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NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Baylor

Big 12 Men’s Basketball Week 9 Recap and Power Rankings

Conference Play is not for the faint of heart

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

I must confess, it’s not nearly as much fun to write these things when Baylor is struggling and I have to move them down in the rankings. Still, I’m not a quitter and I’ll keep going for at least a while longer. If you wanna see last week’s post, you can find it here.

Recap

Overview: Home teams amazingly went 1-9 this week. 6 of the 10 games were either decided by fewer than 5 points or in overtime. Ranked teams went 4-2 against unranked teams.

My Team of the Week: Kansas State. The Wildcats picked up a pair of wins against ranked teams on the road. They are having their best start to a season in over a decade and had their most explosive offensive game ever.

My Player of the Week: Markquis Nowell, Kansas State. Nowell led his team to a historically good week behind numbers rivaling those put up by NBA stars like Steph Curry and Trae Young. He had 68 points, 4 rebounds, 23 assists, and 3 steals in his 2 games this week on 55/59/96 splits.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers 67-60

By the Numbers

  • The Cowboys outscored WVU 34-14 in the paint
  • OSU held the Mountaineers to 19/52 (36.5%) from the field
  • The Cowboys closed the game on a 13-3 run over the final 5+ minutes

Standouts

Avery Anderson III (OSU): 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists in 22 minutes on 6/10 (60.0%) FG, 0/2 (0.0%) 3P, and 1/1 (100.0%) FT

Kalib Boone (OSU): 10 points and 6 rebounds in 27 minutes on 5/6 (83.3%) FG

Tre Mitchell (WVU): 16 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in 40 minutes on 5/12 (41.7%) FG, 2/4 (50.0%) 3P, and 4/4 (100.0%) FT

Erik Stevenson (WVU): 17 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals in 25 minutes on 7/12 (58.3%) FG and 3/7 (42.9%) 3P

Takeaways

  1. Moussa Cisse (OSU) went down midway through the 1st half and did not have his normal explosiveness when he briefly returned in the 2nd half
  2. Poor free-throw shooting cost WVU this game (something that also hurt them against KSU; 29 missed FTs between that game and this one)
  3. Aside from Stevenson (who fouled out with 6 minutes left in the game and was T’ed up), WVU’s 3 guards (Johnson, Toussaint, Wilson) were 2/17 (11.8%) from the field in 74 combined minutes

Bonus Note: Bob Huggins chose not to participate in the post-game handshake lie. Apparently, his new hall of fame status makes him too good to show sportsmanship.

The Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders 75-72

By the Numbers

  • Kansas was +4 in rebounding margin (11 offensive boards)
  • The Jayhawks assisted on 22/31 (71.0%) made field goals
  • KU’s starting lineup was outscored by 11 points when on the floor together in the game

Standouts

Dajuan Harris, Jr. (KU): 18 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, and 2 steals in 36 minutes on 6/7 (85.7%) FG, 5/5 (100.0%) 3P, and 1/2 (50.0%) FT

Jalen Wilson (KU): 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal in 39 minutes on 6/16 (37.5%) FG, 3/9 (33.3%) 3P, and 1/2 (50.0%) FT

Kevin Obanor (TTU): 26 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks in 37 minutes on 8/14 (57.1%) FG, 4/8 (50.0%) 3P, and 6/7 (85.7%) FT

Pop Isaacs (TTU): 18 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, and 2 steals in 34 minutes on 6/14 (42.9%) FG, 4/9 (44.4%) 3P, and 2/2 (100.0%) FT

Takeaways

  1. Tech owned the first 8 minutes of the game, but Kansas got going behind Harris after that point
  2. In the absence of reserve guard, Joseph Yesufu (injured), Bobby Pettiford stepped up big for Kansas, giving them good minutes off the bench
  3. The Raiders fought hard to have a chance late but they have to get more than 10 points in 51 combined minutes from Batcho and Harmon if they want to finish games like this one

Bonus Note: I can’t help but wonder how negatively it might impact recruiting for potential recruits to hear an entire arena of rowdy Tech fans chanting profanities at Kevin McCullar who appeared in 91 games for the Red Raiders over the last 3 years. He is the program’s 7th all-time career leader in steals per game and his entire immediate family are Texas Tech people. It’s hard to blame him for wanting to compete for a championship (something Tech will not be doing this year). It’s also strange to hear from a fanbase that praises De’Vion Harmon (who started his career at OU) and Jaylon Tyson (who played for the Longhorns last year). Talk about hypocrisy.

The Kansas State Wildcats defeated the Texas Longhorns 116-103

By the Numbers

  • KSU’s 116 points are the most ever scored by a Wildcats team in program history
  • The Cats were +7 in rebounding margin (only 7 offensive boards allowed)
  • KSU led by as many at 20 points and never trailed

Standouts

Markquis Nowell (KSU): 36 points, 3 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 steals in 38 minutes on 9/15 (60.0%) FG, 6/10 (60.0%) 3P, and 12/12 (100.0%) FT

Keyontae Johnson (KSU): 28 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal in 38 minutes on 10/16 (62.5%) FG, 1/4 (25.0%) 3P, and 7/7 (100.0%) FT

Marcus Carr (UT): 27 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists in 36 minutes on 10/17 (58.8%) FG, 4/10 (40.0%) 3P, and 3/3 (100.0%) FT

Tyrese Hunter (UT): 29 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 3 steals in 35 minutes on 8/16 (50.0%) FG, 5/9 (55.6%) 3P, and 8/8 (100.0%) FT

Takeaways

  1. Kansas State beat Texas up the floor frequently, leading to a lot of easy looks at the rim
  2. In David N’Guessan’s absence (injury), Bebe Ayiola has looked very good for the Wildcats at the five spot
  3. Sir’Jabari Rice is a baller off the bench for the Horns, scoring 13 2nd half points

Bonus Note: Texas was outscored by 22 points with Marcus Carr in the game and outscored KSU by 9 points in the 4 minutes Carr was on the bench.

The TCU Horned Frogs defeated the Baylor Bears 88-87

By the Numbers

  • TCU outscored Baylor 23-2 in fastbreak points
  • The Horned Frogs outscored the Bears 52-24 in the paint
  • Baylor led by as many as 17 points in the 1st half

Standouts

Mike Miles, Jr. (TCU): 33 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in 38 minutes on 12/21 (57.1%) FG, 3/7 (42.9%) 3P, and 6/9 (66.7%) FT

Eddie Lampkin, Jr. (TCU): 15 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal in 31 minutes on 7/10 (70.0%) FG and 1/1 (100.0%) FT

Keyonte George (BU): 27 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal in 26 minutes on 6/13 (46.1%) FG, 4/7 (57.1%) 3P, and 11/12 (91.7%) FT

Joshua Ojianwuna (BU): 11 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block in 21 minutes off the bench on 4/5 (80.0%) FG and 3/4 (75.0%) FT

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Baylor Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Takeaways

  1. Baylor had poor perimeter defense, inferior hustle in defensive transition, and bad defensive rotations
  2. For the 2nd straight game, the offense largely disappeared in the 2nd half for Baylor
  3. TCU has shown the ability to close out tightly contested games

Bonus Note: The play design on the final possession for Baylor was good, but TCU’s backup big just made an excellent block. Ugh.

The Iowa State Cyclones defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 63-60

By the Numbers

  • Iowa State outscored OU 14-4 in 2nd chance points
  • The Cyclones outscored the Sooners by 3 points from the free-throw line
  • OU went on a 20-0 run in the 1st half of the game after falling behind early

Standouts

Caleb Grill (ISU): 20 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 4 steals in 37 minutes on 5/9 (55.6%) FG, 5/9 (55.6%) 3P, and 5/5 (100.0%) FT

Osun Osunniyi (ISU): 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 23 minutes on 4/6 (66.7%) FG, 1/1 (100.0%) 3P, and 3/5 (60.0%) FT

Tanner Groves (OU): 15 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in 30 minutes on 6/9 (66.7%) FG, 1/4 (25.0%) 3P, and 2/2 (100.0%) FT

Jalen Hill (OU): 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block in 37 minutes on 5/8 (62.5%) FG, 2/2 (100.0%) 3P, and 4/4 (100.0%) FT

Takeaways

  1. OU showed great fight after falling behind by 18 early and battled down to the bitter end
  2. The Sooners need more backcourt production
  3. When Grill (ISU) gets hot, he will carry this offense

Bonus Note: Oklahoma had a chance to win the game, down 1 point with the ball and 7.5 seconds left but couldn’t inbound the ball safely, costing them the game.

The Texas Longhorns defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys 56-46

By the Numbers

  • Texas held the Cowboys to just 14/46 (30.4%) from the field
  • OSU only scored 2 points over the final 8 minutes of the game
  • The Pokes missed 9 free-throws compared to just 4 misses for the Horns

Standouts

Timmy Allen (UT): 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals in 31 minutes on 3/8 (37.5%) FG, 0/2 (0.0%) 3P, and 5/6 (83.3%) FT

Marcus Carr (UT): 12 points, 1 rebound, and 4 assists in 38 minutes on 4/11 (36.4%) FG, 2/5 (40.0%) 3P, and 2/2 (100.0%) FT

Kalib Boone (OSU): 16 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 6 blocks in 34 minutes on 6/9 (66.7%) FG, 0/1 (0.0%) 3P, and 4/4 (100.0%) FT

Caleb Asberry (OSU): 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in 22 minutes off the bench on 2/6 (33.3%) FG, 2/5 (40.0%) 3P, and 0/2 (0.0%) FT

Takeaways

  1. Oklahoma State’s starting guard trio shot 5/23 (21.7%) from the field in the game
  2. Moussa Cisse’s (injury) absence was a big blow for OSU, although Boone filled in pretty well sliding from the four to the five spot
  3. Texas’s defense bounced back nicely after the K-State embarrassment

Bonus Note: The Horns are now 6-1 under interim head coach, Rodney Terry. Questions about the future of the program will continue to hang over the team.

The Iowa State Cyclones defeated the TCU Horned Frogs 69-67

By the Numbers

  • ISU outscored TCU 44-20 in the paint
  • Iowa State’s bench outscored TCU’s bench 24-12
  • The teams combined for 18 missed free-throws (12 belonging to the Frogs)

Standouts

Gabe Kalscheur (ISU): 15 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals in 36 minutes on 7/14 (50.0%) FG, 1/6 (16.7%) 3P, and 0/2 (0.0%) FT

Tamin Lipsey (ISU): 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal in 28 minutes on 5/8 (62.5%) FG and 0/1 (0.0%) 3P

Damion Baugh (TCU): 17 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks in 38 minutes on 5/12 (41.7%) FG, 3/6 (50.0%) 3P, and 4/6 (66.7%) FT

Mike Miles, Jr. (TCU): 18 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block in 30 minutes on 5/9 (55.6%) FG, 1/2 (50.0%) 3P, and 7/9 (77.8%) FT

Takeaways

  1. Gabe Kalscheur had ice water in his veins hitting the game-winning three-pointer in the closing seconds after starting the game 0/5 from deep
  2. Iowa State dominated down low and with their depth
  3. TCU failed to capitalize on a lot of opportunities at the free-throw line and to convert turnovers into points on the other end

Bonus Note: With the win, the Cyclones started Big 12 play 3-0 for the first time in more than 20 years.

The Kansas State Wildcats defeated the Baylor Bears in overtime 97-95

By the Numbers

  • The lead changed hands 20 times
  • KSU outscored Baylor 38-32 in the paint
  • The Bears missed 9 free-throws compared to just 3 misses for the Wildcats

Standouts

Markquis Nowell (KSU): 32 points, 1 rebound, and 14 assists in 43 minutes on 8/16 (50.0%) FG, 4/7 (57.1%) 3P, and 12/13 (92.3%) FT

Keyontae Johnson (KSU): 24 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block in 42 minutes on 11/17 (64.7%) FG and 2/4 (50.0%) 3P

Adam Flagler (BU): 23 points, 1 rebound, 7 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block in 33 minutes on 8/15 (53.3%) FG, 3/6 (50.0%) 3P, and 4/5 (80.0%) FT

Keyonte George (BU): 22 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals in 32 minutes on 5/14 (35.7%) FG, 0/5 (0.0%) 3P, and 12/16 (75.0%) FT

Takeaways

  1. Baylor’s LJ Cryer and Dale Bonner shot a combined 1/9 (11.1%) from the field in 49 combined minutes
  2. Not only was KSU’s leading duo more efficient than Baylor’s duo, but they also showed better stamina, combining for 85 minutes compared to the 65 minutes posted by BU’s Flagler and George
  3. Jerome Tang badly outcoached Scott Drew out of timeouts and in OT

Bonus Note: Baylor’s final possession of OT ending with a contested-three-point shot from Lohner when the Bears had a timeout remaining is a brutal way to lose a game.

The Kansas Jayhawks defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers 76-62

By the Numbers

  • Kansas held WVU to 20/57 (35.1%) from the field
  • The Jayhawks were +8 in rebounding margin (11 offensive boards)
  • Kansas led by as many as 22 points

Standouts

Jalen Wilson (KU): 14 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 assists in 34 minutes on 4/12 (33.3%) FG, 2/6 (33.3%) 3P, and 4/4 (100.0%) FT

Kevin McCullar, Jr. (KU): 12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals in 38 minutes on 4/12 (33.3%) FG, 2/4 (50.0%) 3P, and 2/2 (100.0%) FT

Tre Mitchell (WVU): 15 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block in 33 minutes on 5/12 (41.7%) FG, 2/6 (33.3%) 3P, and 3/4 (75.0%) FT

Erik Stevenson (WVU): 12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal in 29 minutes on 4/19 (21.1%) FG, 0/5 (0.0%) 3P, and 4/5 (80.0%) FT

Takeaways

  1. WVU’s 10 missed free-throws made it hard for them to stay in it
  2. The Mountaineers’ starting backcourt shot 6/29 (20.7%) from the field
  3. KU’s trio of Wilson, McCullar, and Dick continues to shine

Bonus Note: West Virginia was outscored by 18 points with Erik Stevenson in the game while outscoring Kansas by 4 points in the 11 minutes Stevenson was on the bench.

The Oklahoma Sooners defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders in overtime 68-63

By the Numbers

  • OU outscored Tech by 21 points from deep
  • The Sooners closed the game on a 10-3 run
  • The Red Raiders missed 7 free-throws compared to just 1 miss by the Sooners

Standouts

Jalen Hill (OU): 18 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block in 43 minutes on 7/15 (46.7%) FG, 2/5 (40.0%) 3P, and 2/2 (100.0%) FT

Milos Uzan (OU): 18 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal in 37 minutes on 7/10 (70.0%) FG, 2/2 (100.0%) 3P, and 2/2 (100.0%) FT

De’Vion Harmon (TTU): 23 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal in 43 minutes on 9/15 (60.0%) FG, 0/3 (0.0%) 3P, and 5/7 (71.4%) FT

Kevin Obanor (TTU): 15 points and 7 rebounds in 45 minutes on 5/17 (29.4%) FG, 0/4 (0.0%) 3P, and 5/6 (83.3%) FT

Takeaways

  1. Texas Tech struggled at both ends in the absence of starters, Pop Isaacs and Daniel Batcho (both injured)
  2. The Red Raiders frequently let mistakes lead to more mistakes
  3. Milos Uzan’s coming out party could not have come at a better time

Bonus Note: It was a nice homecoming for Harmon who spent his first 2 collegiate seasons with the Sooners.

Power Rankings

1) Kansas Jayhawks (Weekly Record: 2-0)

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Kansas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Player to Watch: Gradey Dick, Guard. Last 8 Games: 14..0 RPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.4 APG, and 2.1 SPG on 48/49/88 splits

Stat to Know: The Jayhawks are the early leader in the clubhouse in 3P shooting, leading the Big 12 at 46.5% from deep in conference play

What’s Next: Oklahoma (1/10) and Iowa State (1/14)

Outlook: The Jayhawks appear to be the class of the league at this point, boasting the best combination of raw talent and actual execution on the court. They have threats and have looked anything but flawless in their past few games. Still, until someone takes them down, the top spot in these rankings will belong to them.

2) Kansas State Wildcats (Weekly Record: 2-0)

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Baylor Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Player to Watch: Markquis Nowell, Guard. Last 3 Games: 30.3 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 11.0 APG, and 3.3 SPG on 51/50/90 splits

Stat to Know: The Wildcats are the early leader in the clubhouse in 2P shooting, leading the league at 56.2% on two-pointers in Big 12 play

What’s Next: Oklahoma State (1/10) and TCU (1/14)

Outlook: The Cats stay hot, having now won 8 consecutive games including back-to-back road wins against ranked teams. They are slowly but surely removing all doubt that they are for real and they are here to shut up the haters and the doubters. They have a star duo and will be tough to beat if they can stay healthy.

3) Texas Longhorns (Weekly Record: 1-1)

NCAA Basketball: Texas at Oklahoma State Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Player to Watch: Timmy Allen, Forward. Last 7 Games: 12.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.7 APG, and 1.3 SPG on 50/14/74 splits

Stat to Know: The Longhorns are the early leader in the clubhouse in defensive rebound percentage, leading the Big 12 at 73.6% DReb% in conference play

What’s Next: TCU (1/11) and Texas Tech (1/14)

Outlook: The Horns took it on the chin at home to unranked Kansas State, surrendering 116 points. A lot of teams would have been sent reeling after a performance like that, especially in the same week when their head coach was fired. This team, though showed great resolve, particularly on the defensive end, bouncing back to beat OSU.

4) Iowa State Cyclones (Weekly Record: 2-0)

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Oklahoma Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Player to Watch: Caleb Grill, Guard. Last 4 Games: 13.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.0 APG, and 1.5 SPG on 53/50/82 splits

Stat to Know: The Cyclones are the early leader in the clubhouse in turnover creation, and their defense is tops in the Big 12 since conference play started, forcing a turnover on 25.7% of their defensive possessions

What’s Next: Texas Tech (1/10) and Kansas (1/14)

Outlook: The formula for the Cyclones is the same as it has been all season: force a lot of turnovers with stingy defense and pray to the heavens that one or both of Kalscheur or Grill get hot. I still think this offense is too streaky and unreliable for Iowa State to stay undefeated in conference play for long, but for now, they belong in the top half of the league.

5) TCU Horned Frogs (Weekly Record: 1-1)

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Texas Christian Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

Player to Watch: Damion Baugh, Guard. Last 4 Games: 14.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 5.8 APG, and 2.8 SPG on 46/31/83 splits

Stat to Know: The Horned Frogs remain the national leaders in fastbreak points, averaging 21.7 PPG in transition

What’s Next: Texas (1/11) and Kansas State (1/14)

Outlook: TCU had a let-down game against Iowa State after their emotionally draining 1-point win in Waco earlier in the week. The big question mark for this team is still whether or not they have enough offensive efficiency to consistently win in the Big 12 this year. For now, they have a winning record in close games, but we’ll see if they can keep that going.

6) Oklahoma Sooners (Weekly Record: 1-1)

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Oklahoma Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Player to Watch: Tanner Groves, Center. Last 5 Games: 11.0 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.6 BPG on 54/17/82 splits

Stat to Know: On the season, the Sooners have the worst turnover differential in the Big 12

What’s Next: Kansas (1/10) and West Virginia (1/14)

Outlook: The Sooners notched their first conference win of the season on Saturday, pulling one out against Texas Tech in overtime. Their combined margin of defeat in the 2 conference losses was 4 points. They have to take care of the ball but if the backcourt duo of Sherfield and Uzan can get going, that’d be a huge boost for this offense.

7) Oklahoma State Cowboys (Weekly Record: 1-1)

Player to Watch: Kalib Boone, Forward. Last 2 Games: 13.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.5 SPG, and 3.0 BPG on 73/NA/100 splits

Stat to Know: The Pokes are the early leaders in the clubhouse in defensive field goal percentage allowed, leading the Big 12 by holding opponents to just 38.3% from the field in league play

What’s Next: Kansas State (1/10) and Baylor (1/14)

Outlook: The Cowboys got their first win of the season in a home victory over the offensively challenged Mountaineers. Oklahoma State has their own offensive issues but continues to give themselves a chance in games behind their tough defense.

8) Baylor Bears (Weekly Record: 0-2)

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Baylor Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Player to Watch: Adam Flagler, Guard. Last 4 Games: 19.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 4.3 APG, and 0.8 SPG on 42/41/74 splits

Stat to Know: The Bears are the early leaders in the clubhouse in crashing the offensive glass, leading the Big 12 in OReb% in conference play

What’s Next: West Virginia (1/11) and Oklahoma State (1/14)

Outlook: I don’t know what I can say that wasn’t already said in the ODB recap of the KSU loss. This team has severely underperformed to this point. They seem like they are close to getting over that hump and starting to win some games. Still, it’s not going to get any easier for them in Big 12 play and it’s getting hard to keep giving them the benefit of the doubt. Still, I like this team and think if they can get some momentum going that they can turn the entire season around. If there was ever a week to jumpstart the defense and start a win streak, this is the one, going up against 2 subpar offenses.

9) Texas Tech Red Raiders (Weekly Record: 0-2)

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

Player to Watch: Kevin Obanor, Forward. Last 8 Games: 19.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.4 APG, and 1.1 SPG on 50/39/87 splits

Stat to Know: In conference play, the Red Raiders have the worst assist-to-turnover ratio in the Big 12 at 0.57

What’s Next: Iowa State (1/10) and Texas (1/14)

Outlook: The Raiders are banged up and young. Their defense has shown some cracks over the past few games and there are a lot of questions that need answering for this team. If they can get healthy and limit their mistakes, they should start winning some of these close games in the Big 12. Those are mighty big ifs though and against the middle of the unrelenting onslaught of elite conference foes, it could be tough sledding for them in the short term.

10) West Virginia Mountaineers (Weekly Record: 0-2)

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Oklahoma State Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Player to Watch: Erik Stevenson, Guard. Last 5 Games: 14.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.8 APG, and 1.0 SPG on 43/39/60 splits

Stat to Know: In conference play, the Mountaineers have the worst team field goal percentage in the Big 12 at 37.8%

What’s Next: Baylor (1/11) and Oklahoma (1/14)

Outlook: The Mountaineers are back where they started for me, at the bottom of the conference. This offense is simply not good enough right now and I’m not sure where they can reasonably expect to get enough improvement on that end to make a difference this season. On the other end of the floor, this defense is good but not great and in a league full of great defenses, West Virginia could be in store for a rough stretch over the coming weeks.

Conclusion

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Baylor Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

I sincerely believe that the Bears are on the verge of turning the corner and starting to win some of these close games. If they make the NCAA Tournament, they’ll be a very dangerous team. Have a great week everyone. Sic Em!

Stats courtesy of sports-reference.com; kenpom.com; 247sports.com; espn.com; ncaa.com; maxreps.com; cbbanalytics.com; and/or shotquality.com.

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