We’re closing in on about two weeks left in the regular season and the battle for the Big 12 regular season championship is all but over. Kansas will almost assuredly take home the Big 12 regular season title, only needing one win to clinch a share and two to clinch it outright. Baylor, Iowa State, and West Virginia all sit three games back of the Jayhawks with only four to play. The rest of the Big 12 is still battling it out for position in the conference tournament, as well as for berths into the NCAA tournament.
The Big 12 standings as a whole tightened this week as Baylor and West Virginia each lost close on the road. The gap from second place to ninth place now sits at four and a half games, with only two teams in the conference out of the postseason picture in Oklahoma and Texas. One thing did become a little clearer this week, as Kansas now has a two-game lead on Baylor for first place in the conference after their undefeated week. Even with that lead, the title is far from clinched as Kansas has some very important games the rest of the way.
It was a crazy week in the Big 12, and only two teams came out unscathed: the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the TCU Horned Frogs. Everyone else in the conference took at least one loss, including the big three at the top, Baylor, Kansas and West Virginia. Not only did Baylor lose but they were one of two teams to not win a game this week, with Oklahoma being the other. With Kansas dropping their second conference game of the year, the Bears had a chance to jump the Jayhawks in the loss column.
This was supposed to be a week for the Big 12 to show that they are one of the best conferences in the nation, facing the weaker SEC in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Unfortunately, the conference only won half of their games in the challenge, taking five with the SEC taking the other five. The top of the conference took care of business as Baylor, Kansas, and West Virginia all took care of their SEC foes.
Just when it looks like Kansas is going to face stiff competition from two teams in the Big 12, the conference turns on its head. A top team lost twice this week, earning themselves a spot on the “Who’s Not” list. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State won their first Big 12 game this year, and followed it up with their second a few days later. While Oklahoma State was turning things around, so was TCU, but it wasn’t for the better. They lost all three of their games this week, weakening their NCAA tournament chances.
We’re starting to settle in to conference play, and this week helped further establish teams that should be playing in the NCAA tournament when March rolls around. With their blowout win over Baylor, West Virginia has established themselves as a legitimate threat to Kansas for the regular season title. Those three teams, Baylor, Kansas, and West Virginia, have all but guaranteed themselves a spot in the NCAA tournament.
It was quite a week in the Big 12, with quality games around the conference, including an upset in Lubbock and near upsets of Baylor and Kansas. Texas Tech defeated West Virginia by a score of 77-76 in overtime, scoring the biggest upset of the season to this point in the Big 12. Baylor was taken to the wire by Iowa State and Oklahoma State, while the Jayhawks took down Kansas State on a very controversial game-winning layup by Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk.
We’ve finally reached conference play and the first slate of games did not disappoint. Each team (minus Texas) only played one game this week, and the results gave a little more insight on where the season could be heading for the Big 12. Texas continues to severely disappoint, while teams like Kansas State and TCU continue to prove that they can battle with the rest of the conference, and that their non-conference successes may not be a fluke. Oklahoma State and Jawun Evans proved that they can score with anyone, but their defense will be an issue.
Non-conference play wrapped up this past holiday weekend, and we’re heading into conference play with a bit of a clearer picture on where the chips could fall by the season’s end. The limited slate of games this past week allows us to give some recognition to players that have stood out in their recent performance, even without an enormous game.
Another week of college basketball is behind us, as we inch closer to conference play in the Big 12. It was another relatively slow week in college basketball as almost all schools are now on winter break. There were a few good games this week, but most teams are at the softest portion of their schedule. Dominant performances were hard to come by, as many top players saw shortened minutes because of blowouts. For that reason, we will be going a little under the radar for our player of the week.
Player of the Week