Here is my preseason edition of “Bracketology”. I didn’t build a bracket at this point, because that’s basically entirely pointless at this time. I just seeded the teams 1-68, making sure to have one bid from each league and the correct amount of at-large bids. This gives you a good idea of where teams are currently situated headed into the season and who their direct competition is for particular seeds, regions, and pods.
I’ll dive into what this all means for each of the relevant Big 12 teams below. Here is the seed list.
- 1 – Arizona, Michigan State, Kansas, Villanova
- 2 – Duke, Wichita State, Florida, Kentucky
- 3 – Cincinnati, Miami (FL), Louisville, West Virginia
- 4 – Notre Dame, USC, TCU, Xavier
- 5 – St. Mary’s, North Carolina, Purdue, Baylor
- 6 – Minnesota, Seton Hall, Northwestern, Texas A&M
- 7 – Virginia, Gonzaga, Rhode Island, Providence
- 8 – Alabama, UCLA, Oklahoma, Oregon
- 9 – Texas, Maryland, Missouri, Texas Tech
- 10 – Wisconsin, Butler, Nevada, Virginia Tech
- 11 – Michigan, Creighton, Auburn, Indiana, Iowa, San Diego State
- 12 – Middle Tennessee, Vermont, Bucknell, Yale
- 13 – Loyola-Chicago, College of Charleston, Oakland, New Mexico State
- 14 – UT-Arlington, South Dakota State, Belmont, Ohio
- 15 – Mercer, Iona, UNC Asheville, Montana
- 16 – UC Irvine, Stephen F. Austin, Lipscomb, Fairleigh Dickinson, Hampton, Texas Southern
- Last 4 Byes: Butler, Virginia Tech, Michigan, Creighton
- Last 4 IN: Auburn, Indiana, Iowa, San Diego State
- First 4 OUT: VCU, Marquette, UCF, Arkansas
- Next 4 OUT: Iowa State, Penn State, Tennessee, Stanford
Bids by Conference:
- Big Ten: 9
- Big 12: 7
- ACC: 7
- Big East: 6
- SEC: 6
- Pac-12: 4
- American: 2
- West Coast: 2
- Atlantic 10: 1
Outlook for Big 12 Teams:
• Kansas will almost assuredly be a 1 or 2 seed this season, because Kansas is a 1 or a 2 seed every season. The last time they’ve been lower than a 2 seed was 2009. That’s eight straight freaking seasons of being a 1 or 2 seed, which is crazy. Assuming they do the same this year, they are very likely looking at playing in Wichita the first weekend and Omaha in the Midwest Regional in the second weekend. A path of Wichita/Omaha would set up nicely for the Jayhawks. Their biggest competition for seeding in the Midwest regional will be Michigan State and Wichita State, so keep an eye on how those two teams are doing if you’re wondering where Kansas will be playing in March.
West Virginia Mountaineers:
• I think West Virginia will be seeded as a 5 seed or better for the 4th straight season. If it happens, kudos to Bob Huggins, because that’s something I don’t think many people imagined would happen when the Mountaineers joined the Big 12. One of the opening weekend sites is in Pittsburgh, so there is a chance West Virginia could be playing in their own backyard in those first weekend games.
TCU Horned Frogs
• Not only am I projecting TCU to end their 20-year NCAA Tournament drought, I think they’ll make the dance with plenty of room to spare, as I’ve got them as a 4 seed. Some people might question that high of a seed for the Horned Frogs, but I would then direct them to this tweet.
The last four national champions had at least two returning starters (20+ starts), returning team VORP over 17.0, and a top 40 class.
Here’s who makes the cut for 2017-18:
— Eli Boettger (@boettger_eli) November 9, 2017
• I’m not saying TCU is going to win the national title, but this shows the company that they’re in heading into this season and the quality of the returning players. They’re going to make the dance with ease.
• I expect Baylor to be solidly comfortable once Selection Sunday rolls around, as I’ve got them as a 5 seed. That would be the 4th straight season as a 5 seed or better, their 5th straight NCAA Tournament, and their 8th NCAA Tournament bid in 11 years. And all of that would be happening at Baylor. *Scott Drew double birds to his doubters*
Oklahoma Sooners/Texas Longhorns/Texas Tech Red Raiders
• I’ve got these three teams 5th through 7th in the Big 12, with Oklahoma and Texas finishing 9-9 and Texas Tech finishing 8-10. These three will be grouped tightly all season in my opinion, so it only makes sense to do the same in my bracketology projection. I think each of them will finish the season being seeded anywhere from a 7 seed to a 10 seed. I’ve got Oklahoma as an 8 seed, and I have Texas and Texas Tech as 9 seeds in this opening projection.
Iowa State Cyclones
• I was not expecting to have Iowa State too close to making the NCAA Tournament when I started doing my research for this post. But then you start looking around other major conferences, and you see the dreck that makes up most of the middle of those leagues, and it’s not outrageous to think eight teams from the Big 12 could make it. I think Iowa State will start slow, but they will have plenty of opportunities for solid resume wins once conference play begins. Ultimately, I think they’ll make the NIT, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it.
Oklahoma State Cowboys/Kansas State Wildcats
• Someone has to finish at the bottom in this league, and I’ve forecasted the Cowboys and Wildcats to do so. However, they are not bad teams. Both are top-50 in Kenpom’s preseason rankings. So it would not surprise me in the least if one of these teams finishes 8-10 in conference play and sneaks into the NCAA Tournament. I am just not the guy projecting it.