Two-thirds of the Big 12 Conference season is in the books and it has turned into a three horse race for first place. Who had the Kansas State Wildcats sitting atop the conference at this point in the season? That’s right, going into Wednesday’s action, Kansas State is in sole possession of the league’s top spot. Of course, Kansas and Oklahoma State are but a half a game behind and play each other in Stillwater Wednesday night, so by Thursday, another team will be tied with the Wildcats for first.
1) Kansas State – (10-3, 21-5) – The Wildcats shook off their debacle against Kansas last Monday to win two big games this week against Baylor and West Virginia, both at home. They are assured of going into the weekend tied for first place in the conference. Point guard Angel Rodriguez was named the Big 12 Co-Player of the Week for his play. Rodriguez has become a terrific floor leader and his shooting has improved to make him an all around threat for the Wildcats. Coming Up: KSU travels to Austin Saturday to take on the Longhorns. Texas is just fighting to make something positive emerge from this season, so don’t look for them to just roll over for the Wildcats.
2) Kansas (9-3, 21-4) – The Jayhawks put it to the Longhorns Saturday, winning easily in Lawrence. Jeff Withey passed former Longhorn Chris Mihm as the all-time leader in blocked shots in the Big 12 and was named the Big 12 Co-Player of the Week for his efforts. KU is presently tied with OSU for second in the league but that will change tonight. Coming Up: It doesn’t get much bigger than this for the Jayhawks as they try to avenge their loss to the Cowboys in the Phog a couple of weeks ago. That loss sent KU into a 3-game tailspin. Add in the fact the winner of this game joins KSU at the top of the conference standings, and the atmosphere should be electric in Stillwater tonight. KU has a chance to avenge another loss Saturday when the Horned Frogs visit Lawrence, then they have the difficult task of playing Iowa State in Ames on Mondaay. The Cyclones have not lost at home all season.
3) Oklahoma State (9-3, 19-5) – The Cowboys continue to play well as the season progresses. This past week, they drubbed Tech and squeaked out an overtime victory at home against in-state rival Oklahoma. Freshman Marcus Smart tallied 28 in the overtime win against the Sooners and won the Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the second straight week. OSU is in a tie for second with Kansas heading into their showdown tonight. Coming Up: The Cowboys need to show their victory in Lawrence was no fluke when Kansas comes to visit tonight. A victory will move them into a tie for first place and will make it very difficult for the Jayhawks to repeat as conference champs. The Cowboys then travel to Morgantown Saturday to take on the Mountaineers.
4) Iowa State (7-5, 17-8) – The Cyclones lost another tough one on the road when they fell by three to Texas in Austion. They struggle away from Ames, where they are undefeated this season. They have only won twice in nine tries away from home. ISU did crush TCU at home this past weekend. If the Cyclones want to close the gap between themselves and the top tier schools, they need to start winning more road games. Coming Up: They get their chance tonight when they take on Baylor in Waco. This is a big game for both schools as they try to stay in touch with the league leaders and for positioning in the Big 12 tournament. ISU gets Tech at home this weekend before hosting Kansas on Big Monday.
5) Oklahoma (7-5, 16-8) – It was a tough week for the Sooners even though they pounded TCU. A rough overtime loss to their Bedlam partners on Saturday pretty much eliminated their chances for a conference title, even though it was a long shot anyway. Still, they have a strong chance to earn a NCAA bid but they need to finish the season strong. Coming Up: The Sooners travel to Lubbock tonight before hosting Baylor on Saturday. OU needs both wins to have a chance at playing in the Big Dance in March.
6) Baylor (7-5, 16-9) – The Bears’ roller coaster season continued as they beat West Virginia by 20 and lost to Kansas State by 20. The Bears have fallen out of the title race but are now fighting for conference tournament seeding and a bid to the NCAA Tournament in March. Coming Up: Baylor has two big match-ups this week in the battle for league positioning as they take on the two teams they are tied with in the middle of the pack. Tonight, they host ISU before traveling to Norman Saturday to have it out with the Sooners. The Bears are running out of time to pad their NCAA resume.
7) West Virginia (6-7, 13-13) – A disappointing season for the Mountaineers is winding down. They did beat Tech at home but it was sandwiched between two big losses to Baylor and Kansas State on the road. West Virginia’s hopes of extended play in March depends on a four game run in the Big 12 tournament and that is unlikely. WVA is sitting at .500, which is probably not good enough for even a NIT bid. Coming Up: The Mountaineers will try to play spoilers now for the Cowboys when OSU comes knocking this Saturday.
8) Texas (4-9, 12-14) – The Longhorns celebrated the return of Myck Kabongo by knocking off the Cyclones in Austin. They couldn’t continue the good mojo in Lawrence, as they were knocked around by the Jayhawks pretty hard on Saturday. The Longhorns did recover enough to take out TCU on the road last night by 9. This will be first time in a decade and a half the Longhorns will not be going to the NCAA Tournament (barring a miracle in the Big 12 tourney). Texas hopes to play well down the stretch to have something to positive to build upon next season. Coming Up: Texas tries to spoil Kansas State’s chances at winning the title when the Wildcats play in Austin on Saturday.
9) Texas Tech (2-10, 9-14) – The Red Raiders took it on the chin against the Cowboys earlier in the week before battling West Virginia down to the wire in Morgantown on Saturday. Tech has much work to do to find themselves back in the league race next season. Coming Up: The Red raiders have two tough contests this week as they take on OU and ISU.
10) TCU (1-12, 10-16) – The Horned Frogs shining moment in the spotlight may just have been their only one for this season. Since upsetting the Jayhawks a couple of weeks ago, TCU has returned to their losing ways. They are o-4 since the KU win, losing by an average of 21 points a game. Coming Up: It may be time to pay the piper for TCU, for they travel to face the Jayhawks in Lawrence.
Ku vs. OSU, Wednesday, 8pm
ISU vs. BU, Wednesday, 8pm
BU vs. OU, Saturday, 4pm
KU vs. ISU, Monday, 8pm
Topics: Baylor Bears, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, TCU Horned Frogs, Texas Longhorns, Texas Tech Red Raiders, West Virginia Mountaineers