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Weekly War Zone: Old Man Game > New Kid on the Block

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Jevon Carter taught Trae Young a thing or two Saturday night in Morgantown.

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

What a week it was in the Big 12, as all but two teams have a conference loss through three games - and all but one have a win. West Virginia, unsurprisingly, sits atop the standings, but they are joined by 3-0 Texas Tech, and that’s unexpected. Kansas looked vulnerable early, but you can’t count out the Jayhawks, and their decade plus of hanging banners. Oklahoma has the most exciting player in the conference, possibly the country, but the Young one got taken to school by the Big 12’s elder statesman. It was another fun week of basketball in the best conference in the land, so let’s take a look back.

Big 12 Basketball Standings January 7th, 2018

Big 12 Conference W-L Overall W-L
Big 12 Conference W-L Overall W-L
#18 Texas Tech 3-0 14-1
#6 West Virginia 3-0 14-1
#7 Oklahoma 2-1 12-2
#10 Kansas 2-1 12-3
#16 TCU 1-2 13-2
Kansas State 1-2 11-4
Baylor 1-2 11-4
Oklahoma State 1-2 11-4
Texas 1-2 10-5
Iowa State 0-3 9-5

January 1, 2018

#6 West Virginia 77, Kansas State 69

West Virignia looks surprisingly vulnerable in the second half in Manhattan to open the new year, allowing an uncharacteristic 43 points in the final 20 minutes of play. The Cats didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but got to the line 25 times and forced 18 turnovers. WVU got big games off the bench from Teddy Allen and James Bolden though, and Lamont West had a very efficient offensive game for the starters. WVU held off a late surge to pick up their second win of the conference season, and one in a place that is never easy to play.

Texas 74, Iowa State 70

Still no idea what to make of Texas, who went into Hilton and escaped with an OT win Tuesday. Dylan Osetkowski was the difference maker for the Horns, as he had 25 points and nine rebounds in 42 minutes of play, mostly off of a 7-13 night from behind the arc. The Horns are very reliant on the three ball, and they hit a lot of them against the Cyclones, going 13-32 from deep. Mo Bamba had just ten points but hauled in 16 boards and rejected four shots, while Iowa State didn’t get much from anyone not named Jackson or Lard. Four of the starting five combined for 25 points while Jackson dropped 24, and the bench was non-existent outside of Lard. ISU is not the same team they have been this year, and are falling quickly behind.

January 2, 2018:

#16 TCU 81, Baylor 78 (OT)

In desperate need of a win, the Frogs traveled to a place that had not been victorious in since 2002 and stole one, defeating the Bears in overtime. Baylor’s Manu Lecomte was completely shut down by TCU’s Desmond Bane, who had a relatively quiet night on offense but more than made up for it with his disruptive D. The Frogs got a balanced attack on the road, as all five starters hit double-digits, and two bench players added 13. TCU got dominated on the boards for the first time all year though, as the Bears pulled 45 bards, including 19 on the offensive glass. Jo Lual-Acuil was a problem all night, scoring 28 points and pulling in 11 boards, seven offensive, as he nearly single-handedly gave the Bears a chance. But a late run in regulation and a big OT from Vlad gave the Frogs a huge win to even their conference record at 1-1.

#18 Texas Tech 85, #10 Kansas 73

This was the most shocking result of the first full week of league play, as the Red Raiders went into Lawrence and came out victorious, shocking the Jayhawks, who lost for the second time on their home court in oh... forever? It wasn’t a fluky victory for Chris Beard’s team, who led from tip to whistle and had a double-digit lead at the half. Five players put up 10+ for Tech, while Kansas couldn’t hit from deep - the key to their offense. Devonte’ Graham had a big game, as he is prone to do, but without much help, his team stumbled early and often. Tech’s defense and rebounding (they held a 44-29 advantage) were the difference, as they put themselves in prime position at the top of the Big 12 heap early.

January 3, 2015

#7 Oklahoma 109, Oklahoma State 89

Trae Young has all the headlines early, but the Cowboys have quietly put together an impressive season of their own. Unfortunately, Trae and Oklahoma were too much for the Pokes on their home floor, as he ignited in the second half on his way to a near triple- double: 27 points, ten assists, and nine rebounds in 33 minutes. He did have six turnovers though, as OSU was able to harass him end to end and made life difficult for the star point guard. The emergence of Brady Manek and Kam McGusty are what really make the Sooners dangerous though, as that pair combined for 43 points of their own. The Cowboys got good production off of their bench, but they allowed OU to shoot over 50% from the field and from three, as well as sent them to the line 34 times. You just can’t give this Oklahoma team that many good looks and expect to win.

January 6, 2018:

#10 Kansas 88, #16 TCU 84

Are the Frogs not quite ready for prime time? Through three Big 12 games, they have proven that they can play with anybody and everybody in the deepest conference around, but two close home losses have them behind the eight ball overall. TCU got too reliant on their jump shot down the stretch - and it let them down - especially once Bill Self went to a zone all but eliminating a very effective Vlad in the closing minutes. The Frogs have started both of their home games painfully slow, and have an 0-2 record in the Scholly to show for it. Kansas, meanwhile, reminded everyone why they are the champs, bouncing back from a home defeat to make 10 of their first 12 shots from the field, lighting it up from deep, and getting a big time performance from Mitch Lightfoot off of the bench. If the NCAA ever decides what to do with KU’s sidelined superstar, the Jayhawks could certainly continue their title run.

#7 Oklahoma 76, #6 West Virginia 89

The first must-watch game of the conference season did not disappoint, as the Sooners and Mountaineers traded blows through the first twenty minutes. Savvy veteran Jevon Carter, who has struggled offensively over the past few weeks, reminded everyone why he is one of the country’s most important players, holding Young to a 3-11 first half shooting performance and forcing him into eight turnovers. Though Young would end up with 29 points and five assists, he was just 8-22 overall and 3-12 from deep. Meanwhile, the Eers had four players in double digits, all with at least 16 points, and Carter more than held his own with 17 points, 10 assists, and seven boards. WVU asserted itself as the team to beat in 2018, and took a big step towards upending Kansas in the process.

Kansas State 58, #18 Texas Tech 74

Kansas State isn’t very good, thought they will give some teams some trouble this season, but Texas Tech is really good and not going to lose many games at home. That was the case Saturday, as the Red Raiders dominated after both teams started slowly and cruised towards and easy win in Lubbock. It was an uneven performance on offense from Tech, as only Keenan Evans and Zach Smith posted double digit efforts. Barry Brown had a big night for the Cats, but didn’t get enough help as KSU managed just 58 points and got dominated on the glass.

Texas 60, Baylor 69

Baylor got an important bounce-back win, defeating the Longhorns at home to avoid starting their conference season with an 0-3 slide. After a big game earlier in the week, Osetkowski was relatively ineffective for UT, while Baylor got another big game from big JLA and a nice effort for Lecomte, who had a much better performance with 17 points and four assists against UT - and most importantly, zero turnovers. The biggest statistical difference of the night came at the free throw line, where Texas wasjust 4-5 while the Bears were 16-21.

Iowa State 87, Oklahoma State 96

OSU rebounded from their Bedlam loss, sending the Cyclones to 0-3 in Big 12 play. Jeffrey Carroll had a big night for the Cowboys, dropping 24 points and securing eight rebounds to lead the Pokes. OSU had four players in double digits and got a respectable 20 points off of their bench, as they out-rebounded the Clones 44-42 and had two fewer turnovers. It was an ugly game, as neither team shot very well, but at the end, Iowa State was 0-3 in league play despite a heroic 30 point effort from Donovan Jackson.