The Big 12 NCAA Tournament Contenders
No. 11: Cincinnati
Right now Cincy has some work to do to get into the NCAA Tournament. They are just 2-4 in Quad-1 games and 1-2 in Quad-2 games.
Their best win to date was an 11-point upset of then No. 11 BYU in Provo to open Big 12 play. Since then, they have lost four of six games though five of those games were against teams ranked at the time they played.
The Bearcats have a winnable game at home against WVU before heading to Lubbock on Saturday in a game that they will be desperate to add to their tournament resume.
No. 10: Texas
The most bubblicious team in the Big 12 right now is Texas. They have proven good enough to knock off No. 9 Baylor in Austin and No. 11 Oklahoma in Norman but they have also dropped home games to UCF and Texas Tech.
Saturday saw UT fail to pick up a much-needed Quad-1 win in Provo, Utah and that likely has the Horns right on the NCAA Tournament bubble. Their next three games: vs. No. 4 Houston, at TCU, and vs. No. 23 Iowa State could tell the story of their season and set them on a path to either the NCAA Tournament or to the N.I.T.
No. 9: Kansas State
Sure, the Wildcats are squarely in the middle of the Big 12 standings with a 4-3 overall record in conference action. However, their proving to be a bit of a mess when they play good teams.
Thus far, three of their Big 12 wins are over UCF, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State. Only an upset of No. 9 Baylor stands as their reason for pride to this point.
Meanwhile, in games against No. 4 Houston and No. 23 Iowa State, both on the road, they were defeated by 11 or more points. How much do you think the Wildcats are lamenting their 60-59 come-from-ahead loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock right about now?
No. 8: Oklahoma
The Sooners are reeling. Yes, they remain ranked this week but last week saw them drop back-to-back home games to Texas and Texas Tech.
Those two losses will prove to be huge missed opportunities for OU to cement it's Big Dance ticket. Fortunately for OU, the computers love what they did in the non-conference as they sit at No. 34 in the NET Rankings.
Road games at Kansas State and UCF this week will be perilous for Porter Mosher's team. If they drop those two, the sky could start to fall in Norman with BYU, Baylor, and Kansas on the schedule in the four games after that.
No. 7: BYU
Finding out how difficult the path through the Big 12 is, BYU is keeping its head above water but not living up to the lofty ranking it held when league play began. After dropping back-to-back games to Tech and Houston, the Cougars picked up a much-needed win over Texas at home on Saturday.
Another team that the computers love, BYU is currently in no danger of missing the tournament. What's more, their next five games (at WVU, at OU, vs. Kansas State, vs. UCF, and at Oklahoma State) are all winnable and could provide them with a chance to get hot and climb the conference standings.
No. 6: Baylor
For one of the few times in recent memory, Scott Drew's Baylor team is taking on water. Three consecutive losses to unranked teams have the Bears searching for answers ahead of a tricky road trip to Orlando.
Life after that won't be easy for Baylor either. Home games against Iowa State and Texas Tech before a road trip to Kansas will tell us quite a bit about the Bears.
No. 5: TCU
TCU is one of the toughest teams in the Big 12 to predict. At 4-3 in the Big 12 race, they are tied for fourth in the standings.
Wins over Baylor, Houston, and OU have all been impressive as was the game the Big 12 officials stole from the Frogs in Lawrence. However, a loss to Cincy and a loss to Iowa State that saw TCU fall behind by 20+ points at home give reason for pause.
Tuesday, Tech travels to Fort Worth in one of the most intriguing games of the week in the conference. That game could tell us quite a bit about both teams with the Frogs looking to rattle off their third-straight win and Tech trying to stay atop the league race.