Five Big 12 Feast Week Storylines to Watch

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 20th, 2017

Feast Week is here, and with it comes the first chance for many Big 12 teams to see how they stack up against legitimate competition. The storylines around the league haven’t evolved significantly over the season’s first two weeks, but in case you need a primer, here’s a quick breakdown on what to watch for as you gorge yourself on college hoops and turkey this week.

Baylor will need Jo Lual-Acuil’s intensity this week in Kansas City. (Tom Pennington/Getty)

  1. Will Baylor assert its will on the offensive glass against Wisconsin? The Bears were the third-best team in college basketball at rebounding their own misses last season and are off to a strong start again this year — logging an offensive rebounding rate of 41.3 percent through their first three wins. Wisconsin, however, is a different animal than the likes of Central Arkansas, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Alcorn State, rebounding 83.5 percent of its opponents’ tries. Baylor’s offense has been very efficient in the first week-plus, but the Bears’ big men have effectively gone unchallenged inside. Ethan Happ and Andy Van Vliet bring an element of size that Baylor has yet to face, so outlasting the Badgers on the glass will be vital in this rematch from the 2014 Sweet Sixteen.
  2. How will Matt Coleman fare in facilitating Texas’ offense? The freshman point guard has brought some much-needed stability to Texas’ backcourt, dishing out 10 assists against just one turnover over 74 minutes across the Longhorns’ first three games. Still, Shaka Smart’s club ranks among the bottom 25 schools nationally in assists per field goal. Coleman’s distributing ability wasn’t needed in Saturday’s blowout win over Lipscomb, but it’s going to be a different story in Portland this week when the Longhorns face Butler and potentially Duke.
  3. The PK80 will be Trae Young’s Coming-Out Party. There are too many good teams in this event for Young to be the biggest story of the bunch, but he’ll be among them if Oklahoma has a good week. While the freshman hasn’t been immune to mistakes, he’s been every bit as good as advertised in leading the Sooners in scoring and tallying 23 assists over two games. By contrast, there are seven Division-I teams who have played at least two games without dishing out as many assists as a unit as Young has on his own. This week’s match-ups pose some intriguing opportunities for Young on the national stage as the Sooners will face Arkansas and potentially North Carolina.
  4. West Virginia looks to repair its NCAA Tournament resume in Florida. After getting blown out by Texas A&M in the Armed Forces Classic on opening night, the Mountaineers took their frustrations out on their next opponents, American and Morgan State, pounding both by an average of 48.5 points per game. The Advocare Invitational doesn’t feature any certain NCAA Tournament teams in this year’s field, but it does include a handful of teams with legitimate Big Dance aspirations. This week in Orlando should determine whether Bob Huggins’ team is back on track.
  5. Will Kansas State capitalize on the opportunity to capture some notable non-league wins? Last year, Kansas State received an at-large bid by the slimmest of margins after failing to notch a single notable win in non-conference play. With a similar slate on tap this year but without the services of Wesley Iwundu or D.J. Johnson, lightning may not strike twice for Bruce Weber‘s team. Finishing in the top half of the Big 12 standings will be a challenge for the Wildcats, but wins over Arizona State and potentially Xavier in Vegas this week could pay dividends come Selection Sunday.
Brian Goodman (948 Posts)

Brian Goodman a Big 12 microsite writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BSGoodman.


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