Big 12 teams to look out for in March Madness

The Big 12 has been the toughest conference in college basketball this season. How many teams in BYU's new conference will be making a run in March?

Tamin Lipsey flies toward the baseline in Iowa State's championship win over Houston
Tamin Lipsey flies toward the baseline in Iowa State's championship win over Houston / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages

The Big 12 has been the strongest conference in college hoops this season, and that is reflected by the amount of schools that are representing the conference in March Madness. Despite so many great teams this year, several Big 12 teams have separated themselves from the pack and could be serious title contenders.

So, who will be representing the best league in hoops, who can win the whole thing, and who might be breaking brackets? In this article, we'll divide the teams into a few different sections based on what we can expect from these teams, what their potential is, and who might be on upset watcht-watch.

The Contenders

Tamin Lipsey, Mylik Wilson
Iowa State v Houston / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages

. . . Houston Cougars. Record: 30-4 (15-3 Big 12). 450. . . 1.

Houston is legit. They were the favorites to win the Big 12 Tournament and won the Big 12 regular season title. This team asserted their dominance several times this season, with wins over every other tournament team in their conference, including some dominating wins over Kansas and Texas Tech. Led by Big 12 player of the year, Jamal Shead, and leading scorer L.J. Cryer, this team is stacked and plays some of the best defense in the nation. They got stomped by Iowa State in the Big 12 championship game, but that game was an outlier from the rest of their season--don't sleep on this squad.

Iowa State Cyclones. . . 2. 461. . . . Record: 27-7 (13-5 Big 12).

With a hyper-aggressive turnover-forcing defense, this team loves to create chaos and make offenses uncomfortable. This team is capable of stopping any offense, and is unrelenting in their efforts to ruin their opponent's day. Tamin Lipsey is one of the nation's best guards, and this team will be a tough out for anyone. Iowa State is experienced and talented, and that can certainly take them to the Final Four. The biggest concern with this team is on the offensive end. If they aren't able to put the ball in the basket, they'll have to rely heavily on their defense. Expect some games to be in the 50's to low 60's.

. 460. Baylor Bears. . . . . 3. . Record: 23-10 (11-7 Big 12)

Among the most talented teams in the country, and led by freshman phenom, Ja'Kobe Walter, Baylor is dangerous. With their relative youth, this team may be on upset watch, especially with a few dangerous teams in their region. This team is very good, though, and will not go out easily. Guard RayJ Dennis is this team's x-factor, and they'll be leaning on him to keep the team on the right track. Keep an eye on the bears--they may make it out of their region.

The Bracket-Busters

Richie Saunders, Pop Isaacs
BYU v Texas Tech / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages

Kansas Jayhawks. . . . . . . 4. Record: 22-10 (10-8 Big 12). 462

Kansas is in serious danger. They are a popular first-round upset pick, especially after point guard and leading scorer, Kevin McCullar has been declared out for the tournament. Star transfer center, Hunter Dickinson, has also been battling injuries, but has said he expects to play with his teammates in the tournament. Kansas is still coached by Bill Self, and any Kansas team can't be underestimated, but this team is not the same Kansas team that we expected to see before the season. They can still make a run, but their ceiling seems much lower than we expected after the Jayhawks really struggled down the stretch of their season.

BYU Cougars. 6. 540. . . . . . Record: 23-10 (10-8 Big 12).

BYU is a wild card. With great players like Jaxson Robinson and Aly Khalifa leading the charge, BYU's unique offensive style makes them one of the most intriguing candidates to make a run in the tournament. They say "live by the 3, die by the 3", and that's true to an extent for BYU. They shoot more 3s than 2s, and love to move the ball around to create open looks. When the shots are falling, BYU can beat almost anybody. When the 3s aren't hitting, though, this team can be in serious danger. The Cougars have Elite 8 potential if the bracket breaks in their way, but could drop any game along the way.

. Texas Tech Red Raiders. Record: 23-10 (11-7 Big 12). . 6. . 468. . .

Texas Tech got a great draw in the tournament. This team can get hot, and plays with fantastic energy. Led by Pop Isaacs and Darrion Williams, they can catch fire and overwhelm opponents. Don't be surprised if this team ends up in the Sweet 16 or Elite 8. While not really title contenders, any team that matches up against this team is in for a fight, and should be sweating if their see Texas Tech heat up. This team has been overlooked and underestimated all season--they'll be planning to make their mark on the landscape of college hoops on the biggest stage.

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