Wednesday Wrap-Up: Wild (or Ugly) Night Doesn’t Exclude the Big 12Posted by Nate Kotisso on January 24th, 2013
Thanks to the double dip of games on Big Monday and the Sunflower Showdown the following evening, Wednesday was rather light on the conference schedule. Like, the weight-of-a-leaf light. TCU-West Virginia and Iowa State-Texas Tech were match-ups that sounded like they were made for ESPN3, yet there they were, soaking up precious air time on ESPN2 and ESPNU last evening. For fans of Big 12 basketball, it wasn’t a good night.
West Virginia 71, Texas Christian 50: Everybody knew that the game of the night was down in Coral Gables. What I was hoping for was a close game between Duke and Miami so that the drama of that game would limit the opportunity to check up on that eyesore in Morgantown. As luck would have it, the game I wanted to watch didn’t go as planned but the one that I didn’t want to watch did. Oh, the horror.
Both teams lacked basic fundamentals. Ball-handling was spectacularly bad, fast breaks were poorly executed, and passing was hilarious in the saddest of ways. And I’m talking about TCU and West Virginia. If these schools just stayed where they were, this game would have been the Big East’s problem. TCU plays like they don’t deserve to be in a major conference. I’ll admit it: The Big 12 is having a bit of a down year but will the Horned Frogs win even one conference game this season? I don’t think so. What if they were still in the Mountain West, a conference that’s looking a lot better than several power conferences? I think, no I know, that they’d go oh-fer for sure. I hope Trent Johnson can turn things around and soon because no one deserves to root for a team that’s currently 344th out of almost 350 Division I schools in team scoring. West Virginia on the other hand has been playing better basketball as of late. They came into last weekend having lost three of four to start conference play but could have easily been 3-1 instead. They stunk it up against Purdue on Saturday so with TCU next up on the docket, it was a shoe-in for Bob Huggins’ team to get a W in the left hand column. Deniz Kilicli had his best game of the calendar year and a young guard to keep an eye on is Eron Harris. Huggins has rewarded the freshman with more minutes, and as a result, he’s averaging 15.3 points per game in his last three outings.
Texas Tech 56, Iowa State 51: This was a nice, little mini-upset for Chris Walker’s bunch. ISU was 3-1 and Tech just 1-3 in conference play coming into the game. Like they did in the ultrasoft part of their schedule, the Red Raiders played relentless defense, sealing off the Cyclones’ perimeter shot while also outrebounding them by six. It was the only way they were going to pull it off and that seemed like a tall task facing a team ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring and rebounding. And let’s not forget about Josh Gray scoring 12 of his 16 points in the second half too. Think about how far this program has had to come back from. They won their one and only conference game last season in mid-February while the Red Raiders currently have two victories with another game left to play in January. Yeah it’s baby steps, but it’s forward progress nonetheless. And wasn’t this the same team that was a missed three away from upsetting the Jayhawks two weeks ago? Yes it was, in name only. One thing Charles Barkley loves to say is, “If you live by the three, you die by the three.” A 6-of-23 performance is pretty close to death, I’d say. As poorly as they played, ISU managed to take the lead twice in the second half. I don’t think Cyclone fans should be worried all that much, though. K-State will be in Ames on Saturday for a game Iowa State desperately needs for their paltry tournament resume (which also means, get ready to hear the phrase “Hilton Magic” between 30 and a million times on Saturday’s broadcast).
Let’s not talk about this day ever again.