KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas State seems to have the credentials to get into the NCAA men's basketball tournament for the first time in a dozen years.
The Wildcats won 20 games during the regular season, finished
third in the tough Big 12 Conference and have one of the best
players in the country in freshman Michael Beasley.
The Associated Press reports the Big 12 could get as many as six
teams in the NCAA Tournament.
How the conference playoffs shake out could affect that number.
-- Kansas (28-3) and Texas (26-5) are locks after sharing the
Big 12 regular-season title. The Big 12 Tournament will be little
more than a chance for the Jayhawks and Longhorns to keep momentum
rolling, to earn a higher seed in the NCAA Tournament.
-- Oklahoma and Baylor seem to be safe bets, regardless of what
happens in the Big 12 tournament.
The Sooners, who will face the winner between Baylor and
Colorado in the second round on Friday, finished the regular season
21-10 and tied for fourth in conference at 9-7.
The Bears were 21-9 and tied Oklahoma in conference, closing out
the season with four wins in their final five games. Baylor beat
Notre Dame in non-conference, won at Texas A&M and beat Kansas
-- Texas A&M's chances are a little less stable.
The Aggies (22-9, 8-8 Big 12) seemed to be a lock at the
midpoint of the conference schedule at 20-3 and 6-2 in the Big 12.
Then they struggled the second half, winning just two of their
final eight games, including a disappointing 64-37 setback to
Oklahoma and a lopsided home loss to Texas Tech.
-- The ACC got two 8-8 teams into the tournament last year, the
Big 10 got one in with the same record and the SEC had 7-9 Arkansas
earn a berth. The Big 12's strength this year could be enough to
get Texas A&M in even if it loses to Iowa State in Thursday's