The final week of the Big 12 men’s basketball season begins with the chance that the conference that markets itself with the slogan “one true champion” could crown five true champions.
In order for Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia to tie for the Big 12 championship with 12-6 conference records, seven outcomes would have to take place, including the right five favorites and the right two underdogs winning.
The seven remaining outcomes, with the home team listed in italics, required for there to be a five-way tie:
Monday: Baylor defeats Texas, Iowa State defeats Oklahoma.
Tuesday: West Virginia defeats Kansas.
Friday: Baylor defeats Texas Tech.
Saturday: West Virginia defeats Oklahoma State, Oklahoma defeats Kansas, Iowa State defeats TCU.
Texas is a 2 1/2-point favorite at home today for a 6 p.m. tipoff vs. streaking Baylor, so a mini-upset would have to take place right off the bat for the possibility of the five co-champs to remain. Two hours later, Oklahoma and Iowa State, favored by 4 1/2 points, tip off in Ames.
For the scenario to remain alive, West Virginia would have to upset revenge-minded Kansas.
Juwan Staten, West Virginia’s best player, missed Saturday’s loss at Baylor because of a left knee injury he suffered last Tuesday vs. Texas.
If the possibility survives through Tuesday, the four remaining games would need to be won by the favorites for Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia being crowned co-champions.
Another way of looking at it, a five-way tie happens only if Kansas finishes 0-2, Oklahoma 1-1 and Baylor, Iowa State and West Virginia 2-0.
The fact that five teams still could lay claim to the Big 12 title with just 11 percent of the schedule remaining portends well for an exciting Big 12 tournament in Sprint Center. The fact that Texas, armed with such good and experienced talent, isn't one of the five speaks to the depth of the loaded Big 12. The Longhorns, 6-10 in conference games, play a ranked opponent, Baylor, for the fifth consecutive game tonight and are seeking their first victory in that stretch.
"Our league, it's hard," Self said last Thursday. "You've got four teams, going into the last eight days of the season, that can all win the league. … It's pretty high drama. Certainly, it's a great league."
Actually, five, but only if Kansas loses twice. Naturally, Self wasn't thinking along those lines.