The “GRAFF” Report
By Trevor Graff:
The conference season is coming to a close with Kansas, Missouri and Baylor fighting for the conference title with the relative safety of a probable NCAA tournament berth. The next tier of the Big 12 will either play their way in to the tournament or fall on the wrong side of the bubble.
Here are three teams solidly on the bubble in the Big 12:
Iowa State (18-8, 8-5)
With a big win over Kansas in Ames, Iowa State has the foundation for a tournament bid. The Cyclones, ranked 39th in the latest RPI poll, still have to play at Missouri and at home against Baylor in their last two games of the season.
The Cyclones should make the tournament, but they must win the next three games against Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Kansas State to solidify their Tournament bid.
Kansas State (17-8, 6-7)
The loss to Kansas at home has put the Wildcats on the Tournament ropes. The Wildcats ranked 61st in the most recent RPI poll. The RPI combined with a strength of schedule ranked in the eighties leaves K-State a lot of work to do.
To make the tournament, the ‘Cats need a win over Missouri or Baylor and would have to win out against Iowa State, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.
Texas (16-9, 6-6)
The Longhorns are the last of the Big 12 bubble teams. The Longhorns ranked 48th in the RPI poll with a 15th ranked strength of schedule. The record is unsightly, but the strength of schedule speaks for itself.
Texas must win games versus Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech down the stretch. They must also perform well against Kansas and Baylor to increase their stock.
The Big 12 is likely to have four teams in this year’s tournament. Kansas, Missouri and Baylor are locks, and Iowa State looks like a solid contender for an at large bid. With a solid finish Texas could sneak into the NCAAs, but the Wildcats are in trouble.