Current Record — 14-6
Strength of Schedule — #30
Gonzaga, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma
Northern Colorado, Charlotte
Bruce Weber’s second season at the helm of the Wildcat program began in fashion with a stunning home loss to Northern Colorado. K-State dropped a frustrating contest in Puerto Rico to Charlotte and had their doors blown off by Georgetown. The Cats redeemed themselves with a strong win over Gonzaga and closed out the non-con with a 10-2 record.
The Wildcats pulled a stunning home upset over the #6 Oklahoma State Cowboys, led by sharp shooting Marcus Smart. The Wildcats were crushed in their annual loss at Allen Fieldhouse to KU but rebounded to knock off Oklahoma. A buzzer beater doomed the Wildcats against Texas, and Iowa State pulled away late in the second half in consecutive defeats for Bruce Weber’s team. As of right now, K-State has a 5-3 conference record and is safely in the tournament, looking at an #8 seed or a #9 seed.
Current Record — 16-4
Strength of Schedule — #113
UCLA, NC State, Arkansas
Georgia, Vanderbilt, LSU
Mizzou’s non-conference schedule was seen as very weak, outside of a few solid matchups. A strong second half pushed the Tigers past a ranked UCLA squad, and clutch free throws resulted in a road win at NC State. The only blemish on their record was a 65-64 setback lost in the final seconds against rival Illinois.
Mizzou began the conference slate with one of the worst defeats in their history, a 70-64 loss in overtime to Georgia at home. The Tigers struggled with offensive efficiency and stumbled to Vanderbilt and LSU on the road. Desperately needing a big win, Mizzou traveled to Arkansas and walked out with a stunning 75-71 victory, a huge help to Mizzou’s effort to turn their disappointing season around. With their win over Arkansas, Mizzou’s tournament hopes are now probable, and an #11 or #12 seed seem likely at the moment. A win against #11 Kentucky on Saturday can secure the the Tigers a spot in the tournament for the time being.
Current Record — 16-4
Strength of Schedule — #1
Duke, Georgetown, Wake Forest, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Baylor
KU played the most difficult non-conference strength of schedule, one that had them playing five ranked teams. The Jayhawks knocked off an excellent Duke team in Chicago, but late game blunders and an occasionally stagnant offense resulted in frustrating losses to the other four ranked opponents.
KU began their conference with impressive wins over Oklahoma and K-State before the Jayhawks entered a gauntlet of 3 ranked opponents. KU was up to the task and knocked off Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Baylor, allowing them to take a major stride towards the Big 12 Championship. The NCAA Selection Committee will take into account that all of KU’s losses have been to ranked opponents, and the Jayhawks have defeated 8 ranked opponents. As of now, KU should be considered for one of the four #1 seeds in the tournament. KU will face its most difficult Big 12 road game on Feb. 1 when the team travels to Austin to take on the red hot Texas Longhorns.
NCAA Tournament Bid Process
68 teams receive bids to the NCAA Tournament.
All 32 conferences are guaranteed 1 automatic bid for their conference champion.
(31 conferences use an end-of-season conference tournament to determine the automatic bid, and the Ivy League placed their regular season champion in the NCAA Tournament.)
The remaining 36 bids are determined by the NCAA Selection committee, based on records, rankings and strength of schedule.
The “Bubble” is a term used for the group of teams whose hopes of making the tournament are uncertain and could go either way.