Oklahoma State

Worst Losses: @ Tennessee, v.s. TCU, @ Texas Tech

 

Kansas State’s situation is almost identical to Texas Tech’s. Both teams have big wins, but have a bad loss. For Kansas State, their losses are not as bad and could be better losses than other bubble teams. There is still work to do for Kansas State and plenty of opportunities to make up for lost ground:

February 18th – @ Texas – W 68-63

February 22nd – v.s. Oklahoma State – W 67-66

February 25th – @ Oklahoma – W 73-65

March 1st – @ TCU – L 63-66

March 4th – v.s. Texas Tech – W 76-73

Final Record: 20-11 (9-9)

 

A strong end to the season is what Kansas State needs. They play the middle of the pack in the Big-12 to finish their season and wins against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech would give them the edge over other bubble teams. If Kansas State is able to finish the season 5-0, then I think it is safe to safe the Wildcats deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament!

Projected Conference Tournament Seed: 5

Projected NCAA Tournament Seed: 10

 

Texas Longhorns (10-16) (4-9)

RPI Rank: 153  BPI Rank: 74  AP Rank: N/R

Best Wins: v.s. Iowa State, v.s. Oklahoma State, v.s. Texas Tech

Worst Losses: v.s. Kent State, v.s. UT Arlington, v.s. Colorado*

 

With lots of praise entering the season, it seemed like Shaka Smart had this Texas team going in the right direction. Things just didn’t go the Longhorns’ way this season. For Shaka Smart’s sake, let’s hope Texas can learn from this season and provide better results next season. Here is their remaining schedule:

February 18th – v.s. Kansas State – L 63-68

February 20th – @ West Virginia – L 64-81

February 25th – v.s. Kansas – L 71-79

March 1st – @ Texas Tech – L 70-78

March 4th – v.s. Baylor – L 71-75

Final Record: 10-21 (4-14)

 

Texas has nothing to play for this season and their woes will continue as they finish the season. I just do not see the Longhorns being able to beat any of the teams remaining on their schedule. It has been a lost season for a team with a lot of potential heading into the year.

Projected Conference Tournament Seed: 9

Projected NCAA Tournament Seed: Next Next Next Next Four Out

 

Oklahoma Sooners (9-16) (3-10)

RPI Rank: 162  BPI Rank: 82  AP Rank: N/R

Best Wins: @ #7 West Virginia, v.s. Texas Tech, v.s. Clemson*

Worst Losses: v.s. Northern Iowa*, @ Texas, v.s. Memphis

 

Where is Buddy Hield? Didn’t this team just make it to the Final Four a year ago? Well, Buddy Hield is gone, which means so are Oklahoma’s chances at being relevant in the Big-12. It has been a disappointing season for the Sooners. All they have to play for is bragging rights, so will they win another game this season?

February 18th – @ Oklahoma State – L 76-84

February 21st – @ Baylor – L 66-73

February 25th – v.s. Kansas State – L 65-73

February 27th – @ Kansas – L 80-86

March 4th – v.s. TCU – L 71-74

Final Record: 9-21 (3-15)

 

The answer is no. Oklahoma will not win another game this year, ending what has been a horrific season for Sooners fans around the country.

Projected Conference Tournament Seed: 10

Projected NCAA Tournament Seed: Behind IPFW

 

So What Will The Conference Tournament Look Like?

The Big-12 Tournament is always interesting and always offers some very close games. Kansas will be the clear favorite to win the tournament once again. It should be interesting to see which teams step up and get the wins they need to make the tournament and it should be interesting to see if anybody can stop Kansas. Let’s take a look at my predictions for the Big-12 Tournament:

 

First Round:

Texas Tech 72 v.s. Texas 67

TCU 66 v.s. Oklahoma 63

 

Quarter Finals:

Baylor 67 v.s. Kansas State 62

Kansas 75 v.s. Texas Tech 71

West Virginia 77 v.s. TCU 71

Iowa State 82 v.s. Oklahoma State 78

 

Semi Finals:

Baylor 74 v.s. Kansas 78

West Virginia 73 v.s. Iowa State 75 F/OT

 

Championship:

Kansas 75 v.s. Iowa State 71

Champion: Kansas Jayhawks

 

NCAA Tournament Seeding After Conference Tournament (Based on Predictions):

Kansas Jayhawks (29-5): #1

West Virginia Mountaineers (25-8): #4

Iowa State Cyclones (22-11): #7

Baylor Bears (26-8): #3

Kansas State Wildcats (20-12): #10

Oklahoma State Cowboys (20-13): #11 – Last Four In

TCU Horned Frogs (20-13): #10

Texas Tech Red Raiders (20-13): First Four Out

Texas Longhorns (10-22): Next Next Next Next Four Out

Oklahoma Sooners (9-22): Next Next Next Next Next Four Out

 

The fate of a lot of Big-12 team’s postseason lies in the hands of the Big-12 Tournament. I am not predicting many upsets, but anything can happen and I am sure I will be wrong about all the top seeds advancing! The committee will look at a lot of the Big-12’s bubble teams and make their decision based on the end of the season. If these bubble teams finish strong and add to their resume, they may sneak into the tournament!

 

Brett Siegel

The Ville ‘ 20
(Photo from big12sports.com)

Brett Siegel
I am currently enrolled as a student at The University of Louisville, that started in the Fall of 2016. I plan on majoring in Sports Administration with a minor in communications. I am a huge sports fan that loves college basketball, college football, NFL, NBA, MLB, and Fantasy Football. I create mock drafts for NFL, NBA, and Fantasy Football, and have pages of statistical data from the past few years for all three sports. If you have any questions or comments, my email is bsiegelsports@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply