Three Big 12 teams still have work to do

Joe Lunardi (ESPN “bracketologist”) projects four Big 12 teams to be safely in the NCAA tournament: Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Texas. Three other teams — Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Texas A&M — are on the bubble.

Lunardi has Oklahoma State as a #10 seed, so they are semi-safe. The Cowboys play Kansas State tonight in a game that the Wildcats desperately need. Oklahoma State closes the season with arch-rival Oklahoma on Saturday. OSU probably just needs to win one more game to feel safe, but if the Cowboys lose three straight to close the season (KSU, OU and the Big 12 tourney opener), it may knock them out of contention. It doesn’t help their cause that they are just 1-5 against Top 25 teams, but the Cowboys’ #32 RPI (a product of the NCAA’s 11th-toughest schedule) does help.

Lunardi projects Kansas State to be one of the eight teams to just miss a berth. A win at Oklahoma State would be huge, but they definitely need a win at home against Colorado to stay alive. Whether or not they win tonight, they’re still going to have to do some work in the Big 12 tourney to punch their ticket. They are just 1-4 against Top 25 teams and they don’t have the RPI (#72) that OSU does.

The team with perhaps the longest shot at an NCAA berth is Texas A&M. The Aggies are just 1-4 against Top 25 teams and the one win was in January against Baylor, a team that has lost nine of its last 11 games (and one win was against Texas A&M). The Aggies definitely need to beat Colorado tomorrow night and they could really use a win against Missouri on Saturday along with a good performance in the Big 12 tourney.

Lunardi projects five Big 12 teams and I think that’s the right number (barring two of these bubble teams meeting in the conference tournament final). OSU has the inside track to that fifth spot, but KSU or A&M could make a push with a strong finish to the season.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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