Upset Special was the dish of the day Saturday in the Big 12, and for once, the Jayhawks weren't the ones being served.
It’s probably safe to go ahead and send the regular season trophy to Lawrence. Go ahead and engrave "KANSAS" on there for the tenth straight year. Thanks go out to our "friends" over in Manhattan for getting it done over Texas on Saturday. Kansas is now firmly in the driver’s seat, holding a 2 game lead in the loss column with eight games left to play. Texas had a chance, but likely blew it on Saturday. They still aren’t technically eliminated, but it seems that the only thing between KU and #10 now is the apocalypse.
It’s not completely out of the question that UT could still share the title with Kansas. Even less likely but still technically alive are the four loss programs, OU, ISU, KSU. But they don’t play these games on paper, people! Just ask Texas or Oklahoma State.
Speaking of Oklahoma State, they lost to Texas Tech in Lubbock on Saturday. Marcus Smart pushed a fan and got suspended by the Big 12 for three games. It’s too bad, too. I mean, think of all the new flopping GIFs we could have made from his game film that we’re now going to miss out on. Bummer.
The standings haven’t changed much, but the categories (tiers, whatever, etc.) have. I feel much better about Kansas winning ten straight. KU now has a two game cushion, and a loss (or even two losses) shouldn’t cost them anything other than possibly seeding in March as the rest of the conference seems determined to beat up on each other.
"Dear Diary: Jackpot!" – Glenn Quagmire
9-1, 18-5 (7) Kansas
"So you’re saying there’s a chance…" – Lloyd Christmas
7-3, 18-5 (19) Texas
"Don’t forget to bring a towel!" – Towlie
7-4, 18-6 Oklahoma
6-4, 18-4 (11) Iowa State
6-4, 16-7 Kansas State
6-5, 14-10 West Virginia
"My dad always said, ‘It’s okay to lose, but if you don’t try, why, you’re grounded, mister.’" – Leopold "Butters" Stotch
4-6, 16-7 Oklahoma State
4-6, 12-11 Texas Tech
2-8, 14-9 Baylor
0-10, 9-13 Texas Christian
Last week it was pointed out that in order for Texas to make a run at it, they’ll have to go through their last ten games with a better record than Kansas against a tougher schedule than what KU has remaining. Needless to say, the last ten games did not start off well for UT. I have a hard time seeing Kansas losing any more than two games at most the rest of the way. That means Texas needs win out. Possible? Sure. Likely? I believe Sheldon Cooper said it best: "I’m not impossible; I exist! I think what you meant to say is, ‘I give up, he’s improbable.’"
Let’s dive in to the happenings on the court this past week.
(7) Kansas, 18-5, 9-1
Last week: win @ Baylor 69-52, win vs West Virginia 83-69
This week: @ Kansas State 2/10, vs Texas Christian 2/15
Remaining games: @ TTU, vs UT, vs OU, @ OSU, vs TTU, @ WVU
Kansas seems to have rebounded from the loss to Texas nicely. Baylor was never really in the game, and the Jayhawks pulled away from West Virginia in the final few minutes to secure a more-comfortable-than-the-score-indicates victory. The regular season is now KU’s to lose thanks to Texas getting blindsided in Manhattan. If the Wildcats play like that again tonight, however, KU could have a repeat of what happened in Austin – except this time at the hands of K-State, of course. That doesn’t seem likely, as not only does KU present a matchup nightmare at every spot on the floor for K-State, but the Jayhawks also seem to be back in a winning groove.
(19) Texas, 18-5, 7-3
Last week: win @ Texas Christian 59-54, loss @ Kansas State 74-57
This week: vs Oklahoma State 2/11, vs West Virginia 2/15
Remaining games: @ ISU, @ KU, vs BU, @ OU, vs TCU, @ TTU
What… in… the… world… happened! That had to have been what Texas was thinking on the way home Saturday afternoon. Texas needed the game in Manhattan to keep pace with Kansas and keep themselves in contention. The Longhorns were never in game against K-State, despite having a 2-0 lead at one point. Before you knew it, the score was 12-2 KSU, then 20-6, then 25-9, and on and on. UT is now two games back of KU in the loss column, and has an upcoming stretch after West Virginia with three of four on the road (Ames, Lawrence, Norman). Texas will attempt to begin recovery Tuesday night against the temporarily Marcus Smart-less Oklahoma State Cowboys. Texas’ chances took a big hit with that loss Saturday.
Oklahoma, 18-6, 7-4
Last week: loss @ West Virginia 91-86 (OT), win vs Baylor 88-72
This week: vs Texas Tech 2/12, @ Oklahoma State 2/15
Remaining games: vs KSU, @ KU, vs UT, vs WVU, @ TCU
Oklahoma’s margin for error vanished Wednesday night in Morgantown, WV. At this point, the Sooners would have to win out to have any hope of a chance to tie for a conference crown.
(11) Iowa State, 18-4, 6-4
Last week: win @ Oklahoma State 98-97 (3 OT), win vs Texas Christian 84-69
This week: @ West Virginia 2/10, vs Texas Tech 2/15
Remaining games: vs UT, @ TCU, vs WVU, @ KSU, @ BU, vs OSU
During the KSU-UT game, the announcers got to talking about the Big 12 standings and remaining schedules. One of them made the claim that Iowa State has the easiest remaining schedule in the Big 12. That’s certainly debatable, but what isn’t debatable is that the Cyclones have an opportunity to gather up a few more wins and solidify their seeding for March.
Kansas State, 16-7, 6-4
Last week: win vs (19) Texas 74-57
This week: vs (7) Kansas 2/10, @ Baylor 2/15
Remaining games: vs TCU, @ OU, @ TTU, vs ISU, @ OSU, vs BU
The Wildcats did to Texas what Texas did to Kansas the week before. A repeat performance tonight against the Jayhawks is what the Wildcats need in what I’m guessing tonight will be K-State’s first (and only) sellout of the season. KSU struggled with KU’s length in Lawrence several weeks ago, and will face another matchup nightmare when they travel to Waco next weekend.
West Virginia, 14-10, 6-5
Last week: win vs Oklahoma 91-86 (OT), loss @ (7) Kansas 83-69
This week: vs (11) Iowa State 2/10, @ (19) Texas 2/15
Remaining games: vs BAY, @ ISU, vs TCU, @ OU, vs KU
West Virginia is quite the pesky bunch of guys. They hung around with KU in Lawrence for most of the game and just wouldn’t go away. KU finally put them away at the end. The Mountaineers knocked off OU at home earlier in the week. WVU has a shot to finish in the top half of the league. If they can somehow get to 20 wins with the schedule they’ve played, they might just find themselves with a berth in the NCAAs.
Oklahoma State, 16-7, 4-6
Last week: loss vs (11) Iowa State 98-97 (3 OT), loss @ Texas Tech 65-61
This week: @ (19) Texas 2/11, vs Oklahoma 2/15
Remaining games: @ BU, vs TTU, @ TCU, vs KU, vs KSU, @ ISU
Oklahoma State is in a free-fall now, flopping all the way down to 7th in the current Big 12 standings. The Cowboys have flopped four in a row and 5 of their last 6 en route to their current 4-6 conference record. They will play their next three games without Marcus Smart, who has been suspended by the conference after pushing a Texas Tech fan who was jawing at him toward the end of their game on Saturday. I’m sure there’s another flop joke in here somewhere…
Texas Tech, 12-11, 4-6
Last week: win vs Oklahoma State 65-61
This week: @ Oklahoma 2/12, @ (11) Iowa State 2/15
Remaining games: vs KU, @ OSU, vs KSU, @ BU, @ KU, vs UT
I’ve mentioned several times this year how Texas Tech has been playing to the level of their opponents, and it just keeps happening. The Red Raiders knocked off Oklahoma State in their only game last week and now have four wins in the Big 12. It should be noted that two of those wins are against TCU, but hey, wins are wins. (Insert "nuh-uh" from all stat-heads here.) However, wins will suddenly become much more difficult to come by for Texas Tech during the final eight games of conference play. It will be interesting to see if they can steal one or even two more games the rest of the way.
Baylor, 14-9, 2-8
Last week: loss vs (7) Kansas 69-52, loss @ Oklahoma 88-72
This week: @ Texas Christian 2/12, vs Kansas State 2/15
Remaining games: vs OSU, @ WVU, @ UT, vs TTU, vs ISU, @ KSU
Baylor had a bad week. But really, since conference play began, about all Baylor has had is "bad weeks." The Bears got stomped at home by Kansas, which I suppose isn’t necessarily bad, but then didn’t really bother to show up for their game in Norman later in the week, either. I’m not sure what Scott Drew’s contract situation is like, but another year like this and the Bears might be looking for a new coach. Baylor has a shot to pick up a couple of wins this week when they travel to Fort Worth and then host Kansas State. While the Wildcats are playing good ball right now, the Bears should have the edge in individual matchups.
Texas Christian, 9-13, 0-10
Last week: loss vs (19) Texas 59-54, loss @ (11) Iowa State 84-69
This week: vs Baylor 2/12, @ (7) Kansas 2/15
Remaining games: @ KSU, vs ISU, vs OSU, @ WVU, @ UT, vs OU
The Horned Frogs almost picked up that elusive first Big 12 victory Tuesday while hosting Texas, but the Longhorns ended up squeaking out of town with the W. I don’t think anyone could make an argument for TCU winning another game the rest of the year, but I’d be glad to listen to it.
Questions to consider:
On a scale of 1-10, how worried are you about the game in Manhattan tonight? (10 is extremely worried/think we’re going to lose.)
Who will finish second in the conference standings?
How many Big 12 teams will get selected for the NCAA tournament (and who are they)?
You are given $1,000 on the condition that you have to bet it on TCU winning one of their eight remaining games. Which game do you choose?
Texas Tech will or won’t have 5+ conference wins by March 9?
Baylor will or won’t have 5+ conference wins by March 9?
Will Iowa State be a 3-seed or better in the NCAAs?
Insert Marcus Smart/OSU flopping joke here.