Copied over from Big-12 Hardball. I am still working on a story about yesterday's 13-12 KU loss at Missouri. It's a hard game to get a handle on. - JQ
Congratulations to Texas. The Longhorns won the Big-12 regular season title yesterday by defeating Texas A&M in Austin. Even though eight of the ten conference teams still have a series remaining next weekend none can overtake Texas’ 17-9-1 record. Texas and Texas A&M are now tied for the most regular season flags in conference history with four each. Nebraska has three and Baylor has one. The second most interesting regular season race, the battle for the top eight slots, is also all but settled. Only eight of the ten conference teams are invited to the championship tournament held in Oklahoma City at Bricktown Ballpark May 20-24th. The winner of this tournament earns an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. While it is still mathematically possible for ninth place Oklahoma State to overtake eighth place Baylor the odds of this happening are very long. The flip would require Baylor to be swept at Nebraska (not a likely outcome) AND an Oklahoma State sweep at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders at 6-3 at home in Big-12 play this year while the Cowboys are 2-7 on the road. So, the Bricktown Eight were all but determined this weekend as well.
A couple of interesting notes here. If Oklahoma State does not make an amazing comeback next week the Cowboys will miss the conference tournament for the first time since the Big-12 was formed in 1997. Nebraska is already eliminated. The Huskers did not qualify for the first tournament in 1997 but made it the next eleven times. Texas Tech and Kansas will be back in Bricktown for the first time since 2006. Kansas State will have a winning record in conference play for the first time. The best previous season for the Wildcats was last year where they went 11-16. There is quite a log jam in the conference standings from #2 down to #6. Only one and a half games separate the five teams clustered here. Missouri (16-11) will be off next weekend while the other four teams match-up with each other. #3 Kansas State (13-9-1) and #6 Kansas (13-11) have a split series while the two teams tied for fourth, Texas A&M (14-10) and Oklahoma (14-10), will duke it out in Norman. All of the teams in action next weekend can move up to second in the conference (actually, KU can do no better than a tie for second place with Missouri, and the Tigers would have the higher seed in the tournament if that happened due to their series win this weekend), or potentially fall as low at #7!