Big 12 Weekend Review

Posted by Brian Goodman on February 12th, 2018

The Big 12 had quite the shakeup over the weekend as Kansas‘ uncompetitive loss to Baylor and Texas Tech‘s easy road win over Kansas State gave the Red Raiders sole possession of first place with just three weeks to go in the regular season. Before the Jayhawk faithful hit the panic button, it’s worth remembering that Kansas has overcome similar deficits more than a few times over the course of its 13-year Big 12 regular season title streak (although not since 2013). This thing is far from over, but between the Jayhawks’ current struggles and the high stakes of breaking UCLA’s record of consecutive conference championships, there’s more intrigue down the stretch than there has been in several years.

The Red Raiders have a one-game lead on Kansas, but can they succeed where others have failed and end the Jayhawks’ conference title streak? (Jim Cowsert/USA Today)

  1. A look at Texas Tech and Kansas’ remaining schedules reveals that the Red Raiders have an edge for a couple reasons. The biggest is that they have already won at Allen Fieldhouse, meaning their remaining head-to-head match-up will take place in Lubbock. Additionally, Chris Beard‘s team is unbeaten against their other five opponents, while Kansas is just 3-2 against its remaining foes. While those facts are certainly not predictive of how the rest of the race will go, it should make Texas Tech fans feel fairly good about their chances, though a Kansas comeback is always something to keep in mind as long as Bill Self is patrolling the sideline.
  2.  Lost in the shuffle of what Saturday’s result in Waco did to the top of the standings is that the Bears’ win was absolutely huge for their NCAA Tournament resume. Baylor now has two wins over Quadrant 1 opponents with a good chance to notch a third when it tips off against Texas tonight. After struggling to find their three-point stroke as opponents routinely found theirs, the script has flipped with the Bears shooting 43 percent from distance over their last four games and opponents connecting on just 34 percent of their tries. Players like Manu Lecomte and Nuni Omot will have to keep making big shots in order for Baylor to go dancing, but capturing a bid is a significantly stronger possibility for Scott Drew‘s team today than it was two weeks ago.
  3. Fully understanding that Sunday’s reveal of the top 16 seeds wasn’t an exercise in projection, it’s nevertheless strange that the NCAA Tournament selection committee found Oklahoma worthy of a top-four seed despite the Sooners failing to win away from Norman in any game since December 30. They have their fair share of quality wins too, of course, but they have also shouldered losses to a handful of shaky at-large candidates like Kansas State and Texas. Oklahoma’s three remaining road games are against Texas Tech, Kansas and Baylor, and their remaining home games are against Texas, Kansas State and Iowa State, so there isn’t a ton of seeding upside ahead unless the Sooners can quickly figure out a way to solve their road woes.
Brian Goodman (966 Posts)

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

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