Player of the Week

Dean Wade, Kansas State

Kansas State’s star player had yet another successful week playing against Big 12 opponents. Against TCU, Wade shot 10-14 for 24 points and added 5 rebounds and 4 assists. The 6’10” forward then recorded 25 points and 7 rebounds in a win over Baylor. Wade has been the anchor for this Wildcat team all season and was rewarded by being named to the All-Big 12 First Team.

Wade has shown tremendous touch as a big man. He shoots nearly 43% from deep on 3 attempts per game and knocks down free throws at a respectable 75%. As a junior, Wade has one more year of eligibility and will likely stay at Kansas State to further refine his game. He’s not the most athletic, but he plays hard and plays smart. Wade could end up on an NBA team due to his size and ability to stretch the floor. Hopefully we get to watch Wade play on the national stage in the NCAA Tournament. 

Who’s Hot

Lindell Wigginton

With one of the brightest futures in the Big 12, Lindell Wigginton is has been lighting it up his freshman season. The 6’2” guard has recorded 20+ points in each of his last three games including a 29 point performance against two-time defensive player of the year, Jevon Carter. Wigginton seems to just be scratching the surface of his overall abilities but he has shown promise with his natural scoring abilities and athleticism.

One more season at Iowa State should help Wigginton become more of a playmaker and also improve his defense a bit. With two seasons under his belt, Wigginton should be ready to head for the NBA Draft where he should be a first-round draft selection.

Kerwin Roach, Texas

In his junior season at Texas, Kerwin Roach has shown the improvement people were hoping for since his freshman season. In the absence of Andrew Jones, Roach has stepped in and improved Texas as a team. Everyone knows Roach is one of the most athletic guards in the country, he went viral early in his career for being able to touch the top of the backboard along with some monster posterizations, but he has become a more all-around player since then.

Roach had 18 points and 8 assists against Kansas and also had 22 points to go along with 8 assists in a win over West Virginia. Roach shoots 45% overall and 35% from behind the arc, which is decent, but not great. There is definitely room for improvement in Roach’s game and hopefully after his senior season he will get a chance to make an NBA roster.

Who’s Not

Iowa State Cyclones

After a 9-game winning streak to close non-conference play, Iowa State is 4-14. They’re currently on a 6-game losing streak, their 5th multi-game losing streak this year. In a year where the Big 12 beat up on each other pretty badly, Iowa State seemed to be the one team that trailed behind for the entire season. Iowa State is the only team in the Big 12 that is more than 2 games under .500 in conference play, and they’re 10 games under. They are the only team in the conference with an overall losing record. They’re being outscored by 145 points in conference play. The list goes on and on. The “Who’s Not” list could’ve been renamed to the Iowa State award because they seem to find themselves on it way too often. It was truly a disappointing season for Iowa State fans.

Cameron Lard

It’s only right that an Iowa State player fills out this list. Cam Lard was becoming one of my favorite players in the conference as a freshman. He was on the “Who’s Hot” list a few weeks back and had been playing an extremely high level of basketball. Unfortunately, it seems to have fallen apart.

In his last two games he is a combined 2-15 shooting from the floor. For a guy that shoots over 60% for the season, that’s pretty bad. His struggles at the free throw line continued as they have all season shooting under 60% overall. Lard can rebound well and has shown the ability to be a high level player in this system. He’s been one of the most underrated freshmen in the nation this season and I think he will be able to end his slump in Big 12 tournament play.

Top Five NCAA Tournament Predictions

1. Kansas is the only team that can win it all.

It’s been a rough season for Big 12 teams facing each other, it seemed like everybody was beating everybody. Amidst all the madness, Kansas looked like the one team that was able to persevere through the gauntlet. The Jayhawks have a fantastic player in Devonte Graham who will be sure to leave everything on the floor for his senior season finale. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is one of the best shooters in the NCAA which will be sure to add to Kansas’ potential. Udoka Azubuike will need to be the X-Factor for the Jayhawks. The lone big man will need to avoid foul trouble and play within himself. It will take a lot, but Bill Self could pull it off.

2.  Trae Young will be sorely missed if Oklahoma falls short.

The most electric player in college basketball seems to have lost confidence in his shot since his amazing first half of the season. Oklahoma has regressed tremendously without the hot shooting from Young. They bowed out early in the Big 12 tournament at the hands of in state rival Oklahoma State, and now are in jeopardy of missing the tourney. Hard to imagine the selection committee leaving out one of the most exciting and impactful players in the past 20 years at the college level, but a 18-13 record and losing 8 of their last 10 will be tough to overlook.

3. Texas Tech will continue to falter.

Texas Tech’s season did a complete 180 after a hot start to the season. They had lost four straight games before barely edging out TCU this week and to me, it looked like the magic was gone. Keenan Evans is a terrific player and one of the best scorers in the conference, but one man can only do so much. Zhaire Smith has been reliable for the Red Raiders but is far from being a 2nd option on a contending team in my eyes. I wouldn’t be surprised if Texas Tech gets bounced early from the NCAA Tournament.

4. Oklahoma State could be dangerous.

Joe Lunardi has 8 Big 12 teams making the tournament in his latest Bracketology, everyone but Oklahoma State and Iowa State. However, Oklahoma State is one of his First Four Out, meaning a good Big 12 tournament could push them into the selection show. This Cowboys team has been in the middle of many upsets in the Big 12 this season, they beat Trae Young and Oklahoma twice, once at their peak, they beat West Virginia, they beat Texas Tech, and they beat Kansas twice. Jeffrey Carroll is a star player on this team and keeps them in games until the very end. If Oklahoma State happens to go dancing, they could put many teams on upset alert.

5. Anything can happen.

The beauty of March Madness is that literally nobody could every predict everything that happens. With a potential 9 Big 12 teams dancing this year, the conference could in the headlines for weeks to come. While everyone knows Kansas is a blueblood and sure to make a deep run, can you really count out the other teams? West Virginia with their press defense and Jevon Carter, Oklahoma and the firepower of Trae Young if they sneak in, TCU’s leadership and skill, Texas Tech’s team play, the magic of Oklahoma State, I mean it’s very possibly that multiple Big 12 teams could be in the Elite Eight or Final Four. At the same time, it’s very possibly that none of the teams make it to the Elite Eight. The Big 12 is the deepest conference in basketball, but nobody knows how they will perform in the NCAA Tournament.