The Norman Transcript


March 4, 2014

OU in second-place driver’s seat

NORMAN — The final week of the Big 12 Conference’s regular season will have a huge impact on the seeding for the conference tournament. The reason: the continued logjam for second place in the league.

Oklahoma, Iowa State, Texas and Kansas State all entered Monday tied for the spot behind league-champion Kansas at 10-6.

All four teams have played each other twice. In the current situation, the Sooners are in the driver’s seat for the No. 2 seed because they beat Texas twice while splitting with the other two. The Cyclones, Longhorns and Wildcats all split with one another. The Big 12’s first tiebreaker in a four-way is head-to-head competition.

The Sooners face sixth-place West Virginia on Wednesday and close the regular season and conference cellar-dweller TCU on Saturday.

Iowa State travel to seventh-place Baylor today and host Oklahoma State on Saturday. Texas hosts the Horned Frogs on Wednesday and then goes to Texas Tech on Saturday.

The Wildcats faced the Cowboys on Monday and host Baylor on Saturday.

All four are considered locks for the NCAA tournament, but OU coach Lon Kruger believes how they finish in the Big 12 should have an impact on NCAA tournament seeding.

“I’d probably put the greatest significance on the conference finish,” he said. “Our league is a true round-robin and those teams are so closely bunched. You can split hairs and rationalize anything, but if one of those teams emerges and it becomes a true two, three and four, depending on what happens. If one of those teams makes a run to the championship game in the conference tournament then that should influence things a little bit.”

Back in the Top 25: After a three-week absence, Oklahoma jumped back into the Associated Press Top 25 on Monday. The Sooners enter the final week of the regular season ranked No. 23.

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