Big 12 Bracketology: Final NCAA Tournament predictions before March Madness

The Big 12 is one of the toughest if not the toughest conference in college basketball. So how many teams will realistically make it to the NCAA Tournament?
Jan 27, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats forward Arthur Kaluma (24) shoots the ball against Houston.
Jan 27, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats forward Arthur Kaluma (24) shoots the ball against Houston. / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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I think everyone can agree that the Big 12 is the toughest conference in college basketball this season. This conference seemed to get even stronger than last year with the addition of BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF.

Before Big 12 play started, 10 of the 14 teams in the conference had two or less losses. Since then, all 14 teams have just beat up on each other week after week and no game was considered an easy game.

In 2023, seven Big 12 teams made the NCAA Tournament, with the addition of the four new teams, that number has a real chance of going up. This time last team, teams such as Kansas State and Texas were locks to make it in, but now it is a question whether or not they will even be in the play-in.

While there are teams that are definite locks like Houston, Kansas, and Iowa State, these teams are not perfect. Kansas just lost at home for the first time all season a few days ago and Iowa State ran into the brick wall that is Houston.

So with about a week and a half left of the regular season, let's make a final prediction on which Big 12 teams will make the NCAA Tournament

We can start easy and say which teams are already out. These are teams whose only hope to make the NCAA Tournament is if they find a way to win the Big 12 Tournament and get the auto bid.


  • West Virginia
  • Oklahoma State
  • UCF
  • Cincinnati

UCF and Cincinnati are about to finish up thier first seasons in the Big 12. As a UCF fan, I can say that I am surprised they have won as many games as they have in the Big 12. I did not expect them to do this well, so while I want to believe they can be dangerous in the Big 12 Tournament, they have no shot to make the NCAA Tournament. They may have one upset, but that is all I can give them.

Cincinnati showed signs of life here and there throughout conference play, but towards the end of the season, they hit a three-game losing streak that shut the door on their tournament hopes. The Bearcats have potential going forward to improve next season, but for this one, they will most likely be done after the Big 12 Tournament.

Oklahoma State went into Big 12 play 8-5, but they lost their first six conference games which put them in a hole they would have had a tough time getting out of. West Virginia was in the same boat. They went into Big 12 play 5-8 and unless they went on a crazy run in conference play, it was always going to be an uphill battle to make it to the NCAA Tournament.