According to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi bracketology predictions, K-State is on pace for a number five seed and would face number 13 Stephen F. Austin in the NCAA tournament. The Lumberjacks are currently 21-2, but have a 334 rated strength of schedule. They have played one team ranked in the RPI top 50, although that game was a 56-55 victory at Oklahoma. Under the scenario, the Wildcats would travel to San Jose for the first two wins. They would then play the winner of Butler and the #12 play-in game winner (California v. Saint Mary’s). Honestly, any three of those teams are capable of beating K-State, and Butler is looking just as imposing this year as during their prior Cinderella runs. That’s a tough draw. The Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games would be head a bit closer to home in Indianapolis for the Midwest Regional. And unlike San Jose, Mapquest confirms Indianapolis does reside in the Midwest. Importantly, these rankings take into account the huge loss the Wildcats suffered at the hands of KU on Monday night, so there’s no expected fall – it’s already been factored in. Aside from possibly a visit to Stillwater, K-State should be a favorite in every game left on its regular season schedule.
Anticipated Big 12 Seedings/Pairings:
#3 Kansas v. #14 Davidson
#4 Kansas State v. #13 Stephen F. Austin
#5 Oklahoma State v. #12 Belmont
#8 Oklahoma v. #9 Colorado
#10 Iowa State v. #7 No. Carolina State
#11 Baylor v. #6 Colorado State
The inclusion of six Big 12 teams is big news given the substantial lack of respect the league was garnering earlier in the season. In fairness, the Big 12 is not very good this year – at least compared to Big 12 standards. We’ve become used to teams easily in the number one seed mix and a solid seven or eight teams deserving of a bid. However, as long as these teams continue beating up on TCU, Texas, and Texas Tech while evenly dispersing wins and losses between each other, we may be watching six teams in March when it once appeared we’d only be treated to three or four.