Around the Big 12: Week 12

Story posted February 12, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Sam Kirk

Other than the Kansas State Wildcats and Iowa State Cyclones, the Big 12 has been really competitive throughout the entire season.

There are a number of teams who could get their ticket punched to the NCAA Tournament by winning this conference. Let’s break down each team and what lies ahead before they begin postseason play in March.

The conference is led by the first ranked Baylor Bears who are undefeated and on a 17 game win streak, which places them at No. 2 in the country. Even though the Bears had to postpone their next three games due to COVID-19 scare, they are in a good position as March creeps closer.

The Bears are led by Jared Butler and MaCio Teague; this backcourt has combined for almost 31 points per game.

Baylor has come together this season as a team and has a chance to make true history. This Bears team has a chance to be Scott Drew’s greatest team yet at Baylor, no question the Bears will be a tough out in March.

After the Baylor Bears who clearly are the best team in the Big 12 right now, West Virginia and Oklahoma are not too far behind.

Bob Huggins' Mountaineers squad is second in the conference. After losing to Florida, the Mountaineers went on a three game win streak with two coming against Texas Tech and Kansas.

A showdown Saturday in Morgantown really should separate these two squads a bit more previewing the Big 12 conference tournament. The Sooners need to stop Derek Culver and Miles McBride, the leading rebounder and scorer for West Virginia, respectively.

Austin Reaves and De'Vion Harmon aren’t Trae Young, but this has been a productive guard tandem for the Sooners. Will they be able to handle West Virginia’s press on Saturday?

The Texas Longhorns are sitting in fourth place in this Big 12.

The comeback story of Andrew Jones has been remarkable. The Longhorn guard was diagnosed with leukemia back in 2018 and some thought that may be it for Jones’ young basketball career. Now, Jones is averaging almost 16 points per game for Texas.

After barely squeaking by Kansas State, Texas has a stretch of six games including three tough matchups against Oklahoma, Texas Tech and West Virginia. This Texas team is talented and is a sure thing for an NCAA Tournament bid, but the Big 12 conference is as good as it’s ever been this season, and a Big 12 Championship is a ways away for Texas in such a deep conference.

Bill Self’s Jayhawk team dropped out of the AP Top-25 for the first time in 12 years. It seems as if Kansas has followed the trend of college basketball’s powerhouses being a disappointment this season.

Ochai Agbaji is the main man for Kansas. He is one of the few lone upperclassmen contributors on this roster.

The youth on this Kansas team has shown some growing pains since entering Big 12 play. The two upcoming matchups against Iowa State and one versus Kansas State should give Kansas some more confidence as they head into conference tournament play.

One of the most intriguing teams in the conference is the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Led by Mac McClung, the Georgetown transfer who provides a spark and energy, this team is hard to stop.

Texas Tech got a break when its game against Baylor was postponed, and the Red Raiders will now finish conference play with five winnable games and two of them will be against a struggling Kansas State team. If Texas Tech can get hot heading into conference tournament play, there are not many teams they cannot play with.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys have been as competitive as any other team in this conference all season. Without two bad losses to Kansas State, the Cowboys would be in a prime position.

Cade Cunningham, the freshman guard has been nothing short of spectacular for Oklahoma State, averaging close to 18 points. Mike Boynton has a young and promising group for the future, but a four game stretch at the end of the season that includes Baylor, Texas Tech and Oklahoma twice is scary for this team’s hopes to remain confident heading into the big dance.

TCU is 11-7 overall on the year, but the Horned Frogs are still in the basement of the Big 12.

Multiple times this year, TCU has been blown out by another Big 12 foe, losing by 36 points to the Oklahoma Sooners and 29 points to the Kansas Jayhawks. TCU has not shown enough to believe they can compete in this conference during the final stretch.

RJ Nembhard, who is averaging close to 17 points per game can only do so much for this team.

The Horned Frogs are going to need help just to make it into the field of 64.

The losses that both Iowa State and Kansas State have had throughout this Big 12 conference schedule should be enough for anyone to see that they will not be taking part in postseason play.

Combined, these two squads are a total of 1-20 in conference play. Both the Cyclones and the Wildcats can do nothing but play the role of spoiler in this loaded conference.

 

Sam Kirk is a freshman broadcast journalism major at Penn State to contact him email sjk6325@psu.edu.