Around the Big 12: Baylor, Kansas Clash Saturday, Other Big Games on Tap
On the slate in the Big 12 this week are a ton of ranked matchups as well as some classic rivalries. The conference boasts six top-25 teams, which is tied for the most of any conference with the Big Ten.
The top dog in the conference, No. 2 Baylor, will be in action this weekend, as the Bears travel to take on the No. 17 Kansas Jayhawks on their home turf. Baylor, along with No. 1 Gonzaga, are the only teams who have yet to lose a game this year. The Bears have gotten to this point based on their outstanding ability to move the ball around rather than relying on individual performance.
The Bears have four players averaging over 10 points per game with three of them averaging over 13. Their leading scorer, Jared Butler, has been a catalyst and a big reason as to why they are dominating teams like they are. He has been their go-to guy, and his performance on the floor is one that has him squarely in the running for the Wooden Award.
As for Kansas, this hasn't been a typical year for Jayhawks, who usually dominate the Big 12. However, the Jayhawks are still 17-8 on the year and are fighting for sole possession of the No. 2 spot in the Big 12 with multiple other teams. Led by junior guard Ochai Agbaji, Kansas has fought hard to be in the position it is in. And, of course, the Jayhawks are led by the great Bill Self at head coach, so you can never count this team out.
Look for this matchup between the Bears and the Jayhawks to be a good one. Kansas should be able to keep up with Baylor for most of the game, but the better team — Baylor — should come away with the win.
A battle for Texas will take place on Saturday as No. 18 Texas Tech will host No. 14 Texas in Lubbock. Both teams are in the middle of the pack in the Big 12, but this game will be more important for Texas in the long run.
Texas is just 1 1/2 games back from the second place spot in the Big 12 with only four games left to play before the conference tournament. The Longhorns come into this one after beating No. 17 Kansas in overtime on Tuesday 75-72. They were led by Courtney Ramey’s 15-point performance, which was capped off with two clutch free throws to put the Longhorns ahead in OT. Texas has won three of its last four games played.
On the other hand, Texas Tech lost in overtime to Oklahoma State on Monday. Mac McClung’s 17 points were not enough to outplay the stellar performance of Oklahoma State standout Cade Cunningham, who dropped 20 points.
Watch for this matchup to be a close one, but Texas should take the W in the end.
As for other matchups around the Big 12 this week—No. 7 Oklahoma will try and bounce back from its loss to Kansas State earlier this week as the Sooners take on Oklahoma State at home.
No. 10 West Virginia will play host to Kansas State in Morgantown this weekend as the Mountaineers will look to build on their current two-game winning streak.
Iowa State will host TCU as well; the Cyclones are looking to end their 13-game winless stretch. The Cyclones have only won two games this year, the last coming all the way back on Dec. 20 against Jackson State.
Charlie Murray is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.