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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 02/10/2011

NCAA tournament 2011: Sizing up the Big 12

By Eric Prisbell

The Big 12 could see two of its teams earn No. 1 seeds. But the big question is which team is the third-best in the league. Let's look at the conference.

Big 12

Conference rank: 3

NCAA tournament bids:

Locks: Texas, Kansas

Probable: Missouri, Texas A&M

Bubble: Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Baylor, Colorado

Most likely to fade: Colorado. The fade has already begun. The Buffaloes have four top 50 wins, but they have lost six of seven games and picked up their 10th overall loss with the overtime loss at home to Texas A&M on Wednesday.

Sleeper: Baylor. Scott Drew's team has experienced talent (LaceDarius Dunn) and knows how to win after last season's run to the Elite Eight. Freshman Perry Jones is starting to come alive.

Player to watch:
Jordan Hamilton. The Texas sophomore ranks third in the league in scoring and seventh in rebounding and three-point percentage.

Most impressive coaching job: Colorado. First-year Coach Tad Boyle took over a program that was predicted to finish ninth in a tough Big 12 this season. The Buffaloes have struggled of late, but they have been formidable against most league opponents.

Biggest disappointment: Kansas State. Where do you start with Frank Martin's club, which started the season with a No. 3 ranking in the AP top 25? Now Curtis Kelly is reportedly under investigation by the school's athletic department for violation of the student-athlete handbook.

Most compelling story line: Is Texas the best team in the country? No school can play better team defense. The Longhorns can make good teams look downright awful offensively (see Texas A&M game). Texas has lost games - to Pittsburgh and Connecticut - by a total of three points. The Longhorns have now won nine straight games, all by at least 10 points. One weakness to keep an eye on: free throw shooting.

By Eric Prisbell  | February 10, 2011; 11:00 AM ET
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Next: NCAA tournament 2011: TV schedule details released

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