Checking in on… the Big 12Posted by Brian Goodman on February 14th, 2011
A Look Back
- This week’s Big 12 play kicked off with a Big Monday matchup between Kansas and Missouri as part of ESPN’s Rivalry Week. The Tigers and Jayhawks both entered the Monday night matchup ranked in the top 25 with Kansas checking in at #2 and the Tigers at #20. As has been the case over the past few meetings between these two programs at Allen Fieldhouse, it was all Kansas in a game that saw plenty of offense and a final score of 103-86.
- Wednesday night, Texas handled another Big 12 opponent with ease, beating Oklahoma by 16, while Nebraska gave Baylor all they could handle before the Bears would secure a four-point win and position themselves for a tournament bid. In Boulder, the Colorado Buffaloes played with a lead for much of the game before losing by three in overtime to Mark Turgeon’s Texas A&M Aggies. With the win, Turgeon gets the best of former teammate Tad Boyle in the first and last meeting between the two coaches as Big 12 foes.
- Saturday paved the way for the Big 12 to have the #1 and #2 teams in the country following Ohio State’s loss to Wisconsin and both Kansas and Texas made their case. The Jayhawks continued a hot stretch offensively in a dismantling of the Iowa State Cyclones while Texas fought off an upset bid by Baylor to win by nine and end a four-game losing streak to the in-state rival.
- Missouri got back on track with a big win over Oklahoma at home. The Tigers continue to look like a completely different team in Columbia than they are on the road. The Aggies won their second close one this week on the road with a late win over Pat Knight’s Texas Tech squad.
- Doc Sadler and Nebraska kept their slim postseason hopes alive with a win over Oklahoma State in Lincoln. Both teams now sit at 4-6. The other two teams in the conversation for a potential sixth Big 12 bid are Colorado and Kansas State. The Wildcats made a last-second three pointer that was later determined to come after the buzzer, giving the Buffaloes a late win in the game in Boulder despite seeing very little in the way of production from star Alec Burks.
Quick Disclaimer: Power rankings are not meant to be a poll. They are meant to reflect who is playing the best basketball at a given time.
- Texas (22-3, 10-0) – Texas continues to cruise and the Longhorns have their eyes on an undefeated conference run.
- Kansas (24-1, 9-1) – Kansas remains on a hot stretch on the offensive end and might find themselves playing with the #1 ranking this week.
- Baylor (16-8, 6-5) – Baylor looks to be developing of late and with all that talent, they have a chance to be dangerous. It’s still a work in progress but a good showing against Texas in Austin helps the argument for the Bears.
- Texas A&M (19-5, 6-4) – A&M gets two tight wins on the road and turns the momentum back in the right direction heading down the stretch.
- Missouri (19-6, 5-5) – New week, same story. The Tigers can’t win on the road. The schedule becomes a little more forgiving over the next few games, and it might be a good opportunity for the Tigers to get that first road win and make a push for a first-day bye at the Big 12 tourney.
- Colorado (16-10, 5-6) – Colorado takes A&M to overtime and gets a nice win over Kansas State. Right now they have an ever-so-slight edge in the race for sixth in the conference, which might also signal the last bid for the conference come NCAA Tournament time.
- Nebraska (16-8, 4-6) – The Huskers are a sleeper team in the four-way race for #6 and they currently hold wins over two of the other three teams, with victories over Colorado and Oklahoma State.
- Kansas State (16-9, 4-6) After a LONG week off, the Wildcats lose to Colorado in a heartbreaker on the road. Rumors ran wild as to the status of senior Curtis Kelly, and the year that was supposed to be special is truly on the brink. A big opportunity comes on Monday with Kansas coming to town.
- Oklahoma State (16-8, 4-6) The Cowboys dropped their only game on the week and have a bit of inner turmoil with some off-court issues. It will be interesting to see how well Travis Ford can hold things together.
- Oklahoma (12-12, 4-6) – The Sooners lose to the Longhorns and the Tigers; no shame in that. Jeff Capel has done better than expected but OU isn’t there yet.
- Texas Tech (11-14, 3-7) – Another almost for the Red Raiders as they take A&M to the wire but can’t squeak out a win.
- Iowa State (14-11, 1-9) – No depth and it’s finally caught up. Fred Hoiberg’s team never quits, but they just don’t have the horses to keep up this season.
A Look Ahead
- The week in the Big 12 kicks off with Kansas heading to Manhattan for a Big Monday matchup against Kansas State. The Wildcats will be hungry for revenge after a recent blowout in Lawrence and the Jayhawks might head into this one as the top ranked team in the nation.
- A rare set of Tuesday games keeps things going with Texas Tech heading on the road to face Missouri and Baylor playing a mid-year cupcake against Wayland Baptist.
- If the Jayhawks aren’t number one, it could be the Texas Longhorns who carry that title. Texas tips off Wednesday night at home against Oklahoma State, while Iowa State heads to College Station and the Cornhuskers look for another resume-building win on the road at Oklahoma.
- Saturday sees all 12 teams in action once again and it’s a weekend that could provide some separation at the six spot. Colorado has to travel to Lawrence while Nebraska hosts Texas. A&M goes on the road to Oklahoma State while Kansas State hosts Oklahoma. Again, OSU, KSU, Nebraska and Colorado could all by vying for a final NCAA bid and all four will be tested on Saturday.
- Rounding out the action on Saturday is a trip by the Missouri Tigers into Ames, where they’ll look to get their first conference road win against the last place Cyclones. If the Tigers can’t pull off a win in Hilton, they might have to start concerning themselves a little more with postseason seeding. The last game on the day is between Texas Tech and Baylor in Waco, as the Bears look to further cement that #3 spot in the conference.
Player of the Year Watch
Power Ranking Style and Based on Conference Play
- Jordan Hamilton – (17.8 PPG, 8.5 RPG): Hamilton keeps plugging along on a great Texas team in the hunt for an undefeated conference season and a #1 seed come tourney time.
- Marcus Morris, Kansas – (18.7 PPG, 8 RPG): Morris and Kansas are hot right now, playing lights-out on the offensive end. The Jayhawks could soon be the #1 team in the nation and Morris is a big reason why.
- Alec Burks, Colorado – (20.2, PPG, 7.9 RPG): Burks had an off night against Kansas State but Colorado pulled off a win anyway securing the season sweep of the Wildcats and keeping the Buffalo postseason hopes alive.
- LaceDarius Dunn – (18.7 PPG): Dunn is starting to assert himself and Baylor is playing better. The Bears sit in the top 4 of the conference and are starting to look more like a tournament lock than a team lost.
- Jacob Pullen, Kansas State – (18.9 PPG, 3.5 APG): Pullen keeps fighting, but the Wildcats are facing the very real possibility of an NIT bid come March.