Two things are clear, the K-State men’s basketball team will receive a bye next week in the Big 12 Tournament and they are a virtual lock for the NCAA Tournament.
The regular season finale against Baylor on Saturday afternoon could still affect the Cats seed. With a win over the Bears, and a loss by either Texas to Texas Tech or Oklahoma to TCU, K-State would be the #3 seed. A Wildcat loss to Baylor combined with an Iowa State win over Oklahoma State means K-State would slip to the #5 seed in the league tourney. If the Cats, Sooners and Longhorns all win, K-State would be the #4 seed in Kansas City.
The bigger question right now is where K-State will be seeded in the Big Dance.
CBS Sports Bracketologist Jerry Palm joined KMAN’s “The Game” on Wednesday, and he has K-State slated as a #9 seed in the Big Dance.
“They haven’t a tournament-quality team in front of a crowd that wasn’t friendly,” Palm said. “They’ve got the semi-neutral court win over Gonzaga in Wichita, but away from home, there’s really not much there. That’s the difference between being in the top half of the bracket and the bottom half.”
While K-State is just 2-7 on the road in the Big 12, they are 7-6 against RPI Top 50, which is a key number for the NCAA Tournament Committee.
“7-6 is pretty good,” Palm said. “But the wins are six at home and another in Wichita, and the six losses are all on the road. The tournament is not being played in Kansas, so they’re going to have to find a way to win somewhere else.”
Palm has seven Big 12 teams in his field of 68, and he says regular season conference standings don’t figure into the NCAA tournament committee’s work. The Cats and Oklahoma State are the lowest seeded teams at #9. Baylor is a #8 seed, boosted by their non-conference resume, Texas is a #5 seed, both Oklahoma and Iowa State are #4 seeds, and Kansas is currently on the #2 line.
But one thing that is not up for debate, according to Palm, is the Big 12’s place among the nation’s best conferences.
“It’s defintely the best, with the Big Ten right behind it.” Palm said. “Those two have kind of separated themselves. Conference rankings are another thing that don’t matter to the committee, they don’t even have them in the room. But, the Big 12 has had a terrific year, with seven teams probably going to make the tournament, with an eighth team, West Virginia, that had a chance deep into the season. For a ten-team league, it’s a remarkable season.”
Full interview with CBS Sports Bracketologist Jerry Palm:
K-State and Baylor hit the court on Saturday at 12:45pm at Bramlage Coliseum. Powercat Gameday starts at 10:30am with John Kurtz on NewsRadio 1350 KMAN & 101.5 K-Rock.
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