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KU or OU

Ah. The month that puts the “March” in “March Madness” is upon us. Talks of bubbles being burst, pods, regional finals and number 1 seeds increase exponentially. Conference tournaments. Joe Lunardi is fired up. Brackets are being postulated. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, especially if its college basketball you seek.

Because “March” means “NCAA Basketball Tournament,” all the talking heads are theorizing on how the field of 64 will look, usually starting with the four number 1 seeds. This year, the consensus of number 1s is focusing on this group:

North Carolina

Rightfully so. Look at the latest poll or RPI update and you’ll these four teams near the top of these hills. However, in light of some recent events, a question arises: Should Oklahoma get a top seed over Kansas, especially if the Jayhawks win the Big 12 regular season championship? Needless to say, how these two teams perform in the Big 12 Tournament will determine a great deal, but as it stands, what, exactly has Oklahoma done to deserve a higher seeding than the defending National Champs?

Their RPI is almost the same, while KU’s strength of schedule is better than Oklahoma’s:

5. Oklahoma – 26-3 RPI: 0.6546 SOS Rank: 31 SOS: 0.5730

7. Kansas – 24-5 RPI: 0.6454 SOS Rank: 14 SOS: 0.5860

As we mentioned, Kansas is also in position to win the Big 12 conference title in outright fashion. The team who will probably finish in second place? Oklahoma. Granted, KU beat OU when Blake Griffin was out nursing his noggin, but you can only beat who’s in front of you. The fact the Jayhawks went on the road to beat the Sooners resonates, even with the potential Player of the Year sitting out.

The Sooners are more than just Blake Griffin. Just ask Willie Warren and Tony Crocker. Again, this is not downplaying the fact Griffin missed two games and Kansas was the beneficiary because of his absence — when they played OU and in the conference standings. But Kansas still had to win the games they played. The Jayhawks didn’t sit idly by while the Sooners dropped their two Griffin-free games, waiting for the overall conference lead to be handed to them.

Fortunately for both teams, there’s a conference tournament still left to play. That should go a long way in determining who the best team in the Big 12 is, and thus, deserving of a number 1 seed. Of course, both teams are going to have to survive until the championship game to make this wish happen. Should one of the teams falter beforehand, while the other team makes the Big 12 final and wins, it’ll be fairly obvious who deserves one of the coveted 1 seeds.

Until that time, I’m sticking with KU. How are you going to punish a team that wins one of the “BCS” conferences outright just because one of their rivals had a player, probably be the best in the country, miss time due to an injury? Are injuries no longer a part of the game? If I’m not mistaken, college basketball lets your prove your claim on the court instead of with dense formulas no school president has the nerve to stand up to. With Griffin back, the key to a number 1 seed for the Sooners is winning the Big 12 Tournament.

The same holds true for the Jayhawks, but right now, I have to give the nod to the current conference leader over the team with the best player.