The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 4, 2014

Up for grabs

NORMAN — The only certainties about the Big 12 are that Kansas will finish in first place and TCU will be last.

For everyone else, the final week of the regular season represents a chance to either improve their postseason positioning or win over the NCAA tournament selection committee.

Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas State were tied for second place at 10-6 after the weekend’s games with the Big 12 tournament set to begin on March 12. Baylor and Oklahoma State sit squarely on the at-large bubble, and even West Virginia has an outside shot at an NCAA tournament bid if it can get hot.

With so much on the line, the last week of the Big 12 play could also be the most competitive one.

“Every team has two games left. None of them are easy,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. “It’s going to go right down to the wire.”

In theory, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between the second and fifth seeds for the upcoming league tournament.

The four teams currently stuck in a second-place logjam will likely get first-round byes and play a NCAA tournament-quality team in the quarterfinals no matter where they’re seeded.

But the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds would avoid a potential matchup with Kansas until the championship game.

Oklahoma (21-8) and Kansas State (20-9) held those tiebreakers for the second and third spots on Monday, and the Sooners appeared to be in the best position to keep it.

Oklahoma hosts West Virginia (16-13, 8-8) on Wednesday night and closes at TCU (9-19, 0-16) on Saturday.

Should the Sooners win out, they’ll clinch the No. 2 seed and perhaps push Lon Kruger’s bid to become the Big 12 Coach of the Year over the top.

“He’s done a great job with these guys,” Kansas coach Bill Self said of Kruger. “It’s not a surprise that they’re 10-6 in our league. But I think to most people from the outside looking in, if you told people before the season that this is where they’d be I think everybody would agree that Lon and his staff have done a terrific job.”

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