Sunday, February 24, 2008

Welcome to the wild, wild Midwest

After a Sunday where everyone in the Big 12 played, nothing is settled except that Texas is good, Colorado is not, and the other 10 all have strengths and flaws. There are three teams that can probably feel safe: Texas, Kansas and Kansas State. Everyone else is at least two games behind those three teams. Barring a complete pratfall, K-State will finish 10-6 or better since the Wildcats play Colorado and Iowa State, along with KU and Texas.

So there's three solid teams. Texas A&M is crumbling, and could cost itself a bid. Home losses to Oklahoma State and Nebraska impress nobody. A&M could easily lose out since it has to go to Baylor and Oklahoma, along with hosting Kansas (the other game is Texas Tech). That would probably knock the Aggies out of the NCAAs.

If A&M falters, Baylor and Oklahoma are both in great shape. Oklahoma will have the better case since it beat Baylor twice. But Baylor now has a signature win after beating K-State. Being completely honest, the Bears should not lose again until the conference tournament. That would make Baylor 22-8, and that should get the Bears in. Oklahoma must beat A&M at home. Other than two over Baylor, the Sooners' best win all year is Gonzaga. While 20 wins normally gets you in, it didn't for K-State last year. Oklahoma must beat A&M to feel completely sure going to Kansas City.

As for the rest? With the least losses, Nebraska probably has the best chance, albeit a long shot. Wins over Arizona State and Oregon look good, but a loss to Colorado looks bad. Nebraska needs to hold serve at home and beat either Oklahoma State or Texas on the road to have a shot. Win both and win a game in KC, I'd have to say Nebraska belongs for sure. But I doubt it happens.

Oklahoma State is sizzling right now, but a loss to Missouri would give all that momentum back, and the Cowboys are an NIT team anyway. Same for Missouri, despite the tough schedule. Texas Tech might not win another game in the regular season. Iowa State is in the same boat, and Colorado is Colorado.

So, my outlook for the Big 12 at this point is that five bids are likely, six is possible. Texas, KU and K-State are in (barring a collapse), Baylor and Oklahoma looks good. Texas A&M controls its own destiny, but if it slips, the door opens for Nebraska. No matter what, it's going to be a fun ride. Unless people comment telling me this is what they want, this won't be a regular posting, but I will start commenting on conferences more frequently.

While I have you here, I'd like to tell you about Freeze Fire's upcoming series: 30 teams in 30 days. It's a month-long preview of Major League Baseball, leading up to the American season opener in Washington between the Braves and Nationals. It starts on February 29th, and I'll lead off with the American League East, the division I know best. Don't worry, other posts will still be coming up to go along with the series. Enjoy.

My time is up. You've all been great. Enjoy The Used.

1 comment:

Shawn Garrison said...

The Big 12 is wide open this year. Just think, if MU doesn't lose that home game to Nebraska with only 6 scholarship players available they'd be tied for fourth place. Oh what could have been.