Player of the Week:
Devon Dotson (Kansas)
Devon Dotson moves into the top spot this week after some incredible performances after the Maui Invitational. In Kansas’s game against 20 Colorado, he scored 18 points in 34 minutes, and for being the primary ball handler for Kansas, he had only 3 turnovers. Then in his most recent game against Milwaukee, he scored 22 points with nine assists. This season he is averaging 19.5 points a game and is shooting over 50% from the field. If I had to pick the Big Twelve player of the year right now, I would probably go with Dotson because he is such an integral part of this Jayhawks team. Even though there are some players with better season stats, he is the ringleader of such a highly regarded team.
Freshman of the Week:
Terrence Shannon Jr. (Texas Tech)
Terrence Shannon Jr. (pictured) helped lead Texas Tech on their way to beating 1 Louisville this week. Even though he did not shoot lights out, he played very consistently scoring 13 points. While his contribution to the game was not as obvious as some of his teammate’s, he took a big step here, proving that he belongs on the big stage and can step up when he’s needed. Earlier in the week, Shannon Jr. scored 24 points and pulled down 8 rebounds in the Red Raiders OT loss against DePaul. While he is not necessarily on people’s draft radar yet, he showed this week that he has the ability to play with the best in the country and can give his team a positive boost to win big games.
Tyrese Haliburton (Iowa State)
Haliburton really helped his team bounce back from a loss to Seton Hall in the Battle 4 Atlantis. On the 8th, Iowa State played 16 Seton Hall again and beat them thanks to Haliburton scoring 17 points and playing all 40 minutes of the game. He showed off his hustle and size bringing down six rebounds and dishing out five assists against the Pirates. A few days before, Haliburton showed out against UMKC just after losing to Seton Hall in the Bahamas. Against UMKC, he played 37 minutes, scored 19 points and had seven assists.
Kristian Doolittle (Oklahoma)
Kristian Doolittle really showed up for the Sooners this past week as they travelled to North Texas. In 38 minutes, he scored 28 points and shot 11-15 from the field and 3-3 from behind the arc. The Sooners only won by two, so in a game where every point mattered, Doolittle put the team on his back and did what he had to do to get the win, all while staying out of foul trouble with only one personal foul.
Freddie Gillespie (Baylor)
Baylor played two tough opponents this past week, beating both 12 Arizona and 18 Butler. Gillespie really stepped up in both these games, cementing himself as Baylor’s rim protector. Against Arizona he had five blocks and 13 rebounds. Not to mention he had 17 points shooting 75% from the field, which is much higher than his season average in points. Then only three days later, he was a major player in a gritty win against Butler. Butler won 53-52, and Gillespie had eight points on 66% shooting from the field with three blocks and nine rebounds.
Kansas State Wildcats:
Last Week Kansas State beat Florida A&M in Manhattan, Kansas, although I would have loved to see them do it a little more convincingly. The Wildcat’s turned the ball over 20 times and honestly, they are lucky they have better players, because their team did not seem to be on the same page. The one silver lining of the game is Kansas State shot lights out from all over the court, 53.7% as a team. You would think a few days later they would try to get their act together with Marquette coming to town. Marquette just outplayed Kansas State in their own gym and won the game. The shots were not falling, and they were not prepared to play a quality Marquette team.
Top Five Big 12 Fan Bases
Kansas has perhaps the most storied past in the NCAA and the fans show up for the Jayhawks. Allen Field House is always packed, and the place is always loud. You will not see many games with empty seats in the place, and students often camp out for the best seats in the student section. These are without a question some of the biggest basketball fans in the country.
2. Kansas State:
Even though they are the “little brother” to Kansas in terms of basketball, the “Octagon of Doom” is a special place to watch a game. Even if the Wildcats are not particularly good, their fans will show up once they start playing Big 12 opponents.
Even though Texas is considered a football school, the Longhorns fans show up to every sport their team is playing in Austin. Some of the most loyal fans in college sports, and they get especially rowdy when they have a good team, like this year.
4. Texas Tech:
Ever since Texas Tech has started playing uncharacteristically good basketball, the students and fans have started taking notice in Lubbock. Last year they got all the way to the final four and this year they beat 1 Louisville, so I only see their attendance growing and their students getting rowdier.
5. Oklahoma State:
Oklahoma State is another one of the “football schools” that has a surprisingly large following in Stillwater, and for the bigger conference game Gallagher-Iba Arena gets wild. They consistently fill up the gym and it is not an easy place to play by any means.