As the 2017 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship beings, it’s time to evaluate each team’s Basically, this is a ranking of every team’s realistic ability to win the tournament, looking both at their path to victory and success in the season.
1. Kansas (1)
Unlike the regular season, a Big 12 tournament title is not as guaranteed for the Jayhawks. KU has 10 tournament championships, but their titles have not come in streaks. The Jayhawks, with star players returning from last year’s championship team, are the odds-on favorite to win. They’re at the top of the list, but it’s a qualified confidence.
2. WVU (2)
This may be biased, but if there is a team who can knock off KU in the final, it’s WVU. The Mountaineers had KU beat for 77 of the 85 minutes these teams played this season. The problem for WVU has been their performances against “lesser” competition. If WVU can make it past TTU or Texas, they might become a freight train.
3. Iowa State (4)
The Cyclones were splendid toward the end of the regular season and had a chance to lock up a No. 2 seed. They swept OK State, their first opponent in the tournament, and knocked off KU in Lawrence. There’s a lot to like about the Cyclones, especially how they played at the end of the season.
4. OK State (5)
The Cowboys didn’t start the Big 12 slate well, but they have had two five-game win streaks twice in conference play. You’ve gotta get hot to win the tournament, but they are 0-2 against Iowa State—their first opponent—and KU—a potential opponent in the semis.
5. Baylor (3)
Baylor locked up its NCAA tournament bid in December, but has looked very inconsistent in Big 12 play. Against WVU and K-State, the Bears are 2-2, but their 0-2 record against KU is concerning. They also split with Iowa State.
6. Texas Tech (7)
This teams scares me the most in WVU’s half of the tournament. The Red Raiders have shown great promise but also great disappointment. Depending on which team shows up, Tech could find themselves making noise.
7. Kansas State (6)
I think this team is just not up to the task to win a tournament championship. The Wildcats have played the good teams well, posting a 2-2 record against WVU and Baylor, but they have a tendency to blow it against teams they should beat. Not sure if they can get hot enough to win the tournament.
8. TCU (8)
A much-improved team under new coach Jamie Dixon, but having to play Kansas in the quarterfinals doesn’t bode well for the Horned Frogs. Doesn’t take away from the great season they’ve had.
9. Oklahoma (9)
This team has some talent, but hasn’t been able to really do anything consistent all season. The Sooners could win their first game, but I don’t see a path for them to the final, let alone past the first round.
10. Texas (10)
I have zero confidence in Texas. But I’d love for them to take down Texas Tech in the first round because I’d rather play the Longhorns than Tech.
The 2017 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship begins Wednesday, March 8 and runs through Saturday, March 11. WVU’s first game is Thursday, March 9 at 7 p.m. ET.