Player of the Week
Lindell Wigginton – PG, Iowa State
Since losing their first two games of the season, Iowa State has won 7 straight. Much of the recent success can be attributed to freshman, Lindell Wigginton. Wigginton has been used more and more in the offense, taking less than 10 shots in their two losses and taking at least 10 shots in all but one game since.
The 6’2” point guard has caught fire as of late, averaging 20.6 points per game in his last five contests. Wigginton has also been an efficient shooter. He’s shooting about 46% from the field and knocking down almost half his threes, shooting the deep ball at a 49% clip.
On the season, Wigginton is averaging 16.2 points and 2.7 assists per game, both good for second best on the team. Wigginton has been one of the most reliable players on Iowa State who has been hot recently. He will play a large part in how the Cyclones perform this season.
Jevon Carter -PG, West Virginia
Jevon Carter has quietly been one of the best players in college basketball this season. Averaging 19.4 points, 6.0 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.8 steals per game, Carter has been effective on offense as well as defense.
The senior had yet another impressive week, putting up 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists in a win against #15 Virginia. He followed up that performance with 19 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds against Pitt. Averaging 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists over the course of the week.
A reason to be impressed with Carter is because he excelled in a game that didn’t fit his usual style of play. Against Virginia, the game was mainly played in half-court sets, rather than the transition offense and press defense West Virginia is used to playing. The 6’2” point guard was able to attack off the dribble and get to the line where he shot 9-10.
Carter has helped lead West Virginia to 9 straight wins after dropping their first game of the season to Texas A&M. Carter is making yet another run at Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year while also expanding on his offensive game as he is shooting threes at a personal best and also getting to the free-throw line and knocking them down at the highest rate of his career.
Carter has been as reliable as you can be for the Mountaineers and much of their success can be attributed to Carter’s performances.
TCU Horned Frogs
TCU is currently 10-0 on the season and riding a nation’s best 15-game win streak. I’ve been hesitant to give the Horned Frogs too much credit this season due to their relatively weak schedule. Well, this week they beat #22 ranked Nevada and have proven they are a legit team who deserves respect.
Led by Kenrich Williams and Vladimir Brodziansky and with solid role play by Jaylen Fisher, TCU has proven to be a legit contender to take the Big 12 title away from Kansas this year. TCU’s balanced attack on offense will bode well for them down the road as they can afford players to have off-nights.
Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks had a week to forget, losing two games to Washington and Arizona State.
There are a few areas of concern for Kansas. Firstly, the Jayhawks got to the line for just 17 free throw attempts over the two games. Secondly, the turned the ball over more than their opponent in each game. Third, Udoka Azubuike and Lagerald Vick were the only starters to shoot over 50% from the field in either of the two games. Lastly, Kansas has looked one dimensional, shooting over half of their shots from behind the arc against Arizona State.
This week exposed a lot of the weaknesses of this Kansas team, limited by depth and the absence of Billy Preston, when multiple players have off nights, things can get ugly for the Jayhawks.
Regardless, this is in all likelihood an outlier week for Kansas. Look for them to get back on track and never look back as this is a feeling they don’t want to have again.
Top Five Surprises of the Year
1. Trae Young – Oklahoma
Trae Young has been not only the surprise of the Big 12, but of the entire NCAA. The Oklahoma native has already drawn comparisons to Steph Curry and Jimmer Fredette. Young leads the nation in scoring per game with 28.8 points and is third in the nation in assists per game with 8.8. Young has solidified himself as one of the elite freshman in basketball and will have a spotlight on him for the rest of the season.
2. Zach Smith – Texas Tech
Zach Smith is on this list but for the wrong reasons. As a unanimous selection for the All-Big 12 team during the preseason, Smith has been underwhelming in his production. He’s fifth on his team in scoring and is being outrebounded by a guy averaging just 14 minutes a game. Smith is putting up just 6.8 points per game and has scored in double digits just three times on the year. The senior will need to turn his season around to live up to his preseason accolades.
3. Nick Weiler Babb – Iowa State
Nick Weiler Babb has been the do-it-all guy for Iowa State this year. The 6’5” guard has been a consistent triple double threat this season averaging 12.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game. Weiler-Babb’s playmaking has earned him a spot in the nation’s Top 5 for assists. As an Arkansas transfer, he has seen his playing time increase dramatically and has been one of the best players on the court each minute he’s out there.
4. Udoka Azubuike – Kansas
Udoka Azubuike was overlooked on the Kansas roster due to players like Devonte Graham, Lagerald Vick, and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. Azubuike is the most notable of the frontcourt players on Kansas and has been efficient. He has proven to be a solid offensive weapon shooting over 78% from the field averaging 13.9 points per game. Many believe Azubuike is just scratching the surface of his overall potential and it’ll be fun to see what he’s capable of becoming.
5. Texas Tech
Despite Zach Smith’s struggles, Texas Tech has fought to a 7-1 record on the season and earned a spot in the AP Top 25 rankings. Keenan Evans has picked up the slack for the Red Raiders averaging 17.9 points per game by being the most reliable weapon on offense. Texas Tech started the season with relatively low expectations compared to other Big 12 teams, add the fact that their star player has been playing poor, Texas Tech has overcome a lot to get to where they are