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Big 12 Tournament Story Lines: Who Has Easiest Road To Championship?

The Big 12 tournament will start on Wednesday with seeds 5-12 while the top four seeds receive a bye and won't play until Thursday. Those top four seeds are No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Texas, No. 3 Texas A&M and No. 4 Kansas State. In theory, the top seed should have the easiest path. That, however, is not the case here.

First, here's a link to the Big 12 tournament bracket. Here's a look at each of the top four seeds' path to the Big 12 championship.

No. 1 Kansas will play Nebraska or Oklahoma State in the second round and they should be fine beating either one. After that, though, they could be playing Kansas State, arguably the hottest team in the tournament. To me, that should be a championship matchup, not a semifinal matchup, but K-State struggled early and didn't get hot until the last few weeks, so their seeding suffered. K-State in the semifinals? Tough draw.

No. 2 Texas has a more dangerous opponent in round two in Baylor, assuming the Bears beat Oklahoma in round one. Baylor has a ton of talent making them dangerous but they've been really beatable this year. The Longhorns are likely battling against Missouri or Texas A&M if they can beat Baylor in round two. Texas already beat Mizzou once this year (by 13 points) and they've dominated A&M twice by 20 points and 21 points.

No. 3 Texas A&M draws arguably the toughest matchup in the second round against Missouri, who should beat Texas Tech in round one. Missouri may have the edge here as they lost an OT matchup in A&M earlier in the year, but will play in front of a pro-Mizzou crowd in Kansas City if the two meet.

No. 4 Kansas State will play the winner of Colorado vs. Iowa State, and the Buffs are likely to win. That means Colorado vs. Kansas State would come in round two. Um, bad news for the Wildcats. K-State lost to Colorado twice this season -- in Manhattan and in Boulder. The first loss came by eight points and was in the middle of K-State's tailspin on January 12. The second came on February 12, in the middle of K-State's hot streak (and it came on a last second three-pointer KSU made that was ruled no good). Kansas State's really dangerous but this team still lost nine games. They can be inconsistent and Colorado has beaten then when they were cold and when they were hot. Potentially a tough draw for K-State.