How Will the Big 12 Play Out (Third Edition)

So yesterday's games saw two 'upsets' according to Ken Pomeroy's projections: Texas A&M easily handled Texas (they had a 47% chance of winning, so it wasn't that big a surprise...especially not with these teams' respective current trajectories) and in a big upset, Oklahoma State knocked off Kansas.  The Kansas loss was fun, but in terms of the standings, it did nothing to help Mizzou ... and it certainly did nothing to offset Texas' loss to A&M.  Now that A&M has cleared that hurdle, Mizzou's path to a Big 12 Tournament bye becomes a lot more cluttered.  For Mizzou to get the bye at this point, they'll probably need either Baylor to slip up in Lubbock on Tuesday (31% chance), A&M to slip up at home against Oklahoma State on Wednesday (27% chance), or Baylor to lose at home to Texas next weekend (40% chance).  The odds of a Texas win in Waco are the highest, but ... yeah, what happened last time Mizzou needed Texas to win on the road?  That's what I thought.

In other words, optimism is not particularly high.

Here are the current standings and seedings:

Seed Team Conf. Overall
1 Kansas 13-1 27-2
2 Kansas State 11-3 24-4
3 Baylor 9-5 22-6
4 Texas A&M 9-5 20-8
5 Missouri 9-5 21-8
6 Texas 8-6 22-7
7 Oklahoma State 8-6 20-8
8 Texas Tech 4-10 16-12
9 Colorado 4-10 13-15
10 Oklahoma 4-10 13-15
11 Iowa State 3-11 14-15
12 Nebraska 2-12 14-15


At this point, KU and KSU are almost certainly going to be 1-2 in the tourney -- if KU loses to both KSU and MU, and KSU beats ISU, they'll finish tied at 13-3 ... and if I'm not mistaken, it will take a coin toss to determine the 1-seed, as their records will be virtually identical with one loss to each other, one loss at Mizzou, and one loss to Oklahoma State.  Of course, the probability of all three of the needed results taking place is only 9.6%, and adding in a 50-50 coin toss means KU has about a 95.2% chance of finishing as the 1-seed, so that's a pretty safe assumption.

Honestly, for the most part the 7-12 seeds are set as well.  Without a win at ATM, OSU will most likely end up at the 7-seed since they went 0-3 versus Texas and Mizzou and will lose any tie-break with them, and we're almost certainly looking at an 8-9 matchup of Texas Tech-Colorado in the Big 12 tourney (which is funny, since they'll have played the Saturday before), and OU-ISU-NU are most likely the 10-12 seeds as well.

The 3-6 seeds, however, are still a complete tossup.  Baylor has the best shot at the 3, but they better not lose to Texas.

Alright, let's take a look at how things will probably play out.

Once again, Ken Pomeroy's projections and odds are in parentheses below.

March 2-8: Mid-Week Games

Monday
Oklahoma at Texas (UT 93%)

Tuesday
Colorado at Nebraska (NU 67%)
Baylor at Texas Tech (BU 69%)
Missouri at Iowa State (MU 75%)

Wednesday
Oklahoma State at Texas A&M (ATM 73%)
Kansas State at Kansas (KU 78%)

At this point, four of the six mid-week games fall into the category of "interesting."  CU-NU isn't because it's not relevant, and OU-UT is likely a blowout, but while the other four games still have pretty likely outcomes -- BU-Tech is the least likely, and it's still at 69% -- I don't think it would surprise anybody if at least one of them went opposite the projections.  Mizzou could lose in Ames, Baylor could lose in Lubbock, and ATM or KU could potentially lose at home to hot opponents.  (Okay, KU is never likely to lose at home, but go with me on this one.)

Assuming there aren't any surprises, here are the resulting standings:

Seed Team Conf. Overall
1 Kansas 14-1 28-2
2 Kansas State 11-4 24-5
3 Baylor 10-5 23-6
4 Texas A&M 10-5 21-8
5 Missouri 10-5 22-8
6 Texas 9-6 23-7
7 Oklahoma State 8-7 20-9
8 Texas Tech 4-11 16-13
9 Colorado 4-11 13-16
10 Oklahoma 4-11 13-16
11 Iowa State 3-12 14-16
12 Nebraska 3-12 15-15

A Baylor loss at Tech would help Mizzou tremendously, as would an ATM loss to OSU, but ... well, neither are likely ... at least no more likely than a Mizzou loss in Ames.  Heading to the season's final weekend, Mizzou will most likely be staring a 5-seed (and a Wednesday matchup with Nebraska) in the face.

March 2-8: Weekend Games

Here's where things get really interesting, at least as it pertains to those #3-6 seeds.

Saturday
11:00 am (ESPN): Texas A&M at Oklahoma (ATM 69%)
12:30 pm (ESPN 360: Nebraska at Oklahoma State (OSU 84%)
1:00 pm (CBS): Kansas at Missouri (KU 53%)
3:00 pm (ESPN): Texas at Baylor (BU 60%)
3:00 pm (ESPN 360): Texas Tech at Colorado (CU 61%)
5:00 pm (ESPN 360): Iowa State at Kansas State (KSU 93%)

Mizzou may have lost to K-State yesterday, but their odds of beating Kansas have still increased from 40% a week ago to 47% now.  At this point, the game is a virtual tossup.  But what is interesting here is that, if Mizzou beats ISU on Tuesday, MU-KU will have no impact whatsoever on Mizzou's seeding.  Instead, their seed will likely be completely determined by the result of the Texas-Baylor game.  Obviously, OU could help out Mizzou by knocking off ATM, but ... would you bet on that happening?  I wouldn't.  In the end, it will come down to BU-UT.

Here are the scenarios in relation to the MU-KU and BU-UT games:

If Kansas and Baylor win (31.8% chance)...

Seed Team Conf. Overall
1 Kansas 15-1 29-2
2 Kansas State 12-4 25-5
3 Baylor 11-5 24-6
4 Texas A&M 11-5 22-8
5 Missouri 10-6 22-9
6 Texas 9-7 23-8
7 Oklahoma State 9-7 21-9
8 Colorado 5-11 14-16
9 Texas Tech 4-12 16-14
10 Oklahoma 4-12 13-17
11 Iowa State 3-13 14-17
12 Nebraska 3-13 15-16


If Mizzou and Baylor win (28.2% chance)...

Seed Team Conf. Overall
1 Kansas 14-2 28-3
2 Kansas State 12-4 25-5
3 Baylor 11-5 24-6
4 Texas A&M 11-5 22-8
5 Missouri 11-5 23-8
6 Texas 9-7 23-8
7 Oklahoma State 9-7 21-9
8 Colorado 5-11 14-16
9 Texas Tech 4-12 16-14
10 Oklahoma 4-12 13-17
11 Iowa State 3-13 14-17
12 Nebraska 3-13 15-16


If Kansas and Texas win (21.2% chance)...

Seed Team Conf. Overall
1 Kansas 15-1 29-2
2 Kansas State 12-4 25-5
3 Texas A&M 11-5 22-8
4 Missouri 10-6 22-9
5 Texas 10-6 24-7
6 Baylor 10-6 23-7
7 Oklahoma State 9-7 21-9
8 Colorado 5-11 14-16
9 Texas Tech 4-12 16-14
10 Oklahoma 4-12 13-17
11 Iowa State 3-13 14-17
12 Nebraska 3-13 15-16


If Mizzou and Texas win (18.8% chance)...

Seed Team Conf. Overall
1 Kansas 14-2 28-3
2 Kansas State 12-4 25-5
3 Texas A&M 11-5 22-8
4 Missouri 11-5 23-8
5 Texas 10-6 24-7
6 Baylor 10-6 23-7
7 Oklahoma State 9-7 21-9
8 Colorado 5-11 14-16
9 Texas Tech 4-12 16-14
10 Oklahoma 4-12 13-17
11 Iowa State 3-13 14-17
12 Nebraska 3-13 15-16

So it doesn't actually matter if Mizzou beats Kansas.  If Texas beats Baylor, Mizzou gets a bye whether they win or not.

In other words, Mizzou needs Texas to win again.  Awesome.

Fun with Probabilities

Again, here is the rundown of remaining games, broken up by odds.

50%-60%
Mar. 7: Kansas at Missouri (KU 53%)
Mar. 7: Texas at Baylor (BU 60%)

61%-70%
Mar. 7: Texas Tech at Colorado (CU 61%)
Mar. 3: Colorado at Nebraska (NU 67%)
Mar. 7: Texas A&M at Oklahoma (ATM 69%)
Mar. 3: Baylor at Texas Tech (BU 69%)

71%-80%
Mar. 4: Oklahoma State at Texas A&M (ATM 73%)
Mar. 3: Missouri at Iowa State (MU 75%)
Mar. 4: Kansas State at Kansas (KU 78%)

81%-90%
Mar. 7: Nebraska at Oklahoma State (OSU 84%)

91%-100%
Mar. 7: Iowa State at Kansas State (KSU 93%)
Mar. 2: Oklahoma at Texas (UT 93%)

x

Since the standings aren't hardly affected by Mizzou beating Kansas, let's go ahead and say that happens because ... why not?  Let's once again look at each team's ceiling and floor by treating anything at 75% or lower as a tossup game.

Seed Team Conf. Overall Realistic Ceiling/Floor
1 Kansas 14-2 28-3 15-1 / 14-2
2 Kansas State 12-4 25-5 12-4 / 12-4
3 Baylor 11-5 24-6 11-5 / 9-7
4 Texas A&M 11-5 22-8 11-5 / 9-7
5 Missouri 11-5 23-8 11-5 / 9-7
6 Texas 9-7 23-8 10-6 / 9-7
7 Oklahoma State 9-7 21-9 10-6 / 9-7
8 Colorado 5-11 14-16 6-10 / 4-12
9 Texas Tech 4-12 16-14 6-10 / 4-12
10 Oklahoma 4-12 13-17 5-11 / 4-12
11 Iowa State 3-13 14-17 4-12 / 3-13
12 Nebraska 3-13 15-16 3-13 / 2-14


Biggest Range Between Ceiling and Floor

  • 2 games: Baylor, Texas A&M, Missouri, Colorado, Texas Tech
  • 1 game: Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Nebraska
  • 0 games: Kansas State

Here are the resulting tourney pairings with the standings above:

Big 12 Tourney Pairings
8 Colorado vs 9 Texas Tech (winner plays 1 Kansas)
5 Missouri vs 12 Nebraska (winner plays 4 Texas A&M)
6 Texas vs 11 Iowa State (winner plays 3 Baylor)
7 Oklahoma State vs 10 Oklahoma (winner plays 2 Kansas State)

In all, Mizzou's chances of a tourney bye were damaged quite a bit yesterday, which is disappointing.  Even a 2-0 week might not save them from a Wednesday night game at this point.  That said ... how about we go ahead and go 2-0 this week regardless?

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