Written by: Joe Ryan
We’re back with an update on how the BIG 12 is shaping up. My god is it turning out to be one helluva conference (again) this year. People like to say that the league can’t be that tough because Kansas has won the conference 13 straight years, but those people must be taking crazy pills or don’t actually watch the BIG 12. It is a battle day in and day out. There are no easy games whatsoever. Each team battles each other tooth and nail. The best part about the BIG 12? There are only 10 teams, so that means it’s a round robin schedule. If you go to someone’s building and lose, you’re going to get your revenge when they come to your building. That’s what makes the BIG 12 so special.
No game has been easy in the BIG 12; the conference is tight at this point in time and it’s anyone’s conference to win. The BIG 12 is so good this year that nine of their 10 teams could legitimately get into the NCAA tournament. That’s how deep this conference is. In my opinion, it shouldn’t matter what your final record is at the end of the season. If you win this conference outright, you should be awarded a number-one seed in the tournament. I would think that is only fair.
So, let’s look at the updated standings.
|#7 West Virginia||5-3||1||.625||16-4||.800||L1|
|#14 Texas Tech||5-3||1||.625||16-4||.800||W1|
As you can see, Kansas is leading this conference by one game, but the gap is closing after they blew a seven-point lead to Oklahoma. If they were to win that game, they would have a two-game lead and be the clear cut favorite to win this conference for the 14th straight year. Now they have a battle on their hands as four teams are tied for second place at 5-3.
*Note: There will be no BIG 12 games this Saturday as the BIG 12/SEC challenge tips off.*
The Jayhawks will travel to Manhattan to face a red-hot Kansas State team. The Jayhawks only defeated the Wildcats by one at home, so this game will have major implications for the BIG 12 standings.
If the Wildcats win this game, in a game they actually might be favored in, that would put them in a tie for first place in the BIG 12 almost midway through conference play. Who saw that coming?
If the Jayhawks were to take care of business, that puts pressure on Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Texas Tech to win their games to keep pace with the Jayhawks. If the Jayhawks lose, those teams can win and be tied for first.
So, the fact that the Kansas vs Kansas State is the first BIG 12 game played next week should set up for a wild week in the BIG 12, like usual.
Best Games to Watch (All times are EST)
*BIG 12 purposes only. The BIG 12/SEC challenge should be a fun one to watch this Saturday*
|9:00 PM (ESPN)||#5 Kansas at Kansas State|
|9:00 PM (ESPN)||Baylor at #12 Oklahoma|
|7:00 PM||#7 West Virginia at Iowa State|
|9:00 PM||Texas at #14 Texas Tech|
My Power Rankings on the conference:
- West Virginia
- Kansas State
- Texas Tech
- Oklahoma State
- Iowa State
Texas Tech Forward, Zach Smith, out indefinitely with a broken foot.
TCU star Guard, Jaylen Fisher, out for the season with a torn meniscus.
Two huge blows to some of the conferences best teams. Their benches will need to step up to fill in the place of the stars. Losing these two might cost both teams a chance at deep runs, whether it be in conference play or in the NCAA Tournament.
Players to Watch:
Dean Wade, Kansas State
Malik Newman, Kansas
Manu Lecomte, Baylor
Lindell Wigginton, Iowa State
Jeffery Carroll, Oklahoma State
Player of the Year Rankings:
- Trae Young, Oklahoma
- Devonte Graham, Kansas
- Jevon Carter, West Virginia
- Keenan Evans, Texas Tech
- Barry Brown, Kansas State
Coach of the Year Rankings:
- Bill Self, Kansas
- Bruce Weber, Kansas State
- Lon Kruger, Oklahoma