Big 12 looking good
Excellent, excellent performance by the Sooners against Saint Joseph’s on Friday in the NCAA Tournament. A few shaky moments after taking the 19-point lead, but very few NCAA victors go without some shaky moments.
And the Big 12 owes the Sooners a big thank you. Here’s what OU did for the conference: kept the Big 12 at the top of the NCAA performance chart.
OU was the final Big 12 team playing in the first round, and here are the league standings after the first round:
Big East: 7-1
Big 12: 5-1
ACC & Big Ten: 3-1
I believe NCAA Tournament results provide the status of a league. All the talk about regular-season strength and conference prowess is just that. Talk. The NCAA Tournament is where strength is revealed. And truth is, second-round games usually separate contenders and pretenders among the leagues. But at least the Big 12 is in the running to stake its claim.
Let’s examine a couple of things. First, the Big 12′s first-round performance was remarkable. The Big 12 was seeded to go 3-3, yet when 5-1. No other league overcame such seeding.
The Big East was seeded to be 7-1 and went 7-1.
The Pac-10 was seeded to be 5-1 and went 3-3.
The ACC was seeded to be 4-0 and went 3-1.
The Big Ten was seeded to be 4-0 and went 3-1.
The SEC was seeded to be 3-3 and went 3-3.
So now, you see, how impressive was the Big 12 performance. How will the Big 12 fare in the second round? It won’t be easy.
Kansas-UNLV and Texas-Miami figure to be Big 12 victories. But the Big 12 will be underdogs in the other games: OU-Louisville, Texas A&M-UCLA and Kansas State-Wisconsin. The Aggies aren’t likely to stay with UCLA, but if the Sooners or Wildcats could pull an upset, that’s more ammunition for the Big 12.
The Big East could win this conference track meet. The Big East has an interesting second round. In addition to OU-Louisville, the Big East has Villanova-Siena, Georgetown-Davidson, Marquette-Stanford, West Virginia-Duke, Notre Dame-Washington State, Pitt-Michigan State. The Big East is seeded to go 4-3 in the second round. If the Big East does that, it will be tough to beat.
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