Bracket Watch: Big 12 could send eight teams to March Madness

The Big 12 continues to hold the No. 1 spot in the conference RPI ratings, and the league’s depth is exceptional. I currently have seven of the league’s 10 teams in my 68-team field, and an eighth, Kansas State, is knocking on the door.

The 12-8 Wildcats struggled in their non-conference schedule but have started off 5-2 in league play, tied for second place. Meanwhile, over the weekend, last-place Texas Tech knocked off a top-10 Iowa State team and TCU gave ranked West Virginia all it could handle.

The Red Raiders and Horned Frogs are the only Big 12 teams with no realistic NCAA at-large shot.

But don’t mistake the league’s depth for an abundance of Final Four-caliber teams. Texas and Oklahoma, both ranked fairly high early, have slumped of late. Baylor and Oklahoma State are inconsistent as well.

As a result, only two of those seven projected tourney teams, Kansas and Iowa State, sit on one of the top four seed lines. Everyone else is a No. 5 seed or lower as of today.

This bracket is based on games played through Jan. 26. Projected automatic berths (*) go to the current first-place team in each conference (in cases of first-place ties, I used the higher-rated RPI team).

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Editor’s note: The bracket sets up as East vs. South, Midwest vs. West.

Selection Sunday is March 15.

East Region (Syracuse)
Seed
Team
Location
1
Virginia*
at Charlotte
16
Robert Morris*/Bucknell*
8
Seton Hall
9
LSU
4
Maryland
at Pittsburgh
13
Northeastern*
5
West Virginia
12
Stephen F. Austin*
6
Arkansas
at Omaha
11
Wyoming*
3
Iowa State
14
Iona*
7
Northern Iowa
at Pittsburgh
10
NC State
2
Villanova
15
Sacramento State*