Congratulations to the Iowa State Cyclones who are the 2014 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament champions. I just wanted to say that we never doubted you. While four days of continuous basketball certainly proved that Iowa State is the hottest team in the conference right now, there were also other nuggets of information that we picked up on. Such as...
Kansas doesn't deserve a top seed in the NCAA. Yes, I know that there's an argument to be made for the top four seeds being a season-long achievement but the reality is that Kansas, right now, is not one of the top four best teams in the country. Their loss at West Virginia in the regular season finale was a dagger towards their number one seed aspirations and their loss to conference champion Iowa State in the semifinals of the tournament was the final nail in the coffin.
Oklahoma State will be in with a losing conference record. Nope, its not the most impressive NCAA Tournament resume out there but the Pokes made just enough noise in Kansas City to warrant an invite to the dance. While many thought that the Cowboys would be in regardless, the reality is that an opening round loss to Texas Tech would have sealed their, and quite possibly Travis Ford's, fate.
West Virginia will be dancing...in the NIT. It wasn't a good enough run for Bob Huggins and company, plain and simple. Their win over Kansas, to close out the regular season, put them on the road to the NCAA but the 14 point first half against Texas was a painful death to their tournament dreams. At 17-15 the Mountaineers aren't going to make the cut but their 9-9 conference record will earn them an NIT invite.
Baylor played their way in. Until around halftime of Saturday's championship game, the Baylor Bears were the hottest team in Kansas City. Despite the eventual 74-64 loss to Iowa State the Bears did more than enough to earn their way into the NCAA. A 9-9 conference record had them on the bubble going into the tournament but a run of three consecutive wins over TCU, Oklahoma, and Texas put them at the 24 win mark which will get them a nod from the selection committee, even with a .500 conference record.
The Big Twelve will get seven in the NCAA Tournament. What started off as a bold prediction months ago has turned into something that will be a shocker if it doesn't happen. The Big Twelve is the deepest basketball conference in the country and will be rewarded with Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor, and Oklahoma State receiving NCAA invites on Sunday.
Lon Kruger's accomplishments are being overshadowed by tournament losses. The AP Big Twelve Coach of the Year in now 0-3 in Big 12 Tournament games and is 0-1 in the NCAA as a Sooner. While critics will flock to those records what shouldn't be overlooked is the turnaround Kruger is pulling off at Oklahoma. After taking over a program that had drifted into the basketball waste land under Jeff Capel's watch, Coach Kruger has resurrected Sooner basketball and brought it back to the forefront of the conference.
That tops off our list of things learned in Kansas City. Hit us up in the comments section to let us know what else we should have been educated on.