Another week gone in the Big 12, and this week we saw some out of conference action with the Big 12-SEC challenge. Here’s how the Big 12 is shaping up entering the home stretch.
#10 West Virginia Mountaineers (13-8, 2-6)
The Mountaineers continued their free fall this week, with losses to Arkansas in the Big 12/SEC challenge, then a close loss to Baylor. The good news for the Mountaineers is that the team seemed different from the second half of the Arkansas game into the Baylor game. The team showed a lot of fight but came up short both times, and in large part due to Taz Sherman being knocked out (almost literally) late in a close game against Baylor.
#9 Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-11, 3-6)
The Cowboys also went 0-2 this week, losing their SEC matchup to Florida, then falling to Kansas State, both on the road. While their record does not look good, the Cowboys are one of those teams who can beat anyone on any given day and they keep every game close. They can make an impact on the rest of the Big 12’s postseason chances, despite not being able to make the NCAA Tournament themselves.
#8 Oklahoma Sooners (13-9, 3-6)
The final winless Big 12 team from this past week, the Sooners kept it close with #1 ranked Auburn until unraveling late and falling by 18. They followed that up with a nine point loss to TCU at home and have now lost six out of their last seven.
#7 Kansas State Wildcats (11-10, 3-6)
Kansas State avoided a potential spiral just barely squeaking by Oklahoma State at home. If not for that, the Wildcats would have lost four in a row. The Wildcats’ road does not get much easier, with them facing TCU on the road on Saturday, and then Baylor on Wednesday.
#6 Iowa State Cyclones (16-6, 3-6)
The Cyclones continue to fall back to earth in Big 12 play after their surprising start during non-conference play. They have now lost three of their last four Big 12 play after a home loss to Kansas, although they did win their SEC challenge against Missouri.
#5 TCU Horned Frogs (15-4, 4-3)
The Horned Frogs went undefeated this past week, winning their SEC challenge against LSU and getting a tough Big 12 road win over Oklahoma. TCU is now the biggest surprise in the Big 12 as most predicted the Horned Frogs to finish near the bottom of the Big 12.
#4 Texas Longhorns (15-4, 5-3)
Just as it looked like Texas was playing up to their potential, winning four straight, including a win over SEC challenger Tennessee, they were halted by their head coach Chris Beard’s former team Texas Tech. That will likely just be a small setback as the Longhorns have played great basketball as of recent and should continue that through the rest of Big 12 play.
#3 Texas Tech Red Raiders (17-5, 6-3)
The Red Raiders have won four out of their last five, with the lone loss coming against Kansas on the road (and in double overtime). While they are still behind the conference’s top two teams, Texas Tech looks like they could make a real run in the conference tournament, and then in the NCAA tournament.
#2 Baylor Bears (19-3, 7-2)
Baylor lost their third game of the season this week to Alabama in the Big 12/SEC challenge, but it is hard to hold that against them too much when Alabama has also beaten Gonzaga and Houston. They were then able to fend off a desperate West Virginia team while missing two of their top three scorers. The Bears look like they could make a real run at defending their national championship, and as soon as they get healthy, look out.
#1 Kansas Jayhawks (18-3, 7-1)
The Jayhawks lost a massive game to Kentucky in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, at home as well, but that looks to be just a small stumble in their overall season. To only have one loss at this point in their conference schedule is very impressive and they will look to solidify their top spot in the Big 12 with a home game against Baylor on Saturday. However, if Ochai Agbaji is still out due to COVID-19, things could get interesting.
Photo by Wesley Shoemaker, Blue Gold Sports