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Weekend War Zone: Home Teams Hold Serve

It was a really bad week to be on the road in the Big 12.

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NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Only one road team came away from the week victorious, as another wild and wacky Big 12 run had ranked teams falling all over the place. Oklahoma and Texas Tech had an especially rough go of things, going 0-2 in their games, while Kansas State made the biggest statements in knocking off the Sooners and Horned Frogs in Manhattan. Kansas is right back where they were expected to be, on top, and with the Billy Preston situation finally resolved, they seem to have regained their focus - even knowing they’ll be playing without him. The Big 12 continues to be the best, the worst, the most competitive, and the most horrifying conference in College Basketball. Let’s look back at another crazy week.

Big 12 Standings January 21, 2018

Team Big 12 Record Pct Home Away Neutral Streak Overall Record Pct Home Away Neutral Streak
Team Big 12 Record Pct Home Away Neutral Streak Overall Record Pct Home Away Neutral Streak
Kansas 6-1 0.857 3-1 3-0 0-0 W5 16-3 0.842 9-2 4-0 3-1 W5
West Virginia 5-2 0.714 3-1 2-1 0-0 W1 16-3 0.842 10-1 3-1 3-1 W1
Texas Tech 4-3 0.571 3-0 1-3 0-0 L2 15-4 0.789 12-0 1-3 2-1 L2
Oklahoma 4-3 0.571 3-0 1-3 0-0 L2 14-4 0.778 9-0 2-3 3-1 L2
Kansas State 4-3 0.571 3-1 1-2 0-0 W2 14-5 0.737 10-1 2-2 2-2 W2
Oklahoma State 3-4 0.429 3-1 0-3 0-0 W1 13-6 0.684 11-2 0-3 2-1 W1
Texas 3-4 0.429 2-1 1-3 0-0 L1 12-7 0.632 8-2 2-3 2-2 L1
TCU 2-5 0.286 1-2 1-3 0-0 L1 14-5 0.737 10-2 1-3 3-0 L1
Baylor 2-5 0.286 2-1 0-4 0-0 L1 12-7 0.632 9-2 0-5 3-0 L1
Iowa State 2-5 0.286 2-2 0-3 0-0 W1 11-7 0.611 7-3 1-4 3-0 W1

Monday:

#10 Kansas 71, #6 West Virginia 66

WVU played their first of two consecutive Big Monday games, and were in control on their home floor against the Jayhawks until the waning moments. But a bad case of hero ball befell Jevon Carter, who took a trio of ill-advised treys in the waning moments to help seal his team’s fate against Kansas. Give credit to KU though, who fought back from a big deficit in a hostile environment - and came out with a win that put them firmly in the drivers seat for the conference title. Death, taxes, and dammit, a KU Basketball Title.

Oklahoma State 60, Baylor 76

What is Baylor. No one knows. But they were impressive in downing an Oklahoma State team that has been a tough out throughout most of the season. As the Bears get healthy, they are becoming dangerous, and could very well play themselves back into a tournament seed. Manu Lecomte needed a big game in the worst of ways, and he came through with a 30 point performance, including 25 after the half. But Mark Vital stole the show with 10 boards and eight assists, both team highs. Meanwhile, the Pokes starting five managed just 20 points, a sure recipe for disaster.

Tuesday:

#4 Oklahoma 69, Kansas State 87

In the most shocking score of the week, the Wildcats absolutely obliterated the Sooners in the Octagon of Doom, ‘holding’ Trae Young to just 20 points while forcing him into a ridiculous 12 turnovers. Barry Brown (24/2/5) and Dean Wade (21/7/7) were outstanding against Oklahoma, and Xavier Sneed and Cartier Diarra both pitched in with double digit performances of their own. But let’s talk about Trae Young for a bit; the freshman phenom is unquestionably one of the best scorers in the country, but it might be time to slow the roll on all the slobbering. Young is unique - he has incredible quickness, great vision for a freshman, and is fearless when it comes to shooting from anywhere. But he’s connecting on less than 50% of his field goals (.453) and is averaging over 5.2 turnovers per game on the season, including 7.5 per in conference play. He leads the country in assists with 9.8 per contest, but is 169th in assist to turnover ratio. He comes in third in ESPN’s Player Efficiency Ratings (PER), but no other player in the top 100 comes anywhere close to his 34.1 usage rate. All this boils down to: Trae Young is a special scorer, an elite scorer even, but does it with an extremely high volume of shots on a team that seems content to let him. Anyone in the country would welcome him on their team, but the long term viability of his style is starting to be questioned, and teams are figuring out how to slow him down enough to win against him. Young leads the Big 12 in field goal attempts, three point field goal attempts, free throws, assists, and turnovers. He also leads the country in the last category. Young has a long way to go to become a complete player, but here’s hoping he continues the work in the NBA ;).

Wednesday:

Iowa State 73, #24 TCU 96

Shortly after hearing their star point guard was out for the season, the Frogs responded with their most complete performance of the season. TCU got a career night from Alex Robinson, who dropped 17 dimes and was helped by a hot-shooting squad that connected on 60% of their attempts. Four Frogs finished in double digits including Vlad’s game high 26, and Kenny Hustle dropped another double double. TCU’s defense was solid as they overwhelmed the Cyclones on both ends of the floor.

#8 Texas Tech 58, Texas 67

The Red Raiders have stumbled over the last week, and it started on the road in Austin. Kerwin Roach returned to the lineup for Texas and made an immediate impact, going for 20 off the bench and adding five rebounds. Mo Bamba added a double double, and the Horns’ defense forced the Red Raiders into 38% shooting. Four Tech players dropped double digits, but they didn’t get much out of the rest of the lineup, as six other players combined for just five points.

Saturday:

#24 TCU 68, Kansas State 73

Another game, another heartbreaking loss for the Horned Frogs. TCU felt the loss of Jaylen Fisher as the offense struggled to get going early, and the Frogs found themselves in another double digit first half hole. Kansas State got a great performance out of Makol Mawien, who had a career day (something everyone seems to do against TCU), as well as Dean Wade (20) and Barry Brown (15). Kenrich Williams had a double double, but the Frogs shot just 43% and connected on only 8-26 attempts from long range - including several down the stretch when they had a shot to tie things back up. The Frogs will be in real trouble with a loss Monday night to WVU, while Kansas State climbs above .500 in conference play.

#4 Oklahoma 81, Oklahoma State 83

Trae Young: 48 points. Also Trae Young: 39 shots. Oklahoma State had the recipe for success in an entertaining, back and forth affair that ended with a miss by the freshman after the Cowboys’ Jeffrey Carroll missed a free throw with 7.4 remaining and a two point lead. OSU got out to a big lead early, but OU kept climbing back in it, though they didn’t have enough at the end to get over the hump. The story, of course, was all about Young, but in the big picture, the Sooners have lost two straight to unranked opponents while the Cowboys have a signature win that could benefit them come March.

Texas 51, #6 West Virginia 86

After the Eers choked away a win against Kansas, it was good to see them get back on track and destroy a Texas team that has been playing with a ton of heart, but doesn’t have the talent to compete with the top teams in the conference. The Horns were without a double digit scorer on the day, got out-rebounded 45-29, and got just 50 shots off despite having just 15 turnovers. Meanwhile, WVU was exceptional on both ends of the floor, shooting over 50% from three and having four players with 10+ points, including a 22 point effort from Jevon Carter - who also had eight assists. WVU put themselves right back in the thick of the Big 12 race, but will need some help - and a win at the Phogg later this season.

#8 Texas Tech 52, Iowa State 70

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Losing to Texas on the road was disappointing, but the Red Raiders were throttled by Iowa State in the same week, the team at the bottom of the standings. Only Zach Smith got into double-digits in the scoring department with ten, and while all but two players scored for Chris Beard’s team, they did so on just 33.9% shooting from the floor including a 6-26 effort from deep. ISU wasn’t much better, but hit 8-21 threes, and controlled the tempo of the game from start to finish. The Red Raiders will certainly fall out of the top ten after losing to two unranked foes, but are in good shape overall, assuming they get back on track this week against Oklahoma State at home.

Baylor 67, #10 Kansas 70

A shockingly close game, KU didn’t pull away until the waning moments, and judging by Baylor twitter, with a little help from the men in stripes. The Bears went punch for punch with the Jayhawks in Lawrence, despite shooting 40% from the field and 20% from three. Jo Lual-Acuil had a double double (14 & 12) and Lecomte went for 10 points, but it was Malik Newman’s big night that made the difference - 24 points on 7-11 shooting including a 3-4 night from three. KU shot 34 free throws to Baylor’s 21, including Newman’s 7-7 outing, and Devonte’ Graham added 15/8/7 for the ‘Hawks. KU will likely be the conference’s highest ranked team come Monday. Sigh.