After watching my Eagles lose last night, football is officially over for me until the fall (XFL, USFL, and football offseason drama be darned). If enough of my attention wasn’t focused on Big 12 basketball before, it will be the rest of the way. While the toughest conference in America is still up for grabs with as many as 7 or 8 teams still reasonably in contention for the title, some pretty strong trends are starting to emerge and the crowded field near the top of the league could start to thin out over the next week or two. If you wanna check out last week’s post, you can find it here.
Overview: Home teams went 7-3. Ranked teams went 5-4 against lower-ranked or unranked opponents. Only 3 of last week’s 10 games were decided by 5 or fewer points.
My Team of the Week: Oklahoma State. The Cowboys extended the conference’s longest active winning streak last week and after starting Big 12 play 1-4, are now tied for 4th in the league standings.
My Player of the Week: Adam Flagler, Baylor. The Flag Man almost singlehandedly erased a double-digit road deficit in the 2nd half of Saturday’s massive win over TCU. Over the Bears’ 2 wins, he compiled 48 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, and 1 steal on 48/39/100 splits.
1) Baylor Bears (Weekly Record: 2-0)
Game 1: The Bears defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 82-72. Telling Stat: BU was +7 in turnover margin (14 takeaways). Standout Player: Langston Love (19 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist on 78/100/43 splits).
Game 2: Baylor defeated the TCU Horned Frogs 72-68. Telling Stat: The Bears outscored the Frogs by 24 points from the 3P line. Standout Player: Adam Flagler (28 points, 2 rebounds, and 4 assists on 56/50/100 splits).
Adam Flagler impressed me with 3 level scoring today in a win vs TCU, going for 28 points on 9-16 shooting— Mavs/Magic Draft (@MavsDraft) February 11, 2023
One of the top jump shooters in the country and it's getting hard to ignore him as a prospect at the next level, even with some size concerns pic.twitter.com/EHCtM4c353
Player to Watch: LJ Cryer, Guard. Last 6 Games: 16.2 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 2.2 APG on 47/43/93 splits.
Stat to Know: The Bears lead the league in made three-pointers since the start of conference play.
What’s Next: West Virginia (2/13) and Kansas (2/18)
The Bears are winners of 9 of their last 10 games. This hot streak has left them in a position where entering this week, they now control their own destiny to own at least a share of the conference title for a 3rd straight season. It won’t be easy, but nothing in this league is easy. They are trending in the right direction and with both Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua and Langston Love back in the lineup, they look like the best team in the conference to me right now. The offense is elite and isn’t overly reliant on any one player. The defense could use some improvement, especially when it comes to defending the paint, but they just added the reigning Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year to their lineup in the last week and a half.
2) Texas Longhorns (Weekly Record: 1-1)
Game 1: The Longhorns were defeated by the Kansas Jayhawks 88-80. Telling Stat: UT was outscored by 16 points in the fast break. Standout Player: Marcus Carr (29 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal on 48/38/86 splits).
Game 2: Texas defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers 94-60. Telling Stat: The Horns outscored WVU by 24 points off turnovers. Standout Player: Sir’Jabari Rice (24 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 1 steal on 83/80/100 splits).
Sir'Jabari Rice dropped 24 in Texas' win today @_jabariii @TexasMBB pic.twitter.com/dC7dzZ0xXG— SLAM University (@slam_university) February 11, 2023
Player to Watch: Sir’Jabari Rice, Guard. Last 4 Games: 20.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 1.0 APG on 57/57/87 splits.
Stat to Know: The Longhorns have the 2nd most efficient offense in the conference in league play (per KenPom).
What’s Next: Texas Tech (2/13) and Oklahoma (2/18)
The Horns saw their conference win streak snapped in Lawrence last week. As a result, their lead in the conference standings has shrunk to just a single game with rematches against Baylor and Kansas still remaining. The Longhorns are still in pretty good shape thanks to their explosive guards, Carr and Rice. If their middle-of-the-road defense can improve going forward, Texas still has an excellent chance of winning the conference.
3) Kansas Jayhawks (Weekly Record: 2-0)
Game 1: The Jayhawks defeated the Texas Longhorns 88-80. Telling Stat: KU outscored the Horns 19-10 in second-chance points. Standout Player: Gradey Dick (21 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals on 64/67/83 splits).
Game 2: Kansas defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 78-55 Telling Stat: The Jayhawks outscored the Sooners by 22 points in the paint. Standout Player: Jalen Wilson (18 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals on 41/75/50 splits).
National Player of the Year candidate Jalen Wilson (@thejalenwilson) scored 18 points to go along with 5 assists, 5 rebounds, and 5 steals to lead Kansas in their 78-55 win over Oklahoma.— The College Basketball Guy (@NCAABBallGuy) February 11, 2023
Wilson is averaging 20.7pts, 8.5reb, 2.5ast on this season.#CollegeHoops pic.twitter.com/hvTZDQ6jhW
Player to Watch: Gradey Dick, Guard. Last 8 Games: 13.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.0 APG, and 1.5 SPG on 42/31/89 splits.
Stat to Know: Kansas leads the league in defensive rebounding in conference play.
What’s Next: Oklahoma State (2/14) and Baylor (2/18)
The Jayhawks won both of their games last week and have won 4 of their last 5 games. They are now 12-1 at home on the season. The analytics for Kansas aren’t impressive at all. They lack depth and have arguably the worst guard play of the conference’s top handful of teams. Still, it’s Kansas and if there’s breath left in them, they are a danger to win the conference and more.
4) Kansas State Wildcats (Weekly Record: 1-1)
Game 1: KSU defeated the TCU Horned Frogs 82-61. Telling Stat: The Cats were +12 in rebounding margin (13 offensive boards). Standout Player: Markquis Nowell (18 points, 7 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block on 41/43/50 splits).
Game 2: The Wildcats were defeated by the Texas Tech Red Raiders 71-63. Telling Stat: Kansas State was held to 19/54 (35.2%) from the field. Standout Player: Markquis Nowell (18 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals on 26/10/100 splits).
Player to Watch: Desi Sills, Guard. Last 3 Games: 12.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, and 1.3 APG on 54/43/62 splits.
Stat to Know: The Wildcats are the most turnover-prone team in the conference in Big 12 play.
What’s Next: Oklahoma (2/14) and Iowa State (2/18)
The Wildcats have lost 4 of their last 5 conference games. This comes directly on the heels of their 6-1 start to league play. They need to get things turned around quickly. It primarily starts with star guard, Markquis Nowell. During the team’s struggles over the last 6 games, Nowell is averaging 17.5 PPG and 5.8 APG. The problem is that in that span his FG% has been 34.1% and he is also averaging 5.5 turnovers per game (both stats are significantly worse than what he had been doing before this rough stretch).
5) Oklahoma State Cowboys (Weekly Record: 2-0)
Game 1: OSU defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders 71-68. Telling Stat: The Pokes outscored the Raiders 19-11 in bench points. Standout Player: Bryce Thompson (21 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 4 steals on 56/60/0 splits).
John-Michael Wright with the game-winning putback!— Heat Check CBB (@HeatCheckCBB) February 9, 2023
Oklahoma State improves to 15-9 overall and 6-5 in the Big 12.
The Cowboys entered the day as a projected 10-seed, per @hardwiredsports.pic.twitter.com/p0QIlyeFhS
Game 2: The Cowboys defeated the Iowa State Cyclones 64-56. Telling Stat: OSU outscored ISU by 14 points in the 2nd half. Standout Player: John-Michael Wright (19 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals on 60/50/100 splits).
Player to Watch: John-Michael Wright, Guard. Last 3 Games: 14.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.7 BPG on 58/50/64 splits.
Stat to Know: The Cowboys hold their opponents to the lowest FG% of any defense in the Big 12 in league play.
What’s Next: Kansas (2/14) and TCU (2/18)
The Pokes are on fire right now. Something special is happening in Stillwater. The team is playing some beautifully nasty defense right now, and they’re converting those efforts into a lot of wins. The injury (and wrist surgery) to normal starting PG, Avery Anderson III casts some shadow on the ability of the Cowboys to keep it rolling but if Thompson and Wright can lead the backcourt in Anderson’s absence, watch out for this OSU group.
6) TCU Horned Frogs (Weekly Record: 0-2)
Game 1: The Frogs were defeated by the Kansas State Wildcats 82-61. Telling Stat: TCU shot 3/17 (17.6%) from deep in the game. Standout Player: Emanuel Miller (10 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks on 56 FG%).
Game 2: TCU was defeated by the Baylor Bears 72-68. Telling Stat: The Horned Frogs allowed a 15-2 run late in the 2nd half. Standout Player: Damion Baugh (16 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block on 50/0/50 splits).
Player to Watch: Damion Baugh, Guard. Last 5 Games: 15.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 6.8 APG, and 1.0 SPG on 43/13/75 splits.
Stat to Know: TCU is the worst 3P shooting team in the conference in league play.
What’s Next: Iowa State (2/15) and Oklahoma State (2/18)
TCU continues to be without the services of starters Mike Miles, Jr. and Eddie Lampkin, Jr. (both injured). Their absence is certainly being felt as the Frogs have now lost 4 of their last 5 including the backbreaking blown lead they had against the Bears over the weekend. Baugh has played well recently. If the Horned Frogs want to stay alive until they get healthy, they’ll need more from Micah Peavy and Emanuel Miller going forward.
7) Iowa State Cyclones (Weekly Record: 0-2)
Game 1: ISU was defeated by the West Virginia Mountaineers 76-71. Telling Stat: The Cyclones were outscored by 7 points from the FT line. Standout Player: Jaren Holmes (18 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal on 43/40/100 splits).
Game 2: The Cyclones were defeated by the Oklahoma State Cowboys 64-56. Telling Stat: Iowa State was held to 20-57 (35.1%) from the field. Standout Player: Tamin Lipsey (12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals on 45/NA/67 splits).
Player to Watch: Jaren Holmes, Guard. Last 8 Games: 15.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 0.8 SPG on 43/40/69 splits.
Stat to Know: The Cyclones have allowed the fewest points of any defense in the league since the start of conference play.
What’s Next: TCU (2/15) and Kansas State (2/18)
The Cyclones have lost 4 of their last 5 games and seem to be reeling a bit. Their shaky offense continues to haunt them. To make matters worse, they are sending their opponents to the FT far too often lately. Still, the peripherals on this team are very good and if they can iron out some of the wrinkles, they should be fine. We’ll know a lot more about the current state of this team after they face a pair of similarly struggling teams this week before squaring off against Baylor and Texas in the final couple of weeks of the season.
8) West Virginia Mountaineers (Weekly Record: 1-1)
Game 1: The Mountaineers defeated the Iowa State Cyclones 76-71. Telling Stat: WVU led by as many as 15 points. Standout Player: Kedrian Johnson (22 points, 1 rebound, and 6 assists on 57/50/75 splits).
Game 2: WVU was defeated by the Texas Longhorns 94-60. Telling Stat: The Mountaineers were held to 19/54 (35.2%) from the field. Standout Player: Emmitt Matthews, Jr. (13 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist on 56/50/25 splits).
Player to Watch: Emmitt Matthews, Jr., Forward. Last 4 Games: 11.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, and 0.8 BPG on 52/31/58 splits.
Stat to Know: The Mountaineers have the worst team FG% in the Big 12 in conference play.
What’s Next: Baylor (2/13) and Texas Tech (2/18)
The Mountaineers have won 4 of their last 6. For a team that lost their first 5 league games, that’s a significant improvement. The flip side of the coin, though is that on Saturday, all their flaws were exposed in the 34-point shellacking they took in Austin. They aren’t particularly great on either end of the floor and the remaining schedule for the ‘Neers is anything but friendly.
9) Texas Tech Red Raiders (Weekly Record: 1-1)
Game 1: The Red Raiders were defeated by the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Telling Stat: TTU was outscored by 6 points from the FT line in the 2nd half. Standout Player: Kevin Obanor (24 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal on 45/60/73 splits).
Game 2: Tech defeated the Kansas State Wildcats 71-63. Telling Stat: The Raiders outscored the Cats by 14 points off turnovers. Standout Player: Jaylon Tyson (20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals on 50/40/100 splits).
Player to Watch: Jaylon Tyson, Forward. Last 4 Games: 15.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, and 2.0 SPG on 51/42/83 splits.
Stat to Know: Tech has the worst rebounding margin in the Big 12 in league play.
What’s Next: Texas (2/13) and West Virginia (2/18)
The Red Raiders have won 3 of their last 5 games. It appears that for NCAA Tourney purposes, it’s too little, too late. An 8-game losing streak will do that to your season. Still, some of the pieces are starting to come together for Coach Mark Adams and I’m sure he’ll relish in the chance to play spoiler in the final weeks of the season.
10) Oklahoma Sooners (Weekly Record: 0-2)
Game 1: The Sooners were defeated by the Baylor Bears 82-72. Telling Stat: OU was outscored by 13 points from the FT line (where Oklahoma shot just 50%). Standout Player: Grant Sherfield (15 points, 1 rebound, 7 assists, and 1 steal on 45/50/100 splits).
Game 2: OU was defeated by the Kansas Jayhawks 78-55. Telling Stat: The Sooners were held to 20/56 (35.7%) from the field. Standout Player: Jalen Hill (14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals on 63/0/100 splits).
Player to Watch: Grant Sherfield, Guard. Last 5 Games: 17.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 3.6 APG, and 0.8 SPG on 43/43/80 splits.
Stat to Know: The Sooners have the worst scoring differential in the Big 12 in league play.
What’s Next: Kansas State (2/14) and Texas (2/18)
The wheels have come off for the Sooners who have now lost 8 consecutive conference games including 5 straight by double digits and thrice by 20+ points. According to KenPom, the Sooners are the worst team in the league on both ends of the floor. They turn it over a ton, shoot poorly (outside of Sherfield), and struggle to keep opponents off the glass. There’s not much nice to say about this team right now. I like Porter Moser but his squad can do no more than play spoiler the rest of the way.
We only have 3 weeks (6 games per team) left before we crown a regular season conference champ and before the fun starts in KC. Being this close to the end and still having so much uncertainty as to who will come out on top could be a bit unnerving. However, I have great confidence in CSD and this Baylor team to keep fighting. 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.