Cowboys and Bubble Talk
By John Helsley
follow on Twitter @jjhelsley
We’ve reached the point where bracketology begins to mean something.
Before February, it’s all good fun, yet hardly a true projection of what to expect with March Madness.
But now, beyond the midpoint of conference play, the bracket starts to take some shape.
Go to the Bracket Project for some real fun, where someone has produced a matrix of some 50 variations of bracketology, offering a compilation view.
According to Bracket Project, today Oklahoma State is IN the tournament, albeit as one of the last teams in, getting a No. 12 seed. Yesterday, the Cowboys were on the bubble. And that’s about right, considering their No. 43 RPI and No. 62 strength of schedule.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, the most popular of bracketologists, currently has OSU on the outside, but as the first team out.
It’s a similar tale for several of the Big 12’s teams.
Overall, the Big 12 is bubblicious.
Only three league teams own winning conference records. And with the Big 12 expected to claim at least six NCAA bids, that means the coming weeks will be telling for several teams, including OSU.
At 4-5 in the league, the Cowboys have some work to do to make themselves NCAA Tournament worthy. But so do a lot of Big 12 teams, including several who once seemed sure things for the big bracket: Baylor, Texas A&M, Missouri and Kansas State.
Only two teams are NCAA locks: Texas (8-0) and Kansas (8-1).
Baylor offers the only other winning conference record (5-4) and bolstered its chances with a road win at suddenly slumping A&M on Saturday, yet faces a difficult closing schedule that includes two games with the Longhorns.
The Cowboys, winners of two straight, are among four teams tied for sixth place, along with Mizzou, K-State and Colorado.
Clearly, some seven teams are in play for what amounts to four available bids, giving us some serious showdowns for the stretch.
Here’s how these contenders close:
Baylor (5-4): Nebraska; at Texas; Texas Tech; at Missouri; Texas A&M; at OSU; Texas.
Texas A&M (4-4): at Colorado; at Texas Tech; Iowa State; at OSU; Oklahoma; at Baylor; at Kansas; Texas Tech.
OSU (4-5): at Nebraska; at Texas; Texas A&M; at Kansas; Texas Tech; Baylor; at Oklahoma.
Colorado (4-5): Texas A&M; Kansas State; at Kansas; at Texas Tech; Texas; at Iowa State; Nebraska.
Kansas State (4-5): at Colorado; Kansas; Oklahoma; at Nebraska; Missouri; at Texas; Iowa State.
Missouri (4-5): Oklahoma; Texas Tech; at Iowa State; Baylor; at Kansas State; at Nebraska; Kansas.
Nebraska (3-5): at Baylor; Oklahoma State; at Oklahoma; Texas; Kansas State; at Iowa State; Missouri; at Colorado.
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