No bad losses and a couple of good wins could be the formula.
For TCU (20-13), the hope is that it did enough to secure a bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Frogs knocked off Oklahoma State in dramatic fashion Wednesday, putting them at the 20-win mark and seemingly in the Big Dance.
TCU will find out on Sunday whether that holds true when the field is announced.
“I feel like we’ve definitely done enough,” said Bane, who scored a team-high 16 points in 27 minutes. “We’ve got 20 wins in the best league in the country. That’s hard to do. … I feel like we should be deserving of a tournament bid.”
Added Robinson: “We don’t have any bad losses. I definitely think we deserve to be in the Big Dance.”
The Cats are looking for a title sweep after fending off the Frogs.
“It’s human nature after Saturday night to win a championship, to celebrate like that,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “To come back, I didn’t think we had great emotion to start the game, not very good energy.”
K-State advances now advances to the semifinals, where it will play Iowa State at 6 p.m. on Friday.
“I feel like our defensive intensity picked up,” Wildcats guard Kamau Stokes said. “We were lethargic in the beginning of the game and second half Coach Weber challenged us to defend those guys.”
Perhaps the Wildcats can hit the ground running in that game. They might have simply needed a few minutes to get acclimated to life without Wade against TCU, because things went much smoother for Bruce Weber’s team after the opening moments.
The Frogs could be a candidate for the play-in game, which would be a bummer.
On Thursday, the TCU Horned Frogs held off a late charge by the Oklahoma State Cowboys to avoid a late bad loss in the Big 12 Tournament’s first round, 73-70. A quarterfinal win over the top-seeded Kansas State Wildcats would have likely ensured Jamie Dixon’s squad’s spot in the field of 68, but the league co-champs prevailed, 70-61. At 20-13 with a NET ranking of 48 and 3-9 record in Quad 1 games, TCU is now left with a long wait until Sunday evening. They still remain a few places above the cut line in this projection.
I think seven is the max after Texas lost their opener.
“It’s never been done before,” Bowlsby said. “To have eight of our 10 in the tournament would be extraordinary. It just speaks to how good the league is from top to bottom. There’s just no days off. I’ve felt sorry for some of our teams in the second division because wins are so hard to come by. It’s a zero-sum game. Who’s going to lose in order for you to win?”
Bowlsby acknowledged he had been skeptical of the conference landing eight teams in the Big Dance two weeks ago, but that changed with the “bubble” teams winning in the stretch run.
Texas beat Iowa State; TCU beat Texas; and Oklahoma beat Kansas.
“I was skeptical because the wins had to be distributed in a very specific way in order to make that happen,” Bowlsby said. “Over the last two weeks, it’s sort of broken that way. I really thought we would probably be more like six just cause the same people would lose and that’s not what happened. The bottom of our league had eight wins.”
The first to commit in the class could be one of the first to make an impact.
Cornerback isn’t necessarily a position where TCU is hurting, as standout Jeff Gladney is back for his senior season this fall following a 2018 season in which recorded 13 pass breakups, the third most of any player in the Big 12. Julius Lewis is also set to return for his final season, but with Lewis out for the spring as he recovers from an offseason surgery, there’s an opportunity for other cornerbacks to get right in the mix with plenty of reps.