Horton Hears a Hoop

Player of the Week

Talen Horton Tucker, Iowa State

Talen Horton-TuckerTalen Horton-TuckerWith the way freshman phenom Talen Horton-Tucker has played as of late, don't be surprised if he begins to gain more traction as a NBA Draft prospect. He has the frame to play bully-ball, a near 7-foot wingspan, but also pairs his stature with finesse and a polished game. Iowa State looks loaded with plenty of very good to great players on the roster. Horton-Tucker led the charge with 21 points and six rebounds during the 98-84 defeat Iowa. He followed up by scoring 17 points on nine attempts en route to the victory over Southern. Horton-Tucker showcased his well-rounded game in the contest too, stuffing the stat sheet with five rebounds, four assists, and one block. As he gets more accumulated to the college game, expect Horton-Tucker to keep improving as the season progresses.

Who's Hot

Marial Shayok, Iowa State

Iowa State has perhaps one of the most explosive offensives in all of the Big 12, and that charge is led by senior Marial Shayok. Currently leading the conference in scoring at 20.0 points per game, he's been able to show his offensive skillset with the increase in opportunities compared to his time with Virginia. Despite the loss to in-state rival No. 18 Iowa, Shayok helped make the game competitive with 19 points, three assists, and three steals. He built on his performance in the next game by scoring 26 points on an efficient 11-of-15 from the field. He also corralled five boards to go along with two assists in the 101-65 victory over Southern. The ability to dominate on both ends of the floor will keep Shayok in contention for conference player of the year throughout the season.

Who's Not

Desmond Bane

Junior Desmond Bane has shown growth in each of his three seasons with TCU, but has been in a bit of a dry-spell as of late. Despite playing 37 minutes against SMU, he only finished the game with nine points while shooting 25% from behind the arc and 40% overall. His game against USC wasn't much better, scoring 11 points while grabbing four rebounds and passing for four assists. On the bright side, TCU was able to get the win in both games, which is the most important part. Bane is a talented player who's able to effect the game in multiple facets, so once his shot begins falling again, he should be able to establish himself as one of the best lead guards in the Big 12.

Top 5 Teams in the Big 12

1) Kansas Jayhawks

This is obviously a given, as Kansas is currently ranked as the No. 1
team in the country. The team has had a difficult time getting freshman
All-American Quentin Grimes involved in the offense, but
hasn't prevented the Jayhawks from cementing their undefeated record.
For one, college vets Dedric Lawson and [Player: Lagerald
Vick] has played at an elite levels on both ends of the floor, and will
be in consideration for all-conference honors for the duration of the
season. It's also worth noting that head coach Bill Self is one of the
best in the country, and will always have his team physically and
mentally ready to play come conference play.


2) Texas Tech Red Raiders


Sitting at a pretty 9-0 record, Texas Tech has been one of the pleasant
surprises in college basketball this season. Despite losing [Player:
Keenan Evans] and Zhaire Smith, the Red Raiders haven't looked
back and have played tremendous basketball thus far. For one, [Player:
Jarrett Culver] has taken massive leaps during his sophomore season, and
has established himself as one of the stars in the Big 12. Head coach
Chris Beard has a game-plan in place to build their offense through
strong defense, which helps explains the strong start from the Red
Raiders.


3) Oklahoma Sooners


Despite losing Trae Young, Oklahoma has been one of the bright
spots for the Big 12 this season. Not saying it's addition by
subtraction, but the other returning players have improved from a season
ago. Senior guard Christian James has been nothing short of
great, scoring 19.2 points per game. He's also very efficient, shooting
81.8% from the free throw line, 43.4% from three, and 52.2% overall from
the field. This team will go as far as James will take them.


4) Iowa State Cyclones


While they may not be the best of defensive units, Iowa State does as
well as a job as any team in terms of forcing their opponents to play an
uptempo, high scoring game. As alluded to earlier, Marial Shayok and
Talen Horton-Tucker two of the go-to guys on this team, but [Player:
Michael Jacobson] and Lindell Wigginton are both more than
capable of creating their own shots. It'll be interesting to see if the
offense can continue to thrive against Big 12 opponents who will have a
game-plan to try to slow it down.


5) Kansas State Wildcats


While the Jayhawks have been downed by Marquette and Tulsa the previous
two games, they're still one of the best defensive teams in the country.
This team does a good job in slowing down the game and playing in the
half court. While offense isn't the team's speciality, [Player: Dean
Wade], [Player: Barry Brown Jr.], and Xavier Sneed are still
more than capable scorers. Even though Kansas State hasn't gotten off
to a great start, let's not forget this team was one win away from
reaching the Final Four a season ago.