We are 96 days away from Selection Sunday so what better time is there than now to do a Big 12 Bubble Watch? Conference teams thus far have been a big surprise in non-conference play, scoring wins over the likes of Duke, Kentucky, Michigan, Colorado and Memphis. But some teams are more of a sure thing and the others just keep us guessing. So here’s how we’ll break it down: Those “in very good shape” are definitely in the NCAA Tournament if it started today; those that “might be getting in” have looked good so far but haven’t truly tested themselves yet; and those “on the outside looking in” have a chance to get in but still need a lot of work. As for those not listed, let’s just say that they have quite a bit of work to do at this point. Let’s get to it.
In Very Good Shape
Oklahoma State: (8-1); RPI: 15, SOS: 28.
Analysis: I haven’t been crazy about who the Cowboys have played considering they were a preseason top-10 team, but they haven’t shown any reason to doubt that they will make the Tournament. They were able to split two games with nationally-ranked Memphis and scooted by Butler at the Old Spice Classic. The caveat about the Butler win, like most against the Big East this season, is that you might not know if it’s a good win until Selection Sunday. It’s great to have one, though, for security reasons. If that Butler win doesn’t hold up, the Cowboys have one more big test against Colorado (didn’t they leave the Big 12?) in Las Vegas. They’re certainly on the right track.
Kansas: (6-2); RPI: 2, SOS: 1
Analysis: Hugs for Bill Self. He challenges his team in the non-conference portion of the season each and every season and we love him for that. Some have been disappointed with the unspectacular play of Andrew Wiggins and have been surprised with the still-relatively-new-to-basketball Joel Embiid. Kansas has a neutral-court victory over Duke that is likely to withstand the season and it’s not like the Jayhawks won’t have time before the conference opener to change minds (if they need to). They have Florida to contend with tonight and Mountain West favorites New Mexico and San Diego State coming up soon. Plus, if you’re ranked in the top five in both RPI and SOS, you’ve pretty much in a good place.