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Around the Big 12 in Basketball: Raiders of the Lost Jayhawk

It’s looking like a three-horse race for the Big 12 title, but can Kansas keep up?

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, all. Texas Tech beat a Kansas team ranked No. 12 at the time 91-62 in a game of men’s basketball. That is a thing that actually happened, and not a fever dream from a Lubbock townie on a four-day bender.

And then, of course, Kansas turned around beat a conference-leading Kansas State team two days later, because nothing matters and the future is a random game of chance.

To the standings!

Kansas State (21-7, 11-4 Big 12): The Wildcats almost had it — a win over Kansas Monday night would’ve given them a one-game lead over Texas Tech with three games left to play, and KSU has an easy schedule left. But Kansas State scored just 49 points in the loss to the Jayhawks, and now to win an outright title the Wildcats will have to hope Texas Tech drops one of its last four games.

The Wildcats play Baylor Saturday at home and TCU next Monday on the road.

Texas Tech (22-5, 10-4 Big 12): I can’t say enough nice things about what Tech did to Kansas last weekend. That was a demolition, an ambush, an evisceration, a — sorry, I’ll put down the thesaurus. And now the Red Raiders can clinch at least a share of the Big 12 title if they win out.

Tech plays Oklahoma State Wednesday night at home, and will play TCU on the road Saturday.

Kansas (21-7, 10-5 Big 12): Man, I don’t even know anymore. I still think Kansas is the Big 12’s best hope at a national title, but at the same time, the Jayhawks probably won’t win their umpteenth consecutive regular season conference title. They gave up 91 points to Texas Tech and 49 points to Kansas State in back to back games. Inconsistency will most likely doom them come March. But when they’re on, the Jayhawks are as good as any team in the country.

In summation: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The Jayhawks have a should-win game at Oklahoma State Saturday.

Baylor (18-9, 9-5 Big 12): Mathematically, we can’t count the Bears out of the Big 12 title race. Baylor beat Iowa State on the road last week and scraped past West Virginia at home, and now the Bears are just 1.5 games behind Kansas State.

But Baylor still has to play both Kansas State and Kansas, and both games are on the road, which is a brutally unfair situation for the Bears that I take great delight in. That Kansas State game comes Saturday, and the Bears will also play Texas Wednesday at home.

Iowa State (20-8, 9-6 Big 12): Yikes! Iowa State lost games at home to Baylor and on the road to TCU last week, sending the Cyclones tumbling down the conference standings. Only a win against Oklahoma Monday stopped the bleeding temporarily, but this was a terrible week for ISU. If the ‘Clones had won their games against Baylor and TCU, they’d be tied with Kansas State at the top of the conference — but then again, if a frog had wings, it wouldn’t bump its rear end on the ground so often.

Iowa State plays Texas on the road Saturday.

Texas (15-12, 7-7 Big 12): The Longhorns have been playing without Kermit Roach, who was suspended from the team for the third time in his career early last week. Roach is their leading scorer, and his absence played a role in Texas’ two-point loss to Oklahoma Saturday.

There are reports Roach could return, but it’ll have to be quick if Texas wants to finish .500 in conference — and the schedule isn’t easy. The Longhorns play at Baylor Wednesday, at home against Iowa State Saturday and at Texas Tech Monday.

TCU (18-9, 6-8 Big 12): The win over Iowa State Saturday was massive for the Frogs, who now have a clear task at hand ahead of them. TCU has to win three of its final four games to finish .500 in the Big 12 and likely secure a bid to the NCAA Tournament. That starts tonight against West Virginia at 6 p.m.

After that, well, it gets a bit hazy. TCU plays Texas Tech Saturday and Kansas State Monday. Both games are at home, but still, winning one of those two games is a stiff challenge. The Frogs end the season at Texas on Sat., March 9. That game will be absolutely crucial.

Oklahoma (17-11, 5-10 Big 12): Congratulations are in order, as the Sooners beat Texas 69-67 Saturday. That victory was short-lived, as Iowa State beat OU by 17 on Monday night, but still — good for you, Oklahoma!

OU will play West Virginia this Saturday, which I would say would be a great opportunity for the Sooners to begin a nice end-of-season run to carry momentum into next year. Except Oklahoma plays Kansas and Kansas State in their final two games of the season, so forget that.

Oklahoma State (10-17, 3-11 Big 12): Just one game after beating TCU, Oklahoma State mustered just 46 points in a dismal loss at Kansas State Saturday. There will be plenty of opportunities for dismal situations in the next two games — the Cowboys play Texas Tech Wednesday and Kansas Saturday.

West Virginia: (10-17, 2-12 Big 12): The Mountaineers are on a five-game losing skid. Bob Huggins is looking forward to hanging up his quarter-zip-rain-jacket-pullover-hybrid and resetting in the offseason. First, though, WVU will host TCU Wednesday and travel to Oklahoma Saturday.

West Virginia and Oklahoma State will have a rare opportunity to play a true Toilet Bowl in the final game of the regular season against each other. That game takes place at Oklahoma State on March 9, and will be appointment viewing.