The Big 12 proved this year that it was the best men's basketball conference in the nation. The NCAA recognized this by sending seven Big 12 teams to the tournament – more than any other conference.
I believe, by and large, the Big 12 will prove the committee right and flex its muscles with multiple deep runs in this year's bracket.
Although fifth-seeded Oklahoma has a surprisingly tough draw with North Dakota State, the only team I see making a first-round exit is the seventh-seed Texas Longhorns, who will play the Arizona State Sun Devils. Neither team is particularly hot right now (both 6-6 in their last 12 games), but the 'Horns simply aren't as good of a shooting team as the Devils, which is a cause for concern this time of year. Arizona State's 7-foot-2 center Jordan Bachynski should also be able to at least hold his own against Texas' biggest strength: their massive frontcourt.
The Sooners, on the other hand, have the potential to make it at least to the Sweet 16 if they can survive their run in with the hot Bison and their stingy defense.
I see sixth-seeded Baylor and ninth-seeded Kansas State making second-round exits, as K-State's experience should win out over Kentucky's talented freshmen and Baylor – who is playing their best basketball right now – should handle Nebraska before running into trouble against Creighton.
The poster children for the Big 12 will be Oklahoma State, Kansas and Iowa State – all three of whom I predict will finish in the Elite Eight.
Iowa State is for real. The Big 12 Tournament Champions have an outstanding combo in point guard DeAndre Kane and power forward Melvin Ejim that run a lethal, fast-paced offense. If it weren't for an imminent meeting with Michigan State in the Elite Eight, they would have been one of my favorites to make the Final Four out of the No. 3 seed in the East.