Anything can happen in the NCAA Tournament, but at this point, it’s seems safe to say that at least one or two Big 12 teams will be dancing deep into March.
“The Big 12 athletically is the best conference in America in college basketball,” Fox Sports announcer Tim Brando said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “They are deeper, and they are incredibly athletic. As good as Villanova is and Xavier is, I think if you put them in the Big 12 and you made them play against that schedule, they’d have more losses than they currently have. Now, the Big East is a great league. After the Big 12, you’d have to put the ACC and maybe the Pac-12 ahead of the Big East. But after that, I think the Big East fits in ahead of the Big Ten and SEC this year in college hoops. But the teams that jump out at me are those teams that are coming from battle-tested leagues like the Pac-12 and the Big 12. You can think of Oklahoma and you look at Kansas and there they are again, a couple of games ahead. It looks like Bill Self is going to do it 12 in a row. It’s unreal to think what they’re doing.”
No. 2 Kansas (24-4, 12-3) beat No. 3 Oklahoma (22-5, 10-5) twice this year and leads the Sooners by two games in the Big 12 standings. No. 12 West Virginia (21-7, 10-5) is also right there, with No. 19 Baylor (20-8, 9-6) following close behind.
Outside of the Big 12, no teams has more March Madness potential, perhaps, than No. 7 North Carolina (23-5, 12-3). Five Tar Heels are averaging at least 10 points per game, including Brice Johnson, who is averaging 17.0 points and 10.6 rebounds, and Marcus Paige, who is averaging 12.3 points and 3.9 assists.
“When North Carolina gets what they need from Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks, they’re one of the best teams in the country, maybe the best,” Brando said. “They are scoring like 82 a game and yet shoot less than 30 percent from three. This may be one of the worst North Carolina three-point shooting teams and yet they are still putting astronomical numbers up. Watch out for the Heels once we get to the NCAAs.”