NCAA Tournament Chances for Each Big 12 Bubble Team

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2014

Feb 22, 2014; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Marcus Smart (33) and wing Le'Bryan Nash celebrate after a basket against Texas Tech Red Raiders during the first half  at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Oklahoma State Cowboys won 84-62. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 has been one of the most exciting conferences to watch all season, and with March Madness on the horizon, we are about to see a lot more from the majority of teams in the league. 

It is a certainty that Kansas will be making an appearance in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. We can also say the same thing about Iowa State, Texas and Oklahoma, all of whom have proved their worth in recent weeks. 

According to Bleacher Report's own bracket guru, Kerry Miller, Kansas State and Baylor are also in the tournament as of his most recent bracket projections.

Miller also lists Oklahoma State as the last team in, but that does not mean the Cowboys are going to earn a spot in the field of 68. 

It is not a guarantee to write the names of Kansas State and Baylor in a sharpie in your bracket just yet. 

Here is a look at what those three teams and a potential bubble team, West Virginia, must do in order to give the Big 12 a boatload of teams in the Big Dance.


Kansas State Wildcats (19-9, 9-6)

Bruce Weber's Wildcats have put together quite the impressive resume despite an erratic showing of late. 

LAWRENCE, KS - JANUARY 11:  Head coach Bruce Weber of the Kansas State Wildcats yells from the bench during the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse on January 11, 2014 in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Kansas State has taken care of its home-court advantage at Bramlage Coliseum by defeating four ranked opponents at the Octagon of Doom. 

Along with wins over Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, the Wildcats also have a win over then-No. 21 Gonzaga from December. 

If the season's trend continues, the Wildcats will defeat their sixth ranked foe on Saturday when they host Iowa State. 

A win over the Cyclones and in either one of its two final games should make Kansas State a sure bet to make the field of 68 given its conference record. 


Baylor Bears (18-10, 6-9)

Heading into its clash with Texas, Baylor had four consecutive wins and a chance to solidify its position in the NCAA tournament.

Instead of pulling off a win in Austin, the Bears left town with a 6-9 conference record and three games left to reach the all-important .500 mark in league play.

Eric Gay/Associated Press

A win over Texas would have also handed Scott Drew's team its third win over ranked opposition this season, but it was not to be as once again the Bears couldn't find the killer instinct when they needed it the most. 

The loss leaves Baylor in a precarious situation, but the strength of the league does help its resume. 

If the Bears win two of their final three games, they could keep a spot in the Big Dance, but just in case they are not fully in at that point, they should look to win at least one game, maybe two, at the Big 12 tournament. 


Oklahoma State Cowboys (18-10, 6-9)

The Cowboys have been on a wild ride this season, and although they suffered a seven-game losing skid and questionable antics from star player Marcus Smart, they are somehow still in the tournament discussion.

FORT WORTH, TX - FEBRUARY 24: Marcus Smart #43 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys shoots a three-pointer against the TCU Horned Frogs on February 24, 2014 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

A strong start to the season had people talking about Oklahoma State as a high seed when conference play began. 

Now, the Cowboys must win their final three games to reach .500 in Big 12 play, something that will not be an easy task with Kansas and Iowa State still on the schedule. 

Wins over Kansas and Kansas State at home would work wonders for the confidence of Travis Ford's team, but they still have to venture into Ames for the final game of the regular season. 

If Oklahoma State does fail to win any of its remaining games, it will have to put on a show at the Big 12 tournament to wow the selection committee.


West Virginia Mountaineers (15-13, 7-8)

Three straight losses have not done the Mountaineers any favors at a time of the season where the hot teams usually get rewarded more. 

Ideally, West Virginia needs to win at least two of its remaining games to sit at .500 in conference play.

With only two quality wins at home against Oklahoma and Iowa State, the Mountaineers need to beat Kansas at home on March 8 to ensure that the selection committee has a lasting memory of them. 

Navigating through to the semifinals, or even the final, of the Big 12 tournament will be far from an easy task, but that is what West Virginia must do to avoid the NIT.


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