Big 12 Tourney will be madness before the madness


"We try to be the hardest-playing team", said Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton.

Here's a blind taste test of the bubble. While everyone knows Kansas is a blueblood and sure to make a deep run, can you really count out the other teams?

"If you're going into the conference tournaments across America, you'd have to believe nine from our league would be in at this point". See if you can identify your 5, or at least rank order and group the ones that are tight. "You can play really good basketball and be on the short end of a one or two possession-game, and it's not anything you did wrong". These are all big conference teams with double digit losses.

How far does WVU go?

Oklahoma has a respectable 18-12 straight up (SU) record, but they struggle covering the spread (10-19 against the spread (ATS)). They look at the entire schedule and consider all games equally.

Both teams open play in Friday's quarterfinals, with Auburn facing the Alabama-Texas A&M victor and Tennessee facing the LSU-Mississippi State victor. Game 2 Winner (ESPN/ESPN2) 7 p.m.

As for the No. 12 Tar Heels, they finished tied for third in the standings but ended up as the No. 6 seed due to tiebreakers. That's just a recent example.

Only twice has a team in the Big 12 championship game reached the NCAA National Championship. But it does show you home/road splits. So bad losses are included but "bad" wins are not.

Pistons get pounded in Cleveland
The Pacers trailed the Bucks by two at halftime, but Bogdanovic scored 11 points in a third quarter as in took a 92-89 lead. Nance was inserted in the lineup after Tristan Thompson sprained his ankle and is expected to be out a couple of games.

OSU has lost 13 games this season, but all have been to teams that Lunardi has projected in the NCAA Tournament.

Here's the identity of the teams.

After being ranked in the top five earlier this season, Arizona State and Oklahoma suddenly find their NCAA Tournament hopes in question. Bottom row: USC, Louisville, Notre Dame, Marquette, Baylor.

Heading into this week's Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, the fight paints a clear picture, one that, despite Kansas winning its 14th consecutive regular season championship, is littered with parity and a months-long WWE Royal Rumble-type odyssey. Oklahoma State is now on a three-game win streak, and will be a tough opponent for Kansas, regardless of another conference title.

If Alabama is going to make the NCAA tournament then they need a win (or two) in St. Louis this week. But our body of work speaks for itself, and I think we have a good shot of getting in just because of our resume and all of that. Three are from the Big 12, including Oklahoma State and Oklahoma - who are seeded eighth and ninth in the conference.

Texas Tech and West Virginia University are also two teams to keep an eye out for, as they each improve their stock with the committee because both teams are locks for the tournament. It didn't look too good.

Even though Ellis was not quite his normal self upon his return, he averaged 28.3 minutes per game during KU's final four games of the season - including 34 minutes in a second-round NCAA Touranment loss to Wichita State - and Self is optimistic that Azubuike could follow a similar timeline in the days ahead. If Florida is making perimeter shots then they can compete with any team in the country.

No. 1 Kansas vs. OSU beat Oklahoma in the first round of the tournament Wednesday. They are right on the cutline but behind the Bears. Oklahoma lost 71-60 to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Tournament.