First, having heard no complaints, we’re going to continue using the shorter/simpler format for these posts that I tried out last week going forward. It was a fantastic weekend for the Bears who saw the offense start to wake up after a tough stretch and welcomed beloved big man, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, back to the court after nearly a year of rehab and recovery. We are now past the midway point of conference play and outside of a few teams at the bottom, there are at least 5 or 6 teams that could still win the conference crown this season. If you wanna check out last week’s post, you can find it here.
PLEASE NOTE: This post was written before last night’s result and as such, KU’s win over Texas is in no way factored into this discussion of last week’s results and where we were/are heading into this week.
Overview: Home teams went 8-2. Ranked teams went 3-5 against lower-ranked or unranked opponents. Half of last week’s games were decided by 6 or fewer points.
My Team of the Week: Texas. The Longhorns have won 4 consecutive conference games, helping them climb into the top spot in the Big 12 standings. They are playing great ball right now behind a balanced attack.
My Player of the Week: Kalib Boone, Oklahoma State. Boone helped his Cowboys win both their games last week after compiling 43 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals on 76/NA/63 splits.
1) Texas Longhorns (Weekly Record: 2-0)
Game 1: The Longhorns defeated the Baylor Bears 76-71. Telling Stat: UT’s bench outscored BU’s bench 30-6. Standout Player: Sir’Jabari Rice (21 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 assist on 71/80/88 splits).
Texas guard Sir’Jabari Rice has the best shot fake in college hoops. Not only does it get guys to bite; he does it so often opponents are now gun shy on close outs. Opened him up for a huge 3 last night. pic.twitter.com/GiMBjimGgg— CJ Moore (@CJMooreHoops) January 31, 2023
Game 2: Texas defeated the Kansas State Wildcats 69-66. Telling Stat: The Horns had 5 players score in double figures. Standout Player: Sir’Jabari Rice (14 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal on 33/50/89 splits).
Player to Watch: Timmy Allen, Forward. Last 4 Games: 12.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.3 SPG, and 0.8 BPG on 57/0/81 splits.
Stat to Know: The Longhorns are the best FT shooting team in the Big 12 in league play.
What’s Next: Kansas (2/6) and West Virginia (2/11)
The Horns have won 4 straight Big 12 games (and 7 of their last 8 in league play). They sit atop the conference. They aren’t the best offense or the best defense. They are the most balanced team in the conference right now. They are solid on both ends and get contributions from a bunch of different guys. They are the deepest team in the league and will look to keep it rolling this week.
2) Baylor Bears (Weekly Record: 1-1)
Game 1: The Bears were defeated by the Texas Longhorns 76-71. Telling Stat: BU shot 25-68 (36.8%) from the field. Standout Player: LJ Cryer (19 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal on 41/50/100 splits).
Game 2: Baylor defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders 89-62. Telling Stat: The Bears assisted on 26/35 (74.3%) made field goals. Standout Player: Jalen Bridges (18 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 block on 58/40/67 splits).
6’4 Baylor G Keyonte George showed tremendous feel as a scorer in PnR and good vision/ timing on passes.— Buff (@TheTB5Reports) February 5, 2023
Scored at ALL three levels. Three ball, middy and drove close outs for strong finishes at the rim.
17/5/3/3 on 7-11 FG’s. EFFICIENT game for the potential lottery pick. pic.twitter.com/SXicYGBT32
Player to Watch: Jalen Bridges, Forward. Last 9 Games: 12.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 0.9 SPG, and 0.9 BPG on 59/39/73 splits.
Stat to Know: The Bears are the best offensive-rebounding team in the conference in league play.
What’s Next: Oklahoma (2/8) and TCU (2/11)
The Bears suffered a setback in Austin, losing a tough one to a good team on the road without Langston Love. All those bad vibes were washed away on Saturday Everyday Jon took the floor for the first time in over 350 days. He elevates the ceiling for this frontcourt and team significantly. It was also nice to see the offense wake up. Heading into Saturday, the team was 36.0% from the field over the prior 4 games. Against the Raiders, shots started going in as the team went 53.8% from the field.
3) TCU Horned Frogs (Weekly Record: 1-1)
Game 1: The Frogs defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers 76-72. Telling Stat: TCU outscored WVU 48-30 in the paint. Standout Player: Damion Baugh (16 points, 6 rebounds, 10 assists, and 1 block on 50/0/100 splits).
Game 2: TCU was defeated by the Oklahoma State Cowboys 79-73. Telling Stat: TCU was outscored 16-8 over the final 4 minutes. Standout Player: Shad Wells (14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 steals on 50/50/100 splits).
Player to Watch: Shad Wells, Guard. Last 5 Games: 12.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, and 2.8 SPG on 56/35/60 splits.
Stat to Know: TCU is the best 2P shooting team in the Big 12 in conference play.
What’s Next: Kansas State (2/7) and Baylor (2/11)
TCU probably did well to split their games last week, playing without 2 injured starters (Mike Miles, Jr. and Eddie Lampkin). They’ll need those guys back soon if they want to stay in the hunt for the conference title. Until they get back, the backcourt will lean heavily on Baugh and Wells who have both played well recently. Staying afloat until they can get healthy will be key.
4) Iowa State Cyclones (Weekly Record: 1-1)
Game 1: ISU was defeated by the Texas Tech Red Raiders in overtime 80-77. Telling Stat: The Cyclones were outscored by 14 points off turnovers. Standout Player: Caleb Grill (24 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal on 67/67/NA splits).
Game 2: The Cyclones defeated the Kansas Jayhawks 68-53. Telling Stat: Iowa State outscored Kansas by 20 points in the paint. Standout Player: Tamin Lipsey (9 points, 8 rebounds, 10 assists, and 3 steals on 44/0/50 splits).
Player to Watch: Gabe Kalscheur, Guard. Last 8 Games: 17.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 1.1 APG on 48/44/64 splits.
Stat to Know: The Cyclones are the best defensive rebounding team in the Big 12 in league play.
What’s Next: West Virginia (2/8) and Oklahoma State (2/11)
The Cyclones had a massive let-down game, giving up their big lead to the struggling Red Raiders. That loss coming off the blowout defeat at the hands of Missouri the weekend before might’ve been cause for concern. Those concerns were set aside after the team conjured enough Hilton Magic to knock off the Jayhawks. This defense is elite. If they can find some consistency on the offensive end, they could win the conference this season.
5) Kansas State Wildcats (Weekly Record: 0-2)
Game 1: KSU was defeated by the Kansas Jayhawks 90-78. Telling Stat: The Cats were held to 20/59 (33.9%) from the field. Standout Player: Keyontae Johnson (22 points and 12 rebounds on 37/50/86 splits).
Game 2: The Wildcats were defeated by the Texas Longhorns 69-66. Telling Stat: Kansas State was outscored by 14 points in the 2nd half. Standout Player: Keyontae Johnson (16 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist on 60/67/50 splits).
Player to Watch: Keyontae Johnson, Forward. Last 10 Games: 18.7 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, and 1.1 SPG on 48/37/75 splits.
Stat to Know: The Wildcats are the best 3P shooting team in the Big 12 in conference play.
What’s Next: TCU (2/7) and Texas Tech (2/11)
The Wildcats lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, dropping both contests last week. That makes it 3 losses in their last 4 games. The Texas loss was also the team’s first home loss of the season. The offense that had been so great in the team’s 6-1 start to Big 12 play, has faltered quite a bit lately. They need to get back on track on that end of the floor if they want to right the ship.
6) Kansas Jayhawks (Weekly Record: 1-1)
Game 1: The Jayhawks defeated the Kansas State Wildcats 90-78. Telling Stat: KU outscored the Wildcats 21-12 in points off turnovers. Standout Player: Kevin McCullar (16 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block on 20/67/83 splits).
Game 2: Kansas was defeated by the Iowa State Cyclones 68-53. Telling Stat: The Jayhawks were held to 17/44 (38.6%) from the field. Standout Player: Jalen Wilson (26 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists on 44/38/82 splits).
Player to Watch: Jalen Wilson, Forward. Last 6 Games: 26.5 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 2.2 APG on 49/41/84 splits.
Stat to Know: Kansas is the 2nd best defense by opponent FG% in the Big 12 in league play.
What’s Next: Texas (2/6) and Oklahoma (2/11)
The Jayhawks have lost 4 of their last 5 conference games and have been generally unimpressive the last few weeks. They aren’t getting the job done on either end of the floor right now, at least not according to KU standards. They desperately need to string together some wins if they don’t want to fall out of the conference race.
7) Oklahoma State Cowboys (Weekly Record: 2-0)
Game 1: OSU defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 71-61. Telling Stat: The Pokes outscored the Sooners 13-2 in second-chance points. Standout Player: Kalib Boone (18 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block on 80/NA/100 splits).
Game 2: The Cowboys defeated the TCU Horned Frogs 79-73. Telling Stat: OSU outscored TCU 42-30 in the paint. Standout Player: Kalib Boone (25 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals on 73/NA/50 splits).
Kalib Boone (@kalibboone32) vs. TCU— Jake Kerr (@jakeeekerr) February 6, 2023
25p / 6r / 73% fg
long, springy athlete with a 40 minute motor.
In his last 9:
17.1p / 4.8r / 2b / 70% fg
playing at an all-conference level in the best conference in the country. leading the postseason charge for Oklahoma State. pic.twitter.com/vw4JTV0tVU
Player to Watch: Avery Anderson III, Guard. Last 5 Games: 13.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG, and 4.8 APG on 40/20/79 splits.
Stat to Know: The Cowboys are the best shot-blocking team in the Big 12 in conference play.
What’s Next: Texas Tech (2/8) and Iowa State (2/11)
The Cowboys have won 3 straight and 5 of their last 6 games. They appear to be trending in the right direction as they’ve gotten healthier as of late. Getting big man, Moussa Cisse back from injury is a huge development for this team. Their offense still isn’t trustworthy, but their defense, especially in the paint, gives them a chance to beat anyone in the league.
8) West Virginia Mountaineers (Weekly Record: 1-1)
Game 1: The Mountaineers were defeated by the TCU Horned Frogs 76-72. Telling Stat: WVU was outscored by 9 points off turnovers. Standout Player: Tre Mitchell (15 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks on 60/33/100 splits).
Game 2: WVU defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 93-61. Telling Stat: The Mountaineers outscored OU by 15 points off turnovers. Standout Player: Erik Stevenson (34 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals on 57/55/50 splits).
Player to Watch: Erik Stevenson, Guard. Last 4 Games: 24.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.5 APG, and 1.0 SPG on 46/44/79 splits.
Stat to Know: The Mountaineers get to the FT line more than any team in the Big 12 in league play.
What’s Next: Iowa State (2/8) and Texas (2/11)
The Mountaineers have won 3 of their last 4, including their most dominant conference win in over 3 years. This team appears to be finally putting some of the pieces together. Still, they likely need to win 4 or 5 more games if they want to make the Big Dance and 6 of their remaining 8 games are against ranked opponents.
9) Texas Tech Red Raiders (Weekly Record: 1-1)
Game 1: The Red Raiders defeated the Iowa State Cyclones in overtime 80-77. Telling Stat: TTU overcame a 17-point halftime deficit. Standout Player: Kevin Obanor (24 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal on 45/60/73 splits).
Game 2: Tech was defeated by the Baylor Bears 89-62. Telling Stat: The Raiders were outscored by 23 points in the 2nd half. Standout Player: Jaylon Tyson (19 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal on 57/50/NA splits).
Player to Watch: De’Vion Harmon, Guard. Last 5 Games: 15.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.6 APG, and 1.2 SPG on 39/24/71 splits.
Stat to Know: Tech has the worst team FG% in the Big 12 in conference play.
What’s Next: Oklahoma State (2/8) and Kansas State (2/11)
The Red Raiders had one of their biggest and best comeback wins in program history to get their first win of the conference slate last week. Then on Saturday, they got steamrolled by Baylor in the 2nd half of their contest with the Bears. The story for Tech remains the same as it has been. They are a young and mistake-prone team. Throw in that they have struggled with injuries and are highly inconsistent on offense and it makes sense why this team is still near the bottom of the conference.
10) Oklahoma Sooners (Weekly Record: 0-2)
Game 1: The Sooners were defeated by the Oklahoma State Cowboys 71-61. Telling Stat: Oklahoma was held to 16/46 (34.8%) from the field. Standout Player: Milos Uzan (11 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist on 40/20/100 splits).
Game 2: OU was defeated by the West Virginia Mountaineers 93-61. Telling Stat: The Sooners were held to 22/59 (37.3%) from the field. Standout Player: Grant Sherfield (16 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist on 46/44/NA splits).
Player to Watch: Jalen Hill, Forward. Last 5 Games: 12.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 0.8 BPG on 56/29/82 splits.
Stat to Know: Oklahoma has the lowest-scoring offense in the Big 12 in conference play.
What’s Next: Baylor (2/8) and Kansas (2/11)
The Sooners have been the most disappointing team in the conference this season to me. Their dominant 24-point win over an excellent Alabama team might have been a fever dream. That team has not shown up since. They’ve now lost 5 consecutive Big 12 games including 3 straight by double digits. The best OU fans can hope for now is that the wheels don’t come completely off and that there isn’t a mass exodus of players in the portal this offseason.
The next 3 games for Baylor will be huge heading into their rematch with Kansas, this time in Lawrence. If the Bears can build on the momentum of their blowout win from Saturday, they’ll stay very competitive near the top of the league race. 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.