Big 12 is what we thought it was: Why conference contenders have their work cut out for them leading up to Selection Sunday

In case there was any doubt, the Big 12 has a ton of work to do before Selection Sunday in five weeks.

The NCAA’s sneak preview of the tournament revealed the top 16 seeds at this moment Saturday on CBS. 

Kansas was the top Big 12 seed as a No. 3, but it was a mixed blessing. The Jayhawks were routed into the West Regional in Anaheim as opposed to the Midwest and Kansas City’s Sprint Center, their home away from home because of “competitive balance” issues. Iowa State earned a No. 4 seed in the East – before Saturday’s 92-83 home loss to TCU — and that was it for the Big 12. 

Selection committee chairman Bernard Muir, the athletic director at Stanford, did say that Texas Tech, along with three other teams, was also part of the discussion. The difference between a 4 (or higher) seed and a 5 (or lower) isn’t just matter of pride for Tech. It could mean the difference between starting the tournament in relatively nearby Tulsa as opposed to, say, Hartford or San Jose or Jacksonville.

American Athletic leader Houston was a No. 3 seed.

Basically, the Big 12 is who we thought it was — a deep and balanced conference that could put seven or even eight teams in the tournament but without that dominant national contender to capture attention, unlike current No. 1 seeds Duke, Tennessee, Virginia and Gonzaga.

How good of a gauge is the sneak preview? Muir noted that in 2017, 15 of the 16 seeds in the preview were still there on Selection Sunday. Last year, it was 13 of 16.

Unless one or two teams go on a run between now and March 17, the road to Minneapolis could be a rough ride for the Big 12.

Twitter: @ChuckCarltonDMN

Leave a Reply