The Bears and the Jayhawks have both been blown out in West Virginia, but it happened to Kansas more recently. Now Baylor is not exactly dominating people (following the loss to West Virginia the Bears have won four games by an average of eight points), but is doing enough defensively and on the glass to scrape by. The bet here is that Baylor loses at least two games during the remainder of Big 12 play.
Kansas’ season was going along so sweetly and smoothly, then the loss to West Virginia happened, and then came an investigation into a sexual crime that may or may not have to do with KU basketball players. Suddenly this team is having to deal with adversity. Given that Kansas’ next four games are with Kentucky, Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas State, the timing could hardly be worse.
3. West Virginia
The Mountaineers are the hardest team in the Big 12 to peg. They’ve had momentous wins over Virginia, Baylor and Kansas, but have also lost to Temple, Texas Tech and Oklahoma. What’s more, they’ve lost two of their last three games. It’s impossible to say for certain what this team will do the rest of the season.
4. Iowa State
The Cyclones are quietly cruising along toward a very solid but unspectacular season. Give Steve Prohm credit for winning in the toughest conference in America without a substantial interior presence.
5. Kansas State
K-State doesn’t have a single player who will sniff the All Big 12 first team, but it does seem to have excellent team chemistry and cohesion. This helped see the Wildcats to an impressive home win over West Virginia, but it is also true that they have lost three of their last five games.
6. Oklahoma State
The Cowboys were seemingly good as dead until finding themselves in a 19-point road win at Texas Tech. They followed that one with a solid 13-point home win over TCU. But is Oklahoma State for real, or are the last two games mere aberrations? With games upcoming against Arkansas and Oklahoma, we may not be able to answer that question at this time next week.
7. Texas Tech
Despite a gritty performance at Baylor, the Red Raiders are slumping. They’ve lost three of their last four games, and two of those losses were to teams hitherto winless in Big 12 play. What’s more, Tech’s lone victory in that stretch came at home against a TCU squad that is itself slumping. The Red Raider absolutely have to get it back together against LSU and at Texas if they are to remain in serious contention for an NCAA tourney berth.
The Frogs have now lost three in a row, and the average margin of defeat has been nine points. If there’s a more desperate team than Texas Tech in the Big 12 right now, TCU is it.
After losing five straight, the Longhorns finally got a W thanks to a desperation 3-ball at the buzzer to beat Oklahoma in Austin. This team didn’t wither away following the suspension of Tevin Mack, and indeed, blue chip freshman Jarrett Allen is now stepping up his game. The last thing everybody else in the Big 12 needs is for Texas to put it together in the second half of conference play.
The Sooners revived from a terrible season to beat Texas Tech and West Virginia (in Morgantown!), but have now dropped consecutive games to Iowa State and Texas. It is just possible that those two wins were mere flashes in the pan. Oklahoma State beware!