TCU remains solidly in NCAA mix despite Baylor loss

In terms of potential NCAA men’s basketball tournament seeding, TCU did not take much of a hit on its resume with Saturday’s 70-52 loss at Baylor that marked the most lopsided setback of the season for the Horned Frogs (17-8, 6-6 in Big 12).

TCU landed at No. 36 in Monday’s updated RPI rankings, down only two spots from Saturday’s pregame perch. Baylor (23-3, 9-3), the nation’s top-ranked team in RPI , climbed Monday to No. 4 in this week’s updated Associated Press poll. The RPI rankings typically play a significant role in seeding participants in the 68-team NCAA tournament field.

But the Horned Frogs were not included Monday among teams given individual odds to win this year’s national championship by Bovada Sports Book, which listed two Big 12 teams among its top 15 favorites to cut down the nets at the conclusion of March Madness. No. 3 Kansas (22-3, 10-2) received the second-best national odds, at 9-1, trailing only top-ranked Gonzaga (26-0), which received 8-1 odds. Baylor received 33-1 odds to claim the national title, with fellow Big 12 members Iowa State (150-1) and Kansas State (200-1) among the listed schools.

TCU defeated Iowa State, 84-77, on Jan. 14 and knocked off Kansas State, 86-80, on Feb. 1. TCU men’s basketball coach said the final six games of the regular season, starting with Wednesday’s matchup in Schollmaier Arena against Oklahoma State (16-9, 5-7), will tell the tale about the Frogs’ chances to return to March Madness for the first time since 1998.

“The thing about us is, every game is going to be against an NCAA-caliber team that’s really in the same position,” Dixon said before Monday’s practice. “Either they’re trying to get a higher seed or they’re trying to get a bid. That’s part of being in this conference. I would say eight of the 10 are looking at getting into the NCAA Tournament in some way.”

For a team that began the season with a career mark of 8-64 against Big 12 opponents, the NCAA buzz is exciting, said guard Kenrich Williams.

“It definitely feels great. The past two years have been rough,” Williams said. “We’re here to go to the tournament. I think that just excites people, us getting in the tournament.”

Jimmy Burch: 817-390-7760, @Jimmy_Burch