The Big 12 Conference basketball championship will be decided on Saturday. This we know that for sure. Just how is a mystery because there are a number of scenarios that could play out. Kansas, with a win at Baylor, and a loss by Kansas State at Oklahoma State, could win outright. Kansas State, with a win in Stillwater, could win outright themselves if KU loses in Waco. If both win, they will share the title, and if both lose, they will share the title with the Cowboys (if OSU beats ISU tonight). If OSU loses tonight in Ames, KU and KSU could both share the title with losses on Saturday. Got all that? Everything rides on these two key games this Saturday.
Here is the week in review plus a look at the past week:
1) Kansas (14-3, 26-4) – The Jayhawks have not let up since their controversial win last Monday at Iowa State. KU won games against West Virginia and Texas Tech by an average of 31.5 points a game. Just one victory separates them from a 9th consecutive Big 12 title. For the incredible games against the Cyclones and the Mountaineers, Elijah Johnson is this week’s Big 12 Player of the Week and teammate Ben McLemore is the Big 12 Rookie of the Week. Coming Up: One last road test for Kansas as they travel to Baylor to take on the desperate Bears, who need a win just to have a shot at a NCAA bid.
2) Kansas State (14-3, 25-5) – A thrilling last second 3-pointer from senior Rodney McGruder kept the Wildcats’ dream of a Big 12 Conference Championship alive against Baylor Saturday night. KSU took care of business Tuesday with a victory over TCU on Senior Night. Coming Up: This is the big one with everything on the line. A victory over Oklahoma State in Stillwater Saturday guarantees at least a share of the conference championship. The win would give Kansas State the Big 12 championship in both football and basketball in the same season. It’s a good time to be a Wildcat!
3) Oklahoma State (12-4, 22-6) – The Cowboys just won’t go away. After solid wins against TCU and Texas this past week, OSU has won 10 of their last 11 contests. If it weren’t for a short stretch in the middle of the season when the Cowboys lost 4 or 5, they would be in the conversation for a number one seed. Coming Up: No team has a harder final two games than OSU. They travel to Ames to take on Iowa State tonight, where the Cyclones have only lost once all year. Saturday, Kansas State comes to town for the big showdown. If OSU can win both games, they have a chance at a tie for first place in the league. It is going to be exciting in Stillwater this week!
4) Oklahoma (10-6, 19-9) – For the second time in just a few games, Oklahoma suffered a costly overtime loss to a hated rival. On February 16, OSU beat OU in an extra stanza; Wednesday, it was Texas who did the same. If the Sooners win those two games, they would still be in the hunt for the title. Their big win against ISU placed them solidly in 4th place and assured them of a ticket to the Big Dance in two weeks. Coming Up: OU may have the easiest finish in the conference as they host West Virginia Wednesday before tying it all up against a hapless TCU squad on the road Saturday.
5) Iowa State (9-7, 19-10) – The Cyclones’ inability to find away to win on the road really cost them a chance to challenge for the league title. This week’s 17-point loss at Oklahoma is the perfect example how their road woes have prevented them from winning as many games as they should have. Blaming the officials for one game doesn’t change that. ISU really needs to look at bulking up their non conference schedule in the future. That would help them be better prepared for the rugged conference slate. Coming Up: It is two must wins for Iowa State this week as they fight to remain off the NCAA bubble. Taking out title challenger OSU tonight would certainly help, as would a win on the road against West Virginia on Saturday.
6) Baylor (8-9, 17-13) – It was another rough week for the wildly inconsistent Bears. They won a close on on the road at West Virginia, lost a close at home on a buzzer beater by K-State, and then lost to Texaas on the road Monday. Baylor is another school that has struggled on the road but it is their 5 home losses that is more telling. Coming Up: At this point, only a win against Kansas and a a couple of wins in the Big 12 tournament next week can save Baylor’s season.
7) West Virginia (6-10, 13-16) – The Mountaineers are mired in the bottom four in the conference after losses at home against Baylor and on the road at Kansas. Finishing in the bottom four means not getting a first round bye in the Big 12 tournament. At this point, it probably doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of post season play. It is doubtful West Virginia will be a factor. Coming Up:
The last week of the regular season will be a tough one for WVU. They travel to Norman tonight, then close out their regular season against ISU at home.
8) Texas (6-11, 14-16) – Texas won two big games this week, taking out OU and Baylor at home but losing at OSU. Texas started out 0-5 in the Big 12 but are 6-6 since. It doesn’t sound like much but to a young team looking for bright spots on which to build, it is an important accomplishment. Coming Up: The Longhorns have a real opportunity to move up a spot in the final league standings with a win on Saturday against Texas Tech. Again, this would serve as a nice building block going into next season.
9) Texas Tech (3-14, 10-18) – Little has been easy for the Red Raiders this season. Two of their three league victories were against Big 12 newcomer TCU, including one this past weekend. There were many games in which they were not competitive, like Monday at Kansas. Whomever coaches Tech next year has to get some better athletes into the program if they hope to compete in the future. Coming Up: Tech finishes the season at home against Texas this weekend.
10) TCU (1-16, 10-19) – Welcome to the Big 12, Horned Frogs! TCU had one bright, shimmering moment this season when they knocked off mighty Kansas. Unfortunately, nothing else went right for TCU. The Horned Frogs have a very good coach in Trent Johnson and if anyone can get them to a competitive level, it will be him. Coming Up: The Frogs close out their initial Big 12 regular season at home against Oklahoma.
OSU vs, ISU, Wednesday, 6pm
KSU vs. OSU, Saturday, 12:30pm
KU vs. BU, Saturday, 5pm
Topics: Baylor Bears, Ben McLemore, Elijah Johnson, 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