TCU had a chance to really shake up the Big 12 standings Monday night. Instead, the Frogs laid enough bricks from the free throw line to finish renovating the Greek life buildings on campus.
So we march on, seemingly resigned to a mid-table finish, as Kansas can once again set its sights on making a late run and stealing a Big 12 title out from everyone’s noses. The more things change, the more they stay the same, et cetera, ad nauseam.
Whatever. To the standings! We’ll switch it up from our normal alphabetical order and instead look at the teams in their current order.
Kansas State (18-5, 8-2 Big 12): The Wildcats won both games on their schedule last week, including a rollicking 74-67 win at home over Kansas that solidified KSU’s spot atop the conference standings. Kansas State followed that up by beating Baylor on the road by seven. The Wildcats will play Texas on the road, Iowa State at home and West Virginia away this week.
I have no jokes here — I’m honestly impressed that Kansas State hasn’t regressed after its Elite Eight run last season. The Wildcats can beat anyone on any given night, and there’s a reason they’re leading the Big 12 right now.
Must be nice!
Kansas (19-6, 8-4 Big 12): Yeah, yeah, we know, no need to dwell on it. The Jayhawks also picked up a win over Oklahoma State last week, for the record.
Kansas will play West Virginia at home Saturday — that game should be a walk in the park, although WVU beat the Jayhawks earlier this year. KU then has a week off before massive games at Texas Tech and at home against Kansas State.
Texas Tech (19-5, 7-4 Big 12): Tech took care of business in its lone game since the most recent edition of this column. The Red Raiders beat Oklahoma on the road, 66-54, and have a manageable game Wednesday at Oklahoma State before gearing up for a home game against Baylor Saturday.
Tech is a good team. I’m not sure how the Red Raiders are ranked No. 15 in the country, because I don’t think they’re that good, but clearly AP voters know something I don’t. (Note: I am ready and willing to fill out a ballot, AP, all you gotta do is ask.)
Iowa State (18-6, 7-4 Big 12): The Cyclones played just one game in the last seven days, which they lost at home to TCU. Losing at home in the Big 12 is a grave disaster; losing to TCU, which admittedly has a crippling inability to play on the road, is an even worse sign.
Iowa State has just one game this week, as well, at Kansas State on Saturday. They Cyclones need to win that game if they want to have any sort of prayer at making a run at a regular season title.
Baylor (16-8, 7-4 Big 12): Come on, Baylor. I was saying nice things about you in the last edition, and then you go and lose to Texas and Kansas State in back to back games. Only a win over Oklahoma salvaged what was a pretty awful week for the Bears.
(editor’s note: nice job on the reverse jinx, Grant!)
Baylor’s not out of the Big 12 title race yet, although it might be after this week. The Bears have back-to-back games on the road against Texas Tech (Saturday) and Iowa State (next Tuesday). Good luck with that, y’all.
Texas (14-10, 6-5 Big 12): The Longhorns earned a big win Wednesday against Baylor before dispatching West Virginia with ease on Saturday. Texas might not make the NCAA Tournament, and simultaneously might finish in the top half of the conference. Your guess is as good as mine.
The Longhorns host Kansas State tonight and have another home game against Oklahoma State Saturday.
TCU (17-7, 5-6 Big 12): Everything was going right for TCU, until it wasn’t. The Frogs survived a scare against Oklahoma State Wednesday before marching into Ames and knocking off the Cyclones. The campus was jacked up for Big Monday against Kansas, TCU got off to a quick 7-0 lead, and for moment it seemed like the Jamie Dixon Era was about to reach its apex. Then, you know, overtime happened and all that.
The Frogs have four games in a row that are must-wins, starting with a home game against Oklahoma Saturday and a road contest at Oklahoma State Monday. Games against Iowa State and West Virginia follow. It’s put up or shut up time.
Oklahoma (15-10, 3-9 Big 12): As the kids say — yikes!
Oklahoma has lost five straight games, including contests against Texas Tech and Baylor in the last week. The Sooners are collapsing, and a road game against TCU won’t make things easier on Saturday. Luckily, they’ll have another whole week to regroup before playing Texas later this month.
Trae Young dragging this team to the tournament last year looks even more amazing in hindsight.
Oklahoma State (9-14, 2-8 Big 12): Poor Oklahoma State. The Cowboys can still compete with most teams, as evidenced by their two-point loss at TCU. But the consistency and the finishing just isn’t there, and OSU hasn’t won a conference game since beating West Virginia on Jan. 12.
This week, the Cowboys have to play Texas Tech at home Wednesday, Texas away Saturday and TCU in Stillwater on Monday. It’s not looking good.
West Virginia (10-14, 2-9 Big 12): In the past seven days, the Mountaineers have lost two games by a combined 55 points and dismissed two starters in Esa Ahmad and Wes Harris for rule violations. Bob Huggins needs a nap, is what I’m saying.
And now West Virginia plays Kansas on the road and Kansas State at home this week, to add insult to injury. Sending thoughts to the good people of Morgantown.