Now that we all have taken a deep breath from the Magic of Monday, it seems appropriate to set the stage for the rest of the Big 12 Conference season. The Big 12 has been far away the most entertaining conference this season and the action next week in Kansas City is certain to be nutty. You all know Kansas has clinched at least a share of the conference title, but what you may not realize is they aren’t automatically a one seed in the tournament….yet. There are even several scenarios where Iowa State could snatch that top spot. Let’s do our best to explain.
Kansas Wins a game or two
Kansas has a tussle at home with West Virginia (tonight 8 o’clock on ESPN2) and a brutal road game at Oklahoma remaining. If they win either of the two, they are a lock to win the league outright and clinch the one-seed. From there, it gets very complicated.
If Kansas wins both games and Iowa State defeats TCU, Iowa State clinches the 2nd seed in the tournament. In this scenario, if Baylor defeats Texas Tech at home, they are the three-seed.
If Kansas wins both, Iowa State loses to TCU and Baylor defeats Texas Tech at home….Baylor gets the two-seed, Oklahoma the three-seed, Iowa State the four-seed, West Virginia the five.
If Kansas loses to West Virginia and defeats Oklahoma, Iowa State defeats TCU, West Virginia defeats Oklahoma State at home…..Iowa State is the two seed, West Virginia the three seed.
If Kansas defeats West Virginia, loses to Oklahoma, Iowa State defeats TCU, Baylor defeats Texas Tech, West Virginia defeats Oklahoma State at home…. Iowa State grabs the two-seed, Oklahoma the three-seed, Baylor the four-seed. (I think this is the most likely scenario)
If Kansas defeats West Virginia, loses to Oklahoma, Iowa State loses to TCU, Baylor defeats Texas Tech…. Oklahoma gets the two-seed, Baylor the three-seed, Iowa State the four-seed, West Virginia the five.
Kansas loses out
Let’s say Kansas loses both remaining games, the Big 12 turns into a cluster expletive.
In pretty much any scenario, if Kansas loses out and Iowa State defeats TCU, the Cyclones are the No. 1 seed.
If Kansas loses out, Iowa State defeats TCU, West Virginia defeats Oklahoma State at home… Iowa State gets the one-seed, Oklahoma two-seed, West Virginia three-seed and Kansas four-seed.
If Kansas loses out, Iowa State defeats TCU, Oklahoma State defeats West Virginia…it gets so incredibly complicated that I give up. But really….Iowa State gets the one-seed, Oklahoma the two-seed, Kansas three-seed and Baylor four-seed.
Kansas loses out, Iowa State loses to TCU
In the Armageddon scenario, if Kansas loses both, Iowa State loses to TCU, Baylor defeats Tech, West Virginia defeats Oklahoma State…..West Virginia grabs the one-seed, Oklahoma No. 2, Kansas No. 3, Baylor No. 4 and Iowa State No. 5.
If the above happened and instead West Virginia lost to Oklahoma State…Oklahoma snags the one-seed, Kansas No. 2, Baylor No. 3, Iowa State No. 4 and West Virginia No.5.
Confused yet? So am I.
And we haven’t even gotten to the bottom half of the conference, which is an utter nightmare.
Best case scenario for Iowa State
Enough of the madness. What is the best road for Iowa State to defend the Big 12 tournament title? With the roller coaster season, it is a chore to decide.
If Iowa State wins in Ft. Worth, a quarterfinal game with Texas is likely, but I would prefer the Cyclones see Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have experienced some monumental droughts and I like that matchup for the good guys. Texas as a seven-seed with their size and desperation would be a difficult animal to tame.
Seeing Oklahoma in a final would be ideal. The Sooners play their starting five very heavy minutes. Catching them in the third game of a three day stretch would be a big plus. That said, seeing Oklahoma in the semi-final is okay as well. Iowa State got a pretty good idea how to attack the Sooners in the historic second half on Monday.
Please no Baylor. The Cyclones don’t match-up well with Baylor and the Bears ability to go big or small to counter Iowa State has caused Hoiberg some major issues. Kenny Chery never misses a contested jumper against the Cyclones. As far as I am concerned, Scott Drew’s club can call a bunch of timeouts and lose to somebody else.
With the uncertainty of Cliff Alexander’s eligibility, Kansas becomes more palatable. They aren’t untouchable by any means. But make no mistake, they will have the most fans in Kansas City and Bill Self is a wizard in Kansas City (even with the loss to Iowa State last year, KU has won nine of the eighteen Big 12 tournament titles.) I’m great with not seeing those dudes until the final.
Can you imagine the atmosphere at Sprint Center on Saturday night if it’s round three of Kansas vs. Iowa State with the arena fandom split in half? Whoa nelly, I’ve got goose bumps already.