Another week, another showing of domination at the top of the conference standings. The team with the better conference record won every game on Saturday (although Oklahoma and Iowa State were both 9-6 before facing off last night). In fact, Texas exploding for 92 points to beat Oklahoma at home on Wednesday was the only upset in ten games played last week. All of the excitement remains at the top of the conference, with K-State and KU still tied for first while Oklahoma State trails by a game; there appears to be clearer separation everywhere else. A quick look at the league’s current standings:
|#13 Kansas State||13-3||–||.813||24-5||.828|
|#15 Oklahoma State||12-4||1||.750||22-6||.786|
With only one week left before the Big 12 conference tournament, let’s look at how the teams are playing right now:
Texas Christian looks ready to run the table on last place from beginning to end, and the more the Horned Frogs lose, the crazier that win against the Jayhawks looks. TCU had an opportunity to bring Texas Tech down to its level, but lost 72-63 to solidify its basement dwelling status. This program has to get better in the future, with its placement in the Dallas metro area and ability to sell recruits on playing in the Big 12. None of that changes the product it’s put on the court this year.
9. Texas Tech
Texas Tech collected its third win of the year yesterday, but two of those victories came at the expense of lowly TCU. While Tech is on a one game winning streak, the Red Raiders have lost nine of their past ten. During that streak, they lost more games by 20+ than not.
We shouldn’t revel in this. We really shouldn’t. But Texas, with its unlimited financial resources and first pick of available recruits, hasn’t been relevant in either football or basketball for a long time now. Rick Barnes may return next season, but the coach’s seat sure is warming up.
7. West Virginia
West Virginia won both games against Texas this year to get the nod over the Longhorns, but this isn’t a season that Bob Huggins is proud of. This team can harass opponents, but can’t hit shots to save its life. Once a team finds its rhythm against the Mountaineers, it’s usually game over for WVU.
Here’s your bold statement of the month so far: this is the most talented team that won’t make the NCAA tournament. That’s because in spite of Pierre Jackson and Isiah Austin offering one of the best point guard/center duos in the country, Baylor doesn’t appear to deserve a spot. Sure, they played K-State ridiculously close last night. The Wildcats also beat the Bears at home by 20. This is a team equipped to make a run, but that run may have to be in the NIT. Baylor plays travels to Texas Monday night, and will use the rest of the week to rest before hosting KU on Saturday for its final chance to do something impressive this year. Baylor will need to beat KU to finish the season with a winning record in conference play.
5. Iowa State
Iowa State is the unluckiest team in the nation. Three overtime games (one in double overtime). All losses. Two of those defeats were to KU, one of which included the most atrocious no-call of the year. James H. Hilton Coliseum remains one of the most intimidating venues in the Big 12, and the Cyclones host #15 Oklahoma State on Wednesday with a chance to get back on track after two straight losses.
Oklahoma remains in a tier all to itself. Not talented enough to run with the conference’s big three, its still clearly better than the bottom six. This was reinforced by its 86-69 defeat of Iowa State on Saturday. With games against West Virginia and TCU left on the schedule, the Sooners should enter the Big 12 tournament with momentum.
3. Oklahoma State
The Cowboys will have a chance to prove it belongs in the same breath as the two schools from Kansas this week when it travels to Ames and hosts Kansas State. Since losing in double overtime at Kansas, the Cowboys have won three straight against the bottom half of the league. That loss was the only hiccup over the past five weeks.
2. Kansas State
The Wildcats could have dropped a spot here last night. After a fast start, Baylor seemed to outplay K-State the rest of the half in a game that KSU still went into the locker room up by one, but probably should have been down by four or five. However, K-State would go on to win its craziest game of the year to keep pace with KU for first in the Big 12.
Sure, K-State holds the same record as KU and will technically share the Big 12 crown if both teams win out. But don’t let the records fool you – KU is playing better basketball right now. During the overtime game against Iowa State, Elijah Johnson contributed 39 points. And yesterday against West Virginia, Ben McLemore netted 36 of his own. The Wildcats should go far in the tournament, but this team has the players capable of taking over a game and bringing a national championship home.