It is Friday evening and what better way to spend it than looking back on the previous week of games in the craziest conference in the land? Not only is the Big 12 the top conference in terms of RPI, it is also the home to seven teams projected to make the NCAA Tournament, according to CBS's Jerry Palm. Could there be a better time to be a Big 12 Basketball fan who enjoys chaos?
My intention for this post is to give equal space to both the Men's and Women's teams, but the lack of media coverage for the Women's games compared to the Men's games may end up with the Men's teams receiving more space. This is the first of what I hope will become a weekly piece, so we shall see if I am successful in my attempt at equal coverage. As always, if you have any suggestions, please feel free to post them in the comments below.
The format for this will be as follows:
Games and Scores
Short Comment Section - Length dependent on how "big" the game was and if I actually saw it or not.
This was a rough week for the Bears. Despite a record-setting student crowd of over 2,000 students and a halftime lead of 30-24, the Bears came out of the locker room looking sluggish, letting OU go on a 16-0 run to begin the second half. Personally, I believe the silent crowd was partially to blame. A little backstory for those who were unaware: the football team was recognized for their Big 12 Championship at halftime and, during their presentation, instructed the fans to cheer in accordance with football etiquette; that is, silent on offense and loud on defense. To be fair to the fans, they did exactly as instructed. However, the team feeds off the crowd's energy, and it was readily apparent during the second half. Baylor made a furious comeback in the final minute, but three missed free throws and a blown-up final play led to Baylor falling in a game they should have won (at least on paper).
On Monday, the Bears took to the court at historic Allen Fieldhouse in their highlighter uniforms in front of 16,300 fans. Nobody really expected Baylor to win this one; winning at the Phog is nigh-impossible for many a team, much less against a better Kansas team. Still, Baylor held on in this game, entering halftime only down 2. Then the second half happened. Baylor shot .355 from the floor, .294 from three, and missed seven free throws. For comparison, Kansas went .550, .286, and .895. Free throws. Free throws. Free throws. That has been the story of these two games. I'm not going to talk about that Sportscenter Top 10 play because we all know what really happened.
If you take away the 21-for-21 free throw game against TCU, Baylor is shooting 54.1% from the charity stripe during conference play.
If you take away the 21-for-21 free throw game against TCU, Baylor is shooting 54.1% from the charity stripe during conference play.— Shehan Jeyarajah (@ShehanJeyarajah) January 22, 2014
Iowa State only had one game this week, a loss at Texas 86-76. The game was tied at 36 at halftime and it was not until ten minutes into the second half that Texas began to pull away. Iowa State managed to pull within four at one point, but Texas went 6-8 on free throws to put the game to rest.
All roads lead through Lawrence. Kansas is the front-runner for yet another Big 12 title and with good reason; this team is undefeated in conference play and has an average margin of victory of 5.2 points. Kansas had two home games this past week, a 80-78 upset victory over Oklahoma State and that one other game.
You wouldn't think it by the final score, but Kansas actually led this one by 17 at halftime, 47-30. Kansas held a double-digit lead through most of the second half until Marcus Smart remembered he was good at basketball. A three by Phil Forte with six seconds left brought OSU within one, but a clutch free throw by Kansas' Frank Mason made up for two missed FTs earlier and put the game out of reach for the Pokes. This was probably the most exciting game I did not watch.
Kansas State continued their strong conference start his week with a decisive home victory over West Virginia, 78-56. The Wildcats then traveled to Austin on Tuesday to face the Longhorns. The game was close the entire time, neither team held a double-digit lead at any point in the game. This game is a strong candidate to overthrow KU-OSU as the best game I didn't watch. A jumper from Shane Southwell with five seconds left put Kansas State even with the Horns. The game looked to be heading into overtime when Texas' Jonathan Holmes took a quick inbound pass and sunk the three as time expired. Final score: Texas 67-64 Kansas State.
The Sooners went on the road and took care of business against Baylor. They returned home on Wednesday to face the winless-in-conference TCU Horned Frogs in a game that would end up being a lot closer than the final score indicated. TCU actually held on until the final minutes in this game. With 2:52 to go, Oklahoma was only up 70-67. After OU made a layup and two free throws and TCU missed the equivalent, the score was 74-67 with 1:22 left. Fifty seconds later Ryan Spangler decided he had enough of the pesky Frogs nailed a three with 33 seconds left to put the Sooners up ten; something even the Big 12 refs couldn't overcome:
Even we can't harness the kind of voodoo needed to help TCU beat a ranked team on the road.
Even we can't harness the kind of voodoo needed to help TCU beat a ranked team on the road.— Big 12 Refs (@Big12Refs) January 23, 2014
OSU's only game this last week was the loss at Kansas.
The Horned Frogs remain winless in conference after they fall at home to Texas Tech 49-60 and on the road at Oklahoma. TCU surprisingly lead at the half in the Tech game, 24-23. This was easily the ugliest game of the week, with Tech shooting .378 from the floor and .200 from three; TCU went .204 and .143. As bad as the shooting was in this game, the free throw shooting was actually pretty good. Tech made 24-31 and TCU sank 26-31. Baylor should take note.
Texas is on fire heading into their match-up tomorrow with Baylor with two home victories over Iowa State and Kansas State in the past week.
Texas Tech beat TCU in Fort Worth on Saturday and went on the road again on Tuesday to face West Virginia. In accordance with the trend this week, this game was close at halftime, followed by a quick start to the second half by one team (WVU) who would hold on to win (87-81).
West Virginia got dominated on the road in Manhattan, but rebounded to beat Tech at home.
Honestly, I did not expect it to take me so long to get to this point, so I'm just going to post scores and if y'all want a summary of a particular game, request it in the comments and I'll put something in here.
Finally, David Ubben included me in his Mailbag!
Here's the question:
And the answer:
David Ubben: Prepare for anarchy, friend. The balance in the Big 12 has already begat plenty of unpredictable results. KU's not going to lose at home to Tech or TCU, but anything can happen in pretty much any other game this season. Kansas is such a heavy favorite to win the league title right now, but behind them, teams 2-7 could finish in just about any order. Baylor will climb out of its 1-4 hole, and WVU will slide as the schedule toughens up. (The Mountaineers are 3-3 but all three wins came against TCU or Texas Tech).
It's going to be fun to watch over the next couple months.