When Oklahoma State routed sixth-ranked Kansas on Saturday afternoon in Stillwater, the Cowboys accomplished more than becoming the first team ever to sweep the Jayhawks during Bill Self’s 15-year coaching tenure.
They also boosted the odds that the Big 12 sets a record on Selection Sunday.
Nine of the Big 12’s 10 teams will still be in contention for at-large NCAA tournament berths when the league’s tournament tips off Wednesday in Kansas City. Only last-place Iowa State would need to win the Big 12 tournament to secure an NCAA bid.
If the Big 12 sends even eight teams to the NCAA tournament, it would achieve something no other league has ever done. The closest another league has come to landing 80 percent of its teams in the NCAA tournament was the nine-team Big East securing seven bids in 1991.
At minimum, the Big 12 should produce six NCAA tournament teams next Sunday. Kansas, Texas Tech, West Virginia and TCU have been locks for awhile and Kansas State and Oklahoma solidified their chances with wins this weekend.
The Wildcats (21-10, 10-8) played a weak non-conference scheduled and went 0-6 against the three teams ahead of them in the Big 12 standings, but their victory over Baylor guaranteed them fourth place in the league. The Sooners (18-12, 8-10) dropped 10 of their last 14 games to end the season, but their six quadrant 1 victories compare favorably to any bubble team.
The three teams still seeking to play their way into the NCAA tournament are Texas (18-13, 8-10), Baylor (18-13, 8-10) and Oklahoma State (18-13, 8-10). All three boast quality non-conference wins, the Longhorns against Butler and Alabama, the Bears against Creighton and the Cowboys against Florida State.
It’s unlikely the Big 12 sends all nine to the NCAA tournament, but it’s also remarkable that it’s even still a possibility three days into March. It’s a testament to the Big 12’s depth — and to the league standings breaking exactly right.
How many bids the Big 12 will get is just one of the compelling bubble stories with eight days left before Selection Sunday. Below is a look at the bubble picture in every conference:
They’re safe: Cincinnati (26-4, 15-2), Wichita State (24-5, 14-3), Houston (23-6, 13-4)
They’re in good shape: none
They have work to do: none
They’re safe: Virginia (28-2, 17-1), Duke (25-6, 13-5), North Carolina (22-9, 11-7), Clemson (22-8, 11-7), Miami (22-8, 11-7), Virginia Tech (21-10, 10-8), Florida State (20-10, 9-9)
They’re in good shape:</strong> NC State” data