This is going to be fun. Win, lose or draw, the Big 12 conference regular season title it going to be a knock down, drag out with several teams in the mix. Put your big boy pants on ladies and gentleman because to be in the mix for six, we're going to have to win where we will likely be the underdog and the Jayhawks certainly need to avoid dropping one when they're favored.
The Big 12 basketball standings shake out like this today. Nothing has been decided, nothing won or lost yet. Still a Kansas State win over Texas in Manhattan likely helps Kansas in one respect, but by the same token it presents a new challenger in the overall scheme. You wouldn't want it to be easy though would you?
Big 12 Basketball Standings
|Kansas State #9||3-1||-
2004-2005 was the last time the 1st and 3rd place team were separated by just one game. That was also the beginning of Kansas' now five year run of conference titles. Since then it's been a consistent two team race with one other opponent presenting a small but minor threat. This year there are three, and perhaps maybe a couple more beyond that even. Get ready, because this is going to be a rollercoaster.
Truth be told Kansas has a very tough road. Where in years past Texas has complained about the unbalanced schedule, this year Kansas or even Kansas State will be facing the same uphill climb. Road contests for the Jayhawks in Manhattan and Columbia are going to be brutal. Not to mention both contests against the Wildcats and Tigers this year come on back to back game situations. There is nothing easy about maintaining the level of intensity needed to win back to back rivalry games once, let alone twice in a season.
Kansas also goes on the road against Texas. The Longhorns looked a little soft and a little rattled last night, but that was in Bramlage. A Bramlage that is no longer Allen Fieldhouse west in the sense that Kansas dominates it, but now it's becoming Allen Fieldhouse west in the sense that it's very difficult to win there. The Jayhawks won't have that luxury though as they head to Austin to play the Horns in what will be a monster game for Texas fans.
For Kansas State's part, they've lost in Columbia but took care of the Horns. If they simply played to form from here on out and split with the Jayhawks, it's on Kansas to win one away from the Fieldhouse to pull out a 6th straight.
Of course all that assumes that both of these teams plays to expectation along the way, while Texas drops another one somewhere. Possible stumbling blocks include games at Missouri, at Texas A&M and of course at home against the Jayhawks.
It's still way too early to start declaring this one way or the other. It's highly probable that one or all of these teams will drop one that isn't expected. Still, in theory each of these three teams and a few others "control their own destiny." In all honesty most teams can still say that. Baylor was ranked and presents a challenge. The Tigers are deadly in Columbia and if they can find away to avoid the struggles on the road here quickly, they will be a contender.
Right now though, it's a three party race. Texas, Kansas and Kansas State. The Big 8...er Big 12 North is back and in command. It's going to be a heck of a ride from here on out. Buckle your seat belts, this one is going to be fun.