A whopping six Big 12 teams made the NCAA tournament field this year, a 60% representation of the conference.
First let's take a look at the bad matchups Big 12 teams were seeded into.
K-State and ISU were both cast as 8-seeds against tough first round opponents: Connecticut Huskies and Southern Miss. Golden Eagles, respectively. Say they both win their first games, which would be no small feat, the ‘Clones and Wildcats would be pitted against the Kentucky Wildcats and Syracuse Orange, the first and second overall seeds in the tourney. In all likelihood both of their tournament lives would seem to come to an end.
As an 11-seed, the Horns are face an uphill battle, against the violent Yancy Gates and the Cincinnati Bearcats. Most will remember that Cincy was the team that knocked fellow Big 12 member Mizzou out of the tournament last year, and despite my plea for a full year suspension of Gates and the other guys involved in the Cincy-Xavier fight, Cincy is just a big team that should be able to handle the Baby Horns. Should UT get past Cincy, they're presumed to face Florida St. Seminoles, which are coming off back-to-back wins against the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels, to win the ACC tournament champions. Ouch.
Baylor seems to have an easier path, as a 3-seed. Despite their loss in the Big 12 tournament championship, Baylor is playing their best ball of the season and Perry Jones III seems to be stepping up. With their length and guard play, should they get past Duke in the Sweet 16, it is assumed they'll play Kentucky for a trip to New Orleans and the Final Four. Win that and they could rematch Mizzou.
Mizzou got the 2-seed, and despite being seeded outside of the St. Louis Region, they might have the easiest path to the Final Four of the Big 12 teams. The Michigan St. Spartans are no slouch, but they are arguably the worst of the 1-seeds. That's not to say they didn't deserve the top line, but if Mizzou can get past the Marquette Golden Eagles in the Sweet 16, they should face Sparty for a trip to the Final Four. If Mizzou's shots are dropping that night, their chance of winning that game are high so you can pencil them in for a Final Four slot.
The other Big 12 2-seed, got a favorable matchup in St. Louis, which should allow a lot of Jayhawks to attend the game, and turn the Edward Jones Dome into Allen Fieldhouse East. North Carolina is a talented team, and if they face KU in the Elite Eight, they can use size and their deep bench to catapult past the Jayhawks, but if the crowd can turn the game into a semi-home game for KU, then they should also be able to sneak into the Final Four.
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