KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas coach Bill Self was chatting this week with someone who brought up the possibility that some unfortunate team with a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament might have to play its second game against Oklahoma State, which was once considered a Final Four contender. "I said, Just think if that happens in your conference tournament," Self responded. After winning their 10th straight regular-season title, the Jayhawks earned the top seed when the Big 12 tournament begins Wednesday night at the Sprint Center. But the reward is a first-round bye and a potential matchup with the eighth-seeded Cowboys in Thursdays quarterfinals; the two teams split their two meetings this year. Oklahoma State plays No. 9 seed Texas Tech in the first game Wednesday night. Seventh-seeded Baylor takes on No. 10 seed TCU in the nightcap of a double-header. "I think weve always had very competitive Big 12 tournaments," Self said, "but I dont know if I can ever remember where if theres a final between whatever seeds there are, it would be absolutely not a major surprise to anybody. Its going to be a pretty special weekend." The Big 12 has been the runaway leader in conference RPI all season, and some believe that it could land seven or eight teams in the NCAA tournament on Selection Sunday. Just consider the games that will be played Thursday: Along with Kansas getting Oklahoma State or Texas Tech, second-seeded Oklahoma will play the Baylor-TCU winner, No. 3 seed Texas will play No. 6 seed West Virginia, and No. 4 seed Iowa State will play No. 5 seed Kansas State. "This league," Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith said, "is by far the toughest in the country." Thats why the Jayhawks still believe they can earn a No. 1 seed to the NCAA tournament, despite their 23-8 record. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State (20-11) is teetering around the bubble, and a win over Texas Tech might be enough to push the Cowboys firmly into the dance. Knocking off the Jayhawks would certainly do the trick. "Were just trying to worry about the next game," Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said, "and worrying about all that other stuff doesnt really do you any good." In that case, here are five things that fans SHOULD worry about: BUBBLE WATCH: Oklahoma State isnt the only team on the NCAA tournament bubble. Baylor (21-10) would feel much better with a win or two, while West Virginia (17-14) hopes the momentum it picked up by knocking off Kansas last weekend will propel it to enough wins in Kansas City to make a case on Selection Sunday. "I think if we won two wed be in great shape," said Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins, "but I think if we can win that first one that we would be pretty good." CHAMPIONSHIP CHALLENGE: Kansas is the only current member to have won the Big 12 tournament since 2005 -- twice since then, Missouri won the title. In fact, Oklahoma and Iowa Stare are the only current schools besides the Jayhawks and Cowboys to have won. "No matter what people say, no matter what other teams do," Oklahoma States Marcus Smart said, "it goes through Kansas." STAR WATCH: There will be stars-a-plenty at the Big 12 tournament. Andrew Wiggins of Kansas is a potential No. 1 draft pick, Iowa States Melvin Ejim is the Big 12 player of the year and Smart is also a potential lottery pick. But one player who wont be on the floor is Jayhawks centre Joel Embiid, whos been ruled out for the Big 12 tournament and unlikely for the first week of the NCAA tournament because of a stress fracture in his back. HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE: Local schools Kansas and Kansas State always pack the Sprint Center, but Iowa State also tends to draw well -- its campus is a reasonable drive from Kansas City. That means itll be tough to secure a ticket to Thursdays first session, when the Cyclones play the Wildcats and Kansas is also in action in a tantalizing double-header. LONGSHOTS: Even longshots have coaches concerned this year. Texas Tech is the No. 9 seed but has wins over Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas on its resume. And nobody thought TCU would go winless in the league, so the No. 10 seed Horned Frogs could be primed for a first-round upset of the Bears. "Were going to do our best to keep within striking distance, like we have all year long, and give ourselves a chance down the stretch," TCU coach Trent Johnson said. Gabe Carimi College Jersey . 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Throwback Wisconsin Jerseys .com) - Whew! North Dakota States reign as the three-time FCS national champion was pushed to the limit by South Dakota State on Saturday, but freshman R. WINNIPEG -- Buck Pierce says hes being given another chance to play the game he loves with the B.C. Lions, but it still hurts to leave the Blue Bombers and his adopted home of Winnipeg. Pierce, who spent 3 1/2 seasons with the Bombers, was traded to the Lions on Sunday for Canadian receiver Akeem Foster. "I was sad at first, because I know what this place and this community means to me, and all the friendships on and off the field, outside these walls as well," Pierce said Monday in a gracious farewell. "Thats the first emotion." Despite the trade, Pierce said he wont really be leaving Winnipeg, where his fiancee lives and where he has business interests. "Its a place that I want to be. I will be here in the off-season," he said. "I will call it home and hopefully, some day in the future, I can be back in some aspect of the (Bombers) organization." His time in Winnipeg, like his previous tenure with the Lions in Vancouver, was marred by injury. Pierces best season was 2011, when he led the Bombers to the Grey Cup game, where Winnipeg dropped a 34-23 decision to the Lions. The next season was a major disappointment as he spent most of it on the injury list. After wrestling with the issue in the off-season, the Bombers opened 2013 with Pierce as their starter. But after managing only one win, he was hurt and replaced in the second half of the fourth game by Justin Goltz. Goltz and Max Hall have started since, with Pierce seeing action only as a backup. Hall really only played one game, injuring his hand on his first series in the second he started. Goltz too has struggled. He does get credit for Winnipegs second win of the season and first in their new stadium Sunday, although it owed more perhaps to a blitzing Bombers defence that sacked Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant eight times.dddddddddddd The Bombers still have four quarterbacks: Goltz, Hall, Jason Boltus and newcomer Levi Brown, who is on the practice roster. Despite his feelings about Winnipeg, Pierce said he is glad to get another chance to be useful on a football field. "Im given an opportunity to go and still use my talents to help a team achieve their goal and I think as an athlete thats what you want and thats what being a pro is all about," he said. Pierce, who turns 32 in November, played with the Lions from 2005 to 2009 and says he knows their offence well, since many of the same coaches are still in place. "My role, as I see it right now, is to come and help, help Travis (Lulay), help the offence and add some depth," he said. Acting general manager Kyle Walters thanked Pierce for what he did for the team but said theyve decided to move on and go with their younger quarterbacks. He also said the deal gives them a talented young Canadian receiver in Akeem Foster. "Its sound philosophy in the CFL when you get a chance to add to your Canadian talent base, particularly at your starting positions, you do it to promote depth and competition," Walters said. Theoretically, the Bombers should be OK at that spot but have had trouble keeping the four they had in training camp healthy. As for quarterback, Walters said for the remainder of the season they may stick with the four they have, but that may change in the off-season with the Ottawa expansion draft looming. "It would be foolish in an organization not to explore all options in December into how to upgrade all the positions, especially the most important position on the field, which is the quarterback position," he said. "So if we think we can upgrade that spot, then we will." 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