As the season winds down, fans across the nation begin to turn their attention toward post season play and more specifically, the NCAA Tournament. On March 13th, Selection Sunday, players across the nation will wait to hear their team selected by the NCAA Committee. While some are no-brainers, other must hope the resume built over the season holds up in comparison to other "bubble teams." But the way I see it, the Big XII has a shot at securing seven spots in the NCAA Tournament.
Over the past several years, no conference has been better from top to bottom in basketball than the Big XII Conference. Although Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks have reigned supreme for over a decade, Lon Kruger has done an excellent job of rebuilding the Oklahoma Sooners program over the course of five years. Scott Drew recruits some of the best players in the nation to play for the Baylor Bears despite what anyone things about his coaching abilities. However, the main reason the conference remains deep can be attributed to a few changes.
Toward the end of last season, Bob Huggins implemented "Press Virginia" resulting in a surprise trip to the Sweet Sixteen for the West Virginia Mountaineers. On the other hand, the Iowa State Cyclones hired a new coach after Fred Hoiberg made the jump to the NBA. Relying on the starters' experience and heavy work load, ISU continues to hang around in the rankings. But, the biggest surprise may be Shaka Smart and the turn around the Texas Longhorns have made during the second half of the season. Fighting their way into the top twenty-five, it's scary to think what could be once Smart has his own recruits on the court!
But, we're all familiar with these six programs mentioned above. Who should earn the seventh spot?
The Texas Tech Red Raiders currently sit on the bubble. However, Tubby Smith and his squad are making a late season push behind three consecutive wins over ranked foes. With the 4th ranked strength of schedule in the nation Joe Lundardi has the Red Raiders as one of the last four in while CBS has Tech as a No. 8 Seed. Of course, TTU will need to finish the season strong to secure that bid but it could easily happen.
Current CBS Projections
Kansas - No. 1 Seed
Oklahoma - No. 2 Seed
West Virginia - No. 3 Seed
Iowa State - No. 4 Seed
Baylor - No. 7 Seed
Texas - No. 5 Seed
Texas Tech - No. 8 Seed