Friday, October 28, 2016

Big 12 Weekly Hoops Report

Written by Mark Fought, Data Analyst

With the non-conference portion of the Big 12 teams’ schedules coming to a close its time to look ahead at conference play, the conference tournament and project where each team might end up at the end of the season.  We’ll look back at these predictions in March when the NCAA tournament field is set and see how clear our crystal ball was – or was not.

First, I’ll project the final non-conference records of each team.


Current                                                                                                                Projected

Non-Conf.           Final Non-conf.                 Projected            Final Non-conf.

School                                   Record                  Opponents                         Outcome             Record

Baylor                                   10-1                       Norfolk State                     Win                        11-1

Iowa State                             9-1                       Miss. Valley St.                  Win                        11-1

South Carolina                   Win

Kansas                                  9-2                        Kent St.                                 Win                        11-2

UNLV                                    Win

Kansas State                      7-4                        Texas Southern                   Win                        8-5

Georgia                                  Loss

Oklahoma                           8-3                       George Mason                     Win                        9-3

Oklahoma State                  9-2                       Missouri                              Win                        10-2

TCU                                        12-0                    Tennessee State                  Win                        13-0

Texas                                    10-2                      Rice                                       Win                        11-2

Texas Tech                          9-3                       North Texas                        Win                        10-3

West Virginia                     11-1                      Virginia Tech                     Win                        12-1


Now, I’ll take a shot at predicting how the conference’s teams will fare in Big 12 play.

Projected            Projected

Big 12                                     Final

School                                   Record                  Record

Baylor                                   8-10                       19-11

Iowa State                            11-7                       22-8

Kansas                                 12-6                       23-8

Kansas State                       6-12                      14-17

Oklahoma                           9-9                        18-12

Oklahoma State                 9-9                        19-11

TCU                                      8-10                      21-10

Texas                                   12-6                       23-8

Texas Tech                        5-13                       15-16

West Virginia                   10-8                       22-9

Now, I have to predict the Big 12 tournament.  Here’s where I think the seeds will shake out:

1 – Texas

2 – Kansas

3 – Iowa State

4 – West Virginia

5 – Oklahoma State

6 – Oklahoma

7 – Baylor

8 – TCU

9 – Kansas State

10 – Texas Tech

In the Big 12 tournament the 8 and 9 seeds and the 7 and 10 seeds face off against each other.  I’ll go with TCU and Baylor winning those games, respectively.  Texas would then get TCU and Kansas would get Baylor.  I see those two teams playing in the Big 12 title game, so I’ll give them wins in the second round.  The other games would be 4th seeded WVU against 5th seeded Oklahoma State and 3rd seeded Iowa State versus 6th seeded Oklahoma.    I like WVU and ISU to advance to the semifinals, where WVU loses to Texas and ISU falls to Kansas.  I’ll pick Texas to win the conference championship game in a tight one over Kansas.

If those developments come to pass, here is what the final records of the conference teams would look like, in order of the highest number of wins:

Texas                    26-8

Kansas                  25-9

Iowa State          23-9

West Virginia     23-10

TCU                        22-11

Baylor                   20-12

Okla. State          19-12

Oklahoma           18-13

Texas Tech          15-17

Kansas St.            14-18

The above projection shows 6 conference teams with 20 victories at the end of the season.  If the projected final records above come to pass, just how many teams might the Big 12 – currently the top-rated RPI conference in the land –get into March Madness?  Could the conference send as many as 7 of its 10 schools into the tournament, or even 8 schools?

My prediction?  The following teams make it to the NCAA tournament with no “bubble team” worries:


Iowa State




West Virginia

It then would come down to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State as “bubble teams”.  18 wins might not be enough – even against a rugged Big 12 league schedule – to get into March Madness, but  19 wins might.  Given that, my prediction is that the Cowboys break through the bubble and make it to the dance, but the Sooners end up just missing March Madness.  That would make 7 Big 12 teams in the NCAA tournament, which would be quite an accomplishment for the conference.

What is clear from the above analysis is that a conference win-or-loss shift of just one game either way could be huge in terms of a Big 12 team making the NCAA tournament or not, but that’s what conference games are for – deciding who qualifies for the NCAA tournament and who gets relegated to the National Invitation Tournament, or worse yet, sitting at home watching both tournaments.

The hope from here is that as many conference schools get into the tournament as possible and, of course, that WVU makes another trip to the Final Four!

Conference play will soon be upon us.  To slightly modify the Olympic phrase, “Let the Big 12 conference games begin!”

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