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Around the Big 12 in Basketball: A Series of Unfortunate Events

It’s been rough going for TCU in conference play.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Monday night was not good, and in fact actually bad. The Frogs lost 68-61 at Big 12 bottom-feeders Oklahoma State, continuing a three-game skid that’s left TCU as a potential bubble team or worse for the NCAA Tournament.

Y’all ever read those Lemony Snicket books when you were kids? The ones that taught you that everything was mostly trash, and that despite your best efforts a weird dude named Olaf was going to fool adults with disguises? Please allow me to make one pun based on that series.

clears throat

We knew the Big 12 was going to be a Carnivorous Carnival. But after Monday night, I’m ready to jump out a Wide Window into Lake Lachrymose!

I hope that was worth it. Now — to the week that was in the Big 12. We’re going by conference standing order.

Kansas State (20-6, 10-3 Big 12): Dean Wade’s injury was unfortunate. The senior is enjoyable to watch and a major reason why the Wildcats are atop the conference.

But Barry Brown is also a major reason, and he dropped 21 on West Virginia in a breezy 65-51 win Monday. A loss at home against Iowa State Saturday hurts, but the Wildcats are 5-1 in their last six conference games, including a win over Texas last Tuesday. Wade started in KSU’s game against West Virginia, and his eventual return to full strength will only make this team even more dangerous in the conference and national tournaments.

Kansas State is at home against Oklahoma State Saturday before a rematch against Kansas on the road Monday. I’d say the OSU game should be an easy win, but, you know.

Texas Tech (21-5, 9-4 Big 12): Tech beat Oklahoma State by 28 and Baylor by 27 last week. Sophomore Jarret Culver led the Red Raiders in scoring in both games, and against Baylor, Tech forced 19 turnovers while committing only nine.

Tech has the week off before playing Kansas at home Saturday in a game that could end up being pivotal in the conference title race. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. — check your local listings. (It’s on ESPN. I just like saying that.)

Kansas (20-6, 9-4 Big 12): It is with a heavy heart that I announce that the Jayhawks are at it again. After losing a staggering three of five conference games, Kansas has righted the ship and has won three in a row, including a clinical 78-53 execution of West Virginia last Saturday.

That noise you hear is the Death Star powering up for Kansas’ game with Texas Tech this Saturday. The Jayhawks just have to make sure they have enough in the tank for their game against Kansas State Monday. If KU is to continue their run of Big 12 titles, the Jayhawks pretty much have to go 2-0 in their next two games.

Iowa State (19-6, 8-4 Big 12): The Cyclones are a half-game out of second place and fully in the mix. The win over Kansas State Saturday was huge, and gave Iowa State a puncher’s chance at winning the conference title.

The Cyclones have a middling schedule coming up, with games against Baylor tonight, TCU Saturday and Oklahoma Monday. Winning all three of those is a must.

Also, Marial Shayok had 24 points and seven rebounds against TCU two Saturdays ago, and followed that with 13 points and 13 boards against KSU. Is that good? It seems good.

Baylor (16-9, 7-5 Big 12): As Makai Mason goes, so go the Bears, and in two of the last three games, Mason hasn’t gone at all. The senior has missed action with a knee injury, and Baylor lost to Kansas State and Texas Tech in both games he’s been out. Those are good teams, so it’s no guarantee Mason could’ve led Baylor to victory. But having him back in the lineup tonight against Iowa State — he’s a game-time decision, per Jon Rothstein — would be huge for the Bears.

Baylor gets West Virginia at home Saturday this week as well.

Texas (15-11, 7-6 Big 12): Texas is a milquetoast team this year, and the Longhorns had a milquetoast week. They lost to conference leaders Kansas State — predictable — and beat Oklahoma State — predictable.

They have one game this week, at Oklahoma Saturday. I really don’t have anything more to add about the Longhorns, and a journalism professor once told me “less is more,” so let’s move on. (I have not followed that man’s advice in several years, if you couldn’t tell.)

TCU (17-9, 5-8 Big 12): Ugh. The Horned Frogs are depleted by injuries and transfers and ran into a hot-shooting Oklahoma State team Monday, but that doesn’t excuse a loss to the Cowboys. Losing to Oklahoma last Saturday wasn’t exactly great, either. And TCU has three ranked opponents coming up in its next four games, including a contest Saturday at home against Iowa State.

This is not how the season was supposed to go. Much of that is due to factors outside anyone’s control. That doesn’t mean it hurts any less!

Oklahoma (16-10, 4-9 Big 12): The Sooners hopped on the “beat TCU” train last week in their only game since the last edition of this column. Oklahoma won’t play again until Saturday, when the Sooners will host Texas, and then Monday at Iowa State.

I wrote mean things about Oklahoma last week. I have learned my lesson.

Oklahoma State (10-16, 3-10 Big 12): Thomas Dziagwa scored 23 points in back-to-back games last week. That wasn’t enough to beat Texas, but it was enough to beat TCU.

The schedule gets awfully unfriendly for the Cowboys in the next three games — at Kansas State Saturday, at Texas Tech Wednesday and at home for Kansas on March 2. Luckily, they have some momentum from, uh, beating the Frogs.

West Virginia (10-16, 2-11 Big 12): The Mountaineers have lost four straight and haven’t lost a game by fewer than 10 points since an 85-77 defeat at the hands of Oklahoma State on Jan. 12. In that time, they’ve inexplicably beat Kansas and knocked off Oklahoma, but those have been the only bright spots.

WVU plays Baylor on the road Saturday and follows that up with a game against TCU at home next Tuesday.