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Thoughts of the week: The Big Dance and who will rise to the top

The Big Dance & who will rise to the top

Austin Photo Set: News_trey mclean_the big dance_march 2013_ku basketball
Courtesy of KU Sports media day

There are four things I love when it comes to sports:

  • Any time the Texas Longhorns play
  • The start of the college football season
  • The college bowl season
  • The NCAA Tournament

Fortunately for me, I don’t have to worry about the first and last bullet happening simultaneously. Don’t get me wrong, I wish they did. But Texas is off making history in the CBI while the Big Dance is starting.

And my birthday is always in the middle of the Dance, so it’s double fun! As always, I have a heavy Big 12 lean (or bias) when it comes to all sports, and the NCAA Tournament is no exception. The Big 12 has five teams in: Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, oklahoma.

Let’s take a look at where they could and will end up.

Kansas

A month ago KU was listing badly, but they turned it around and played their way into a No.1 seed by winning the Big 12 and Big 12 Tournament in convincing fashion. They play games one and two (a matchup with the UNC/Villanova winner awaits) in Kansas City and will head to Dallas for the Sweet 16/Elite 8 matchups if they get through, likely against Michigan and Florida. I like the Jayhawks a lot right now and I have them in the Final 4. Why not?

oklahoma

Also in the South Regional, the oklahoma sooners. They are the No.10 seed and play Steve Fisher (of Michigan Fab 5 fame) and No.7 seed San Diego State in round one. I bet they lose. I also bet they get lost in their bus leaving the game and miss the plane home and then the hotels are full. And then… never mind. I was about to go too far.

Kansas State

The No.4 seed in the West Regional, the Wildcats get the Boise State/LaSalle winner on day one (also in Kansas City), which should be a convincing win. A second round matchup with No.5 seed Wisconsin should be very intense. Both teams play good defense and are very physical, but I like Kansas State to move on with a sizeable home court advantage. A likely matchup with top-seeded Gonzaga awaits in L.A. if they win and that’s where the season ends, but I fully expect a Sweet 16 berth.

Iowa State

The Cyclones are also in the West Regional and play in Dayton as the No.10 seed against No.7 Notre Dame. I don’t see them getting past Mike Brey and the Irish. It’s a tough draw with No.2 seed Ohio State awaiting the winner, but you must get to the Tournament to lose in the Tournament. As a Texas fan, I’d take it. Stupid CBI.

Oklahoma State

The No.5 seed Cowboys are in the Midwest Regional, but must travel to San Jose to play Oregon. A tough spot as they must travel two zones to play a very tough 12 seed in Oregon, who has a much more manageable trip to Northern California. The Ducks are playing well, winning the Pac-12 Tourney, but so is Oklahoma State. Either team will be a massive headache for No.4 seed Saint Louis in the second round and match up well enough with No.1 seed Louisville in the Sweet 16.

So who wins? I’ll take OSU and I’ll take them to make it to play Louisville in Indianapolis before exiting.

To recap: KU to the Final Four (and the Championship Game in my bracket), Oklahoma State and KSU to the Sweet 16, Iowa State bounced in round one and ou weeping at the Greyhound Station wondering what went wrong.

What about you? Let’s hear it.

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