With the Big 12 regular season winding to a close, two major story lines dominate the landscape.
How do the top of the standings fall (behind Baylor), with OSU, Texas and Texas A&M currently tied for second place?
How many teams will prove worthy of NCAA Tournament berths – and will the list include OU and/or OSU?
As it is now, the Bears, Aggies and Longhorns are generally considered solidly in the field of 64. The Cowboys, who have won 10 of their last 12, might be in, too, with the folks at Perfect Game projecting OSU as a No. 3 seed, at Florida.
OU, on the other hand, is currently out, which is significant considering at least five Big 12 teams have postseason invitations every year since 1997. Last year, the league secured six berths and the conference has been rewarded with as many as eight, in 2009.
But the Big 12's reputation has taken a hit this season, partly due to a shaky head-to-head record against the other power conferences. At one point, the league's RPI was as low as No. 6, although it's up to No. 4 now, yet still behind the ACC, SEC and Pac-12.
Could this be the year Big 12 loses its hold on a minimum of five berths?
OU's Sunny Golloway and OSU's Frank Anderson hope not.
Golloway: “If that's the case, that's really unfair. In the history of the Big 12, there's never been less than five. If that's the way it falls, that's the way it falls. We're not gonna cry over spilled milk. All we can do is go out and do a good job in the classroom with our finals and play hard against Baylor and try to get the weekend if we can.”
Anderson: “I've been in this league from the start, so I'm pretty familiar with the teams that have been in here. The pitching in our league this year is as good as when we had Max Scherzer and Joba Chamberlain and those guys. Maybe more pitching depth than those years. Just from a standpoint of a quality of pitching… there's a lot of teams in our league you wouldn't want in your regional.”