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NCAA Basketball: Tarleton State at Baylor

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Big 12 Men’s Basketball Week 5 Recap & Power Rankings

Cyclones tumble; Wildcats, ‘Neers, and Frogs climb

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Intro

Big 12 teams went 0-2 against ranked teams this week. The other big headline (and it’s very much related to the first one) is that every single team in the conference has now lost at least one game. No team in this conference is perfect and I’ll go ahead and spoil it for you, nobody is going to go undefeated in conference play either. These power rankings will likely change significantly over the course of the next couple of months.

NOTE: The news from this yesterday about Texas Head Coach, Chris Beard is very sad. It could have a profound impact on the season trajectory for the Longhorns, but I’m going to wait and see how the program and players handle the developing situation. At this point, he has been suspended without pay indefinitely. This week’s post should’ve gone up yesterday but I didn’t get it done in time. My b. This post only factors in what took place between Sunday, December 4 and Sunday, December 11.

If you wanna check out last week’s post, you can find it here.

My Team of the Week: West Virginia. The Mountaineers won both their games this week in impressive fashion and appear to be building some real momentum after having lost to Xavier the week prior.

My Player of the Week: Markquis Nowell, Kansas State. Markquis helped his team go 2-0 by accumulating 25 points, 11 rebounds, 20 assists, and 4 steals on 40.0% FG, 44.4% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

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

Game 1: Illinois Fighting Illini

Score (OT): UT: 78 Illinois: 85

By the Numbers:

Outscored by 8 points from the free-throw line.

Surged ahead behind a 16-2 run in the 2nd half.

Led by as many as 10 points with less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation.

Standouts:

Timmy Allen: 21 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, and 1 block in 39 minutes on 50.0% FG, 33.3% 3P, and 66.7% FT.

Tyrese Hunter: 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists in 33 minutes on 36.4% FG, 33.3% 3P, and 0.0% FT.

Brock Cunnigham: 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block in 21 minutes off the bench on 75.0% FG and 66.7% 3P.

Takeaways:

Longtime Baylor fixture, Matt Mayer, just had to give the Longhorns the business one last time. RIP his mullet.

Carr shooting 3/14 (21.4%) from the field put the Horns behind the 8 ball from the beginning.

The defense that held former Red Raider, TJ Shannon, to just 4 points in regulation, surrendered 12 to him in the 5-minute overtime frame.

Game 2: Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions

Score: UT: 88 UAPB: 43

By the Numbers:

+13 in turnover margin (22 takeaways).

+13 in rebounding margin (12 offensive boards).

Assisted on 30/37 (81.1%) made field goals.

Standouts:

Christian Bishop: 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists in 20 minutes off the bench on 70.0% FG, 0.0% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

Dillon Mitchell: 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and steal in 20 minutes on 85.7% FG and 25.0% FT.

Timmy Allen: 4 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists, and 1 block in 22 minutes on 50.0% FG and 0.0% FT.

Takeaways:

This was a nice bounceback win for the Longhorns.

They dominated down low.

UAPB hit a few early shots to hang around but once they went cold, the defense made sure they stayed cold.

What’s Next: Rice (12/12) and Stanford (12/18)

Outlook

The Longhorns came crashing down to earth, losing for the first time on the season in heartbreaking overtime fashion. I’m not dropping them out of the top spot just yet. Everyone has at least one loss in this conference. The gap between Texas and virtually everyone else in the conference got smaller this week though, and that’s a good thing. The Longhorns still have an elite defense and a pretty good offense. Consistency from the 3P line remains a question mark, but otherwise, this team is excellent.

2) Baylor Bears (Weekly Record: 1-0)

Game 1: Tarleton State Texans

Score: BU: 80 Tarleton: 57

By the Numbers:

+18 in rebounding margin (17 offensive boards).

58 combined free-throw attempts taken by the 2 teams.

Pulled away thanks to an 18-3 run in the 2nd half.

Standouts:

Langston Love: 20 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in 35 minutes on 46.7% FG, 33.3% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

Keyonte George: 22 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in 36 minutes on 40.0% FG, 33.3% FT, and 100.0% FT.

Dale Bonner: 12 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals in 38 minutes on 50.0% FG, 66.7% 3P, and 80.0% FT.

Takeaways:

Even without Flagler and Cryer, this backcourt has the talent and depth to carry the team to an impressive win.

It took a while for the Bears to pull away, but once they did, they never looked back.

This was a choppy, ugly game with a ton of fouls and turnovers.

ODB Recap: Here

What’s Next: Washington State (12/18)

Outlook

It wasn’t the busiest or most exciting week for the Bears, but that’s probably good with multiple players dealing with illness and injuries. Hopefully with nearly two weeks between games, they can get everyone healthy. It is encouraging to see Langston Love look like the 5-star recruit he was touted as coming out of high school. If he can be a confident and productive guard coming off the bench, that’d be a big weapon for the Bears once Flagler and Cryer are back.

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

Game 1: Missouri Tigers

Score: KU: 95 Mizzou: 67

By the Numbers:

+7 in turnover margin (21 takeaways).

Assisted on 24/35 (68.6%) made field goals.

Shot an impressive 35/61 (57.4%) from the field.

Standouts:

Jalen Wilson: 24 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals in 33 minutes on 43.8% FG, 42.9% 3P, and 87.5% FT.

Kevin McCullar, Jr.: 21 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 5 steals in 28 minutes on 75.0% FG, 33.3% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

KJ Adams, Jr.: 19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in 32 minutes on 81.8% FG and 50.0% FT.

Takeaways:

The Tigers should thank their lucky stars that they don’t have to play Big 12 teams on regular basis.

Despite dominating the game, the Jayhawks got virtually nothing from their bench.

KU didn’t miss a step playing in a truly hostile environment for the first time this season.

What’s Next: Indiana (12/17)

Outlook

This team keeps rolling, this week handing their bitter rival their first loss of the season. The Jayhawks have looked good on both ends of the floor and have arguably the most productive player in the Big 12. Still, their depth remains a big question mark. This weekend’s matchup against the Hoosiers should be a tough test for Kansas.

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

Game 1: Abilene Christian Wildcats

Score: KSU: 81 ACU: 64

By the Numbers:

+10 in rebounding margin (10 offensive boards).

Assisted on 23/31 (74.2%) made field goals.

Overcame missing 75.0% of their 3P attempts and 13 free-throws.

Standouts:

David N’Guessan: 23 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 blocks in 33 minutes on 100.0% FG, 100.0% 3P, and 36.4% FT.

Markquis Nowell: 15 points, 6 rebounds, 12 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block in 38 minutes on 38.5% FG, 33.3% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

Nae’Qwan Tomlin: 12 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals in 32 minutes on 57.1% FG, 0.0% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

Takeaways:

After trailing by as many as 14 points early on, KSU’s stingy defense kept them in it.

The ball movement was fantastic.

Battled hard despite a having a subpar shooting night.

Game 2: Incarnate Word Cardinals

Score: KSU: 98 UIW: 50

By the Numbers:

+13 in rebounding margin (5 offensive boards allowed).

Forced two 6+ minute scoring droughts.

+11 in turnover margin (20 takeaways).

Standouts:

Nae’Qwan Tomlin: 15 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal in 22 minutes on 77.8% FG, 100.0% 3P, and 0.0% FT.

Keyontae Johnson: 18 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals in 24 minutes on 77.8% FG, 60.0% 3P, and 50.0% FT.

Markquis Nowell: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, and 1 steal in 23 minutes on 42.9% FG, 66.7% 3P, 100.0% FT.

Takeaways:

The sheer dominance displayed here must be taken with a grain of salt, Incarnate Word is terrible.

When this defense locks in, look out.

Balanced attack allowed 7 Wildcats to score in double figures.

What’s Next: Nebraska (12/17)

Outlook

The Wildcats have a very good defense. Their offense, while not all that flashy or sexy, gets it done with good ball movement and balance. They have struggled a little bit with fouling too much on defense and turning it over too often on offense. I like this team though and if they can beat a pesky Nebraska team this week, they’ll go into conference play 11-1 with a lot of confidence.

5) Texas Tech Red Raiders (Weekly Record: 1-0)

Game 1: Nicholls State Colonels

Score: TTU: 78 Nicholls: 71

By the Numbers:

+8 in rebounding margin (7 offensive boards allowed).

Outscored Nicholls by 17 points from the free-throw line.

Closed the game on a 13-2 run.

Standouts:

Pop Isaacs: 24 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, and 1 steal in 31 minutes on 66.7% FG, 83.3% 3P, and 87.5% FT.

Kevin Obanor: 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 assist in 28 minutes on 53.8% FG, 33.3% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

Daniel Batcho: 14 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks in 36 minutes on 85.7% FG and 28.6% FT.

Takeaways:

They got bailed out by the refs more than once late in the game.

Pop Isaacs is becoming the No. 1 option in the offense.

Shorthanded without Jaylon Tyson, the Red Raiders never gave up or felt sorry for themselves.

What’s Next: Eastern Washington (12/13) and Jackson State (12/17)

Outlook

The Red Raiders survived a scare from a relatively poor opponent. They need to get Tyson back and are also eagerly awaiting the return of Fardaws Aimaq who has not yet appeared this season. Rumors are that he is making good progress and should return sometime next month at the latest. That’s good news as starting center, Daniel Batcho is dealing with a tweaked ankle right now. The defense continues to be the strength of this team. The offense remains the question mark, struggling with turnovers. If Tech can avoid playing down to their competition, they should coast to a 10-2 record heading into Big 12 play.

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

Game 1: Navy Midshipmen

Score: WVU: 85 Navy: 64

By the Numbers:

+15 in rebounding margin (5 offensive boards allowed).

The lead was as small as 5 points in the 2nd half.

Assisted on 22/32 (68.8%) made field goals.

Standouts:

Tre Mitchell: 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists, in 23 minutes on 75.0% FG and 75.0% 3P.

Joe Toussaint: 12 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals in 23 minutes off the bench on 50.0% FG and 50.0% 3P.

Erik Stevenson: 13 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal in 27 minutes on 55.6% FG and 42.9% 3P.

Takeaways:

This was a very clean game, not a lot of turnovers or fouls.

Despite seeing an 18-point lead shrink to a 2-possession game, the Mountaineers were unfazed and finished strong.

The offense was very effective attacking Navy’s zone defense.

Game 2: Alabama Birmingham Blazers

Score: WVU: 81 UAB: 70

By the Numbers:

+6 in turnover margin (19 takeaways).

Outscored UAB by 11 from the free-throw line.

Overcame a 5/19 (26.3%) performance from beyond the arc.

Standouts:

Emmitt Matthews, Jr.: 16 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal in 34 minutes on 55.6% FG, 80.0% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

Kedrian Johnson: 17 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal in 33 minutes on 50.0% FG, 0.0% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

Joe Toussaint: 14 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 3 steals, and 1 block in 26 minutes off the bench on 41.7% FG, 0.0% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

Takeaways:

The Mountaineers blew an 11-point lead in the 2nd half before building another one.

Matthews appeared to hurt his knee but was able to come back, which is great news for WVU.

Every time UAB made a push, West Virginia had an answer.

What’s Next: Buffalo (12/18)

Outlook

This team looks like the prototypical Bob Huggins team. They are scrappy, tough, and physical. They force a lot of turnovers and win with defense. The offense is a lot better than I expected it to be before the season started. They’ve got balance and could have some serious staying power as a team in the middle of the conference that could keep climbing. It should be smooth sailing for them through their final couple of games before conference play starts.

7) TCU Horned Frogs (Weekly Record: 2-0)

Game 1: Jackson State Tigers

Score: TCU:

By the Numbers:

+16 in turnover margin (29 takeaways).

Assisted on 17/27 (63.0%) made field goals.

Held the Tigers to just 17/57 (29.8%) from the field.

Standouts:

Jakobe Coles: 21 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks in 25 minutes on 63.6% FG, 60.0% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

Damion Baugh: 15 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal in 34 minutes on 33.3% FG, 0.0% 3P, and 77.8% FT.

Shahada Wells: 14 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in 29 minutes on 50.0% FG and 0.0% 3P.

Takeaways:

Consistent 3P shooting continue to elude this team.

Even without Mike Miles, Jr., the Frogs had little trouble dispatching this inferior opponent.

Defensive intensity was very good.

Game 2: Southern Methodist Mustangs

Score: TCU: 83 SMU: 75

By the Numbers:

Led by as many as 18 points.

Held the Mustangs to just 2/14 (14.3%) from deep.

TCU missed 10 free-throws.

Standouts:

Mike Miles, Jr.: 18 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 steals in 34 minutes on 50.0% FG, 50.0% 3P, and 75.0% FT.

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

Eddie Lampkin: 11 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal in 28 minutes on 55.6% FG and 33.3% FT.

Damion Baugh: 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists in 34 minutes on 50.0% FG and 25.0% FT.

Takeaways:

The Frogs controlled most of the game despite not being able to completely pull away.

Having Miles back is a huge boost, without which TCU probably takes a loss here.

Poor free-throw shooting nearly cost them this game.

What’s Next: Mississippi Valley State (12/18)

Outlook

TCU has won 6 straight since their shameful loss to Northwestern State. Their defense is solid, probably right where it needs to be for the Frogs to have the type of season they were wanting to have in the preseason. The offense on the other hand, is less than impressive. They are one of the worst 3P shooting teams in the nation and aren’t particularly efficient on two-pointers either. They need to get the offense fixed and the duo of Miles and Baugh is the key.

8) Iowa State Cyclones (Weekly Record: 1-1)

Game 1: Iowa Hawkeyes

Score: ISU: 56 Iowa: 75

By the Numbers:

-6 in rebounding margin (just 9 offensive boards).

Shot a pathetic 3/22 (13.6%) from the field.

Iowa opened the game on 25-4 run over the first 11 minutes.

Standouts:

Tamin Lipsey: 11 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in 33 minutes on 62.5% FG and 50.0% 3P.

Robert Jones: 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 assists in 27 minutes off the bench on 62.5% FG and 50.0% FT.

Gabe Kalscheur: 12 points, 2 rebounds, 3 steals, and 1 block in 33 minutes off the bench on 38.5% FG, 14.3% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

Takeaways:

The Cyclones got off to a slow start and never recovered.

Good offense beats good defense, and Iowa hit a lot of tough shots.

The hostile road environment caused more than a few problems for ISU.

Game 2: McNeese State Cowboys

Score: ISU: 77 McNeese: 40

By the Numbers:

+16 in turnover margin (30 takeaways).

Held the Cowboys to just 14/38 (36.8%) from the field.

Forced a 7+ minute scoring drought in the 2nd half.

Standouts:

Aljaz Kunc: 21 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal in 34 minutes on 66.7% FG, 60.0% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

Jaren Holmes: 17 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal in 33 minutes on 60.0% FG, 66.7% 3P, and 60.0% FT.

Gabe Kalscheur: 15 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists in 40 minutes on 46.2% FG and 42.9% 3P.

Takeaways:

A classic get right game, the Cyclones flexed on the lesser team.

The game was tightly contested for the first 8+ minutes.

When this defense is on, they should be tough to beat.

What’s Next: Western Michigan (12/18)

Outlook

Iowa State’s offense is worse than a liability, it is, by far, the least efficient in the Big 12. Their defense is good, maybe even great, leading the nation in opponent turnover rate. If they can’t fix the offense though, I’m not sure how much it’ll matter. Sure, Grill or Kunc or Holmes or Kalscheur might get hot in a particular game to carry to team to a win, but the lack of consistency is cause for serious concern with this team.

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

Game 1: Missouri Kansas City Roos

Score: OU: 75 UMKC: 53

By the Numbers:

Held the Roos to just 19/53 (35.8%) from the field.

Trailed by as many as 9 points.

Forced a 5+ scoring drought in the middle of the game.

Standouts:

Grant Sherfield: 24 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals in 32 minutes on 60.0% FG, 83.3% 3P, and 77.8% FT.

Milos Uzan: 11 points, 1 rebound, 5 assists, and 2 steals in 28 minutes on 83.3% FG and 50.0% 3P.

Tanner Groves: 11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 blocks in 24 minutes on 100.0% FG, 100.0% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

Takeaways:

Sherfield stepped up in a big way in the 2nd half.

Team responded well to a slow start.

Defense was consistent throughout.

Game 2: Arkansas Razorbacks

Score: OU: 78 Arkansas: 88

By the Numbers:

-6 in turnover margin (15 giveaways).

Outscored by 7 points from the free-throw line.

Led by as many as 9 points.

Standouts:

Grant Sherfield: 23 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals in 34 minutes on 57.1% FG, 50.0% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

Milos Uzan: 15 points, 2 rebounds, and 5 assists in 34 minutes on 63.6% FG, 50.0% 3P, and 0.0% FT.

Joe Bamisile: 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block in 19 minutes on 57.1% FG and 0.0% 3P.

Takeaways:

Sooners had too many scoring slumps.

They had inferior ball security.

Defense had no answer for the duo of Smith and Council.

What’s Next: Central Arkansas (12/17)

Outlook

The Sooners are so hard to figure out. On paper, they have the talent, balance, and depth to be a good team. They have respectable wins over Ole Miss, Seton Hall, and Nebraska. They also have 3 losses. Time will tell how OU will stand up in Big 12 play. For now, they are solid on both side of the ball and if the can win both their remaining games before conference play, it’ll bode extremely well for the rest of their season.

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

Game 1: Sam Houston State Bearkats

Score: OSU: 65 SHSU: 51

By the Numbers:

+15 in rebounding margin (14 offensive boards).

Held the Bearkats to just 17/49 (34.7%) from the field.

Had a 7+ minute stretch where they only managed 3 points.

Standouts:

Bryce Thompson: 17 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals in 29 minutes on 60.0% FG, 66.7% 3P, and 50.0% FT.

Moussa Cisse: 6 points, 13 rebounds, 1 steal, and 4 blocks in 35 minutes on 40.0% FG and 66.7% FT.

Aver Anderson III: 10 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal in 29 minutes on 37.5% FG, 33.3% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

Takeaways:

The Pokes dominated the paint.

The defense outperformed the offense.

A nice bounce back win after the UConn loss.

Game 2: Virginia Tech Hokies

Score: OSU: 65 VT: 65

By the Numbers:

-7 in turnover margin (17 giveaways).

Outscored by 5 points from the free-throw line.

Allowed a late 7-0 run to lose the game.

Standouts:

Kalib Boone: 15 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, and 4 blocks in 27 minutes on 60.0% FG and 75.0% FT.

Avery Anderson III: 15 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block in 28 minutes on 55.6% FG, 60.0% 3P, and 100.0% FT.

Moussa Cisse: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block in 30 minutes on 60.0% FG and 66.7% FT.

Takeaways:

The backcourt trio of Thompson, Wright, and Asberry shot a combined 5/22 (22.7%) from the field in 81 minutes.

This was a tightly contested 2nd half.

The defense was pretty good overall.

What’s Next: Wichita State (12/17)

Outlook

The Cowboys are not a bad team. Their defense is pretty good and features elite rim protection. Their offense has its moments. Still, they turn the ball over too much and struggle shooting it from the perimeter. They have the most losses in the conference including one to Southern Illinois. Their best win is against a mediocre DePaul team (by just 4 points). A win against the Shockers this weekend would go a long way toward showing that they might be better than the conference’s bottom dweller this season.

Conclusion

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

Every passing week we learn more about these teams and who should be competing near the top of the conference and who has more work to do. Some teams are trying desperately to get healthy while others are trying to find an offensive rhythm. There aren’t a ton of high-profile Big 12 games this week, but we’re less than 3 weeks from the start of conference play. Have a good week everyone! Sic Em!

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

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