NCAA Tournament Instareaction: Big 12 Teams

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 11th, 2018

Every passing postseason where a Big 12 team gets bounced in embarrassing fashion or fails to maximize its potential by way of an otherwise-excusable loss becomes another pock mark on the conference’s reputation. Oklahoma got the Big 12 off the schneid with a Final Four Run in 2016, but it hasn’t been enough. There’s never been more pressure on the league to produce than there is this year, and seven teams will get a bite at the apple. Another Big 12 team has to break through eventually… right?

Kansas (#1 Midwest)

Behind senior guard Devonte’ Graham, Kansas will aim to cut down the nets in San Antonio. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • Best Case: The recent breakouts of Malik Newman and Silvio De Sousa continue into the NCAA Tournament, buying additional time for Udoka Azubuike to recover from his MCL injury. With the Jayhawks’ starting center at full strength for the second weekend, Bill Self makes his third Final Four as the Kansas head coach.
  • Worst Case: Foul trouble and a cold shooting night around the perimeter spell another early exit, this time in the Round of 32.

Texas Tech (#3 East)

  • Best Case: Keenan EvansZach Smith and Justin Gray take advantage of a nearly week-long break and get healthy, and the Red Raiders channel the best version of themselves to their first ever Elite Eight appearance.
  • Worst Case: The Red Raiders continue to slide and are defeated at the hands of Stephen F. Austin, a team that bears some striking similarities to the West Virginia team that bested Tech in two of their three meetings.

West Virginia (#5 East)

  • Best Case: The most cohesive offense of the Press Virginia era bolsters both the press attack and Sagaba Konate‘s ability to control the paint, propelling the Mountaineers all the way to the Elite Eight.
  • Worst Case: Bob Huggins‘ team brushes Murray State aside in the first round, but their defense lets up against Wichita State’s potent offense in the Round of 32.

TCU (#6 Midwest)

  • Best Case: The Horned Frogs celebrate the first of what will be many trips to the NCAAs under Jamie Dixon‘s leadership by notching their first Big Dance win since 1987 before bowing out in the Second Round.
  • Worst Case: TCU’s defense continues to struggle against tournament-level competition, reducing their bid to cameo status as they lose to the winner of Wednesday’s play-in game between Arizona State and Syracuse.

Kansas State (#9 South)

  • Best Case: Behind the returns of Dean Wade and Barry Brown, the Wildcats make the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2010.
  • Worst Case: Senior Creighton guard Marcus Foster exacts revenge on his former program as Kansas State suffers another flame-out in the Round of 64, eliciting a new round of howls in Bruce Weber‘s general direction.

Oklahoma (#10 Midwest)

  • Best Case: The Sooners, elated to be playing against a team outside of their conference again, slip past Rhode Island, but can’t get through the Duke buzzsaw in a battle of probable lottery picks.
  • Worst Case: Rhode Island’s stout perimeter defense (#11 nationally and third in the NCAA Tournament field in defensive 3FGA/FGA) snuffs out any hope of a Sooner redemption tour.

Texas (#10 South)

  • Best Case: The Longhorns somehow turn their First Round game against Nevada into a rock fight and emerge victorious before being disposed of by #2 Cincinnati.
  • Worst Case: Texas’ hobbled and shorthanded rotation gets run off the floor by the aforementioned Wolf Pack’s #10 offense.
Brian Goodman (987 Posts)

Brian Goodman a Big 12 microsite writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BSGoodman.

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