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Around the Big 12 - Week 8

Kansas all but clinches; Three-way race for second; TCU still winless

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Ok…. NOW go ahead and mail that trophy to Lawrence, KS.

A disappointing week by Texas (well, from their point of view, anyway) has opened up the race in the Big 12 yet again, with Kansas three games up with four to play.  I believe that makes our "magic number" one – as in, one more win for Kansas OR one more loss each for Iowa State/Oklahoma/Texas means Kansas clinches at worst a tie.  The only other team anywhere near the conversation is 5th place Kansas State, and the best they can do is tie (if they win out and KU loses out).  Way to defend that "Big 12 Title," Wildcats.

Speaking of the Wildcats, is there any more Jekyll and Hyde team than Kansas State?  I wonder if their home/road splits are as diverse as their home/road Win/Loss record.  I found myself asking, "Just how hard is it to win road games in the Big 12, anyway?"  Well, questions like that demand answers.  So here ya go.

5-2 Kansas

3-4 Iowa State

4-3 Oklahoma

3-4 Texas

1-6 Kansas State

3-4 West Virginia

3-4 Baylor

1-6 Oklahoma State

2-5 Texas Tech

0-7 Texas Christian

Kansas and Oklahoma are the only two teams with winning road records.  Overall, the winning percentage for road teams in the Big 12 is 35.71%.  If you take Kansas out of the equation, that percentage drops to 31.74%.  What team looks like it’s out of place?  Why, that’s the fifth-place Wildcats, of course.  Judging by their road record, you’d think they’d be no better than seventh, but, being unbeaten at home in conference play has buoyed their overall record a bit.

In other news, Baylor could be gearing up for a run to the NCAA Tournament after picking up Big 12 win #6.  That’s four wins in a row for Baylor.  Also, here is your obligatory TCU is still winless statement.  Oklahoma State is finally off the schnide with their win over Texas Tech.  Oklahoma is back to flirting with the Top 25 again as well.

"I’m the king of the world!" – Jack Dawson

12-2, 21-6            (5) Kansas

"You ain’t cool unless you pee your pants!" – Billy Madison

9-5, 21-5               (15) Iowa State

9-5, 20-7               Oklahoma

9-5, 20-7               (24) Texas

8-6, 18-9               Kansas State

"STUPID? What do you mean "stupid"? Just wait ‘til next year, Charlie Brown!  You’ll see!" – Linus van Pelt

7-7, 15-12            West Virginia

6-8, 18-9               Baylor

5-9, 17-10            Oklahoma State

5-9, 13-14            Texas Tech

"Clark, I think it’s best if everyone went home… before things get worse." – Ellen Griswold

0-14, 9-17            Texas Christian

I guess the stretch run did officially start last week, since as of today the conference race appears to be, for all intents and purposes, over.

Let’s dive in to the happenings on the court this past week.

(5) Kansas, 21-6, 12-2

Last week: win @ Texas Tech 64-63, win vs (24) Texas 85-54

This week: vs Oklahoma 2/24, @ Oklahoma State 3/1

Remaining games: vs TTU, @ WVU

After squeaking by the Red Raiders in Lubbock, the Jayhawks just blitzed the Longhorns in Lawrence.  KU looks like a lock for 10 straight.  Two games against teams from the Sooner state await Kansas; win one of those, and KU clinches no worse than a tie for the conference crown.  Two wins this week guarantees an undisputed championship.

(15) Iowa State, 21-5, 9-5

Last week: win vs (24) Texas 85-76, win @ TCU 71-60

This week: vs West Virginia 2/26, @ Kansas State 3/1

Remaining games: @ BU, vs OSU

The Cyclones also had a good week, and have a great shot at finishing second in this league and securing a top-4 seed in the NCAA Tournament should they have a solid finish to the season.  ISU will have revenge on their minds when West Virginia visits Hilton this week, and then will attempt to do what no other Big 12 team has accomplished this year – get a road win in Bramlage Coliseum.

Oklahoma, 20-7, 9-5

Last week: win vs Kansas State 86-73

This week: @ (5) Kansas 2/24, vs (24) Texas 3/1

Remaining games: vs WVU, @ TCU

Oklahoma has a tough week in front of them.  The Sooners will put their second-best conference road record on the line in Allen Fieldhouse before hosting Texas on Saturday.  As with Iowa State, the Sooners have a chance to finish second in the league and look to improve their seeding for March with a strong finish.

(24) Texas, 20-7, 9-5

Last week: loss @ (15) Iowa State 85-76, loss @ (5) Kansas 85-54

This week: vs Baylor 2/26, @ Oklahoma 3/1

Remaining games: vs TCU, @ TTU

The Longhorns gave it a go, but couldn’t hang with Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse or in the conference race.  The first five minutes of the game in Lawrence were fairly even with Texas jumping out to an early 8-3 lead.  But after the first TV timeout with 15:28 left in the first half, it was all Kansas.  The Jayhawks went on a 23-2 run and never looked back.  Winning by 50 looked like a possibility at halftime, but the Jayhawks simply coasted in the second half to their big victory.  Texas will look to rebound against a suddenly resurgent Baylor squad before finalizing this year’s Red River Rivalry in Norman.  Texas, like Iowa State and Oklahoma, can still finish second in the league.  A strong finish will produce favorable results in terms of seeding for March.

Kansas State, 18-9, 8-6

Last week: win vs TCU 65-53, loss @ Oklahoma 86-73

This week: @ Texas Tech 2/25, vs (15) Iowa State 3/1

Remaining games: @ OSU, vs BU

Kansas State’s season continues to be a tale of two teams, and it seemingly totally depends on the location of the game.  The Horned Frogs hung with K-State for 30 minutes or so in Manhattan, but the Wildcats eventually pulled away and secured yet another home win.  However, K-State forgot to bring their power towels with them to Norman and got run out of the gym by the Sooners.  A tricky trip to Lubbock awaits this week before another big home game, this time against Iowa State. 

West Virginia, 15-12, 7-7

Last week: loss vs Baylor 88-75

This week: @ (15) Iowa State 2/26, vs TCU 3/1

Remaining games: @ OU, vs KU

The Baylor/West Virginia game this past week may have been an NCAA Tournament elimination game – and the Bears prevailed.  If the Mountaineers want to go dancing, they may need to win out.  That’s a tall order considering the remaining schedule.  But if WVU does manage to win their next three, they’ll be hungry and more than ready for the Jayhawks in Morgantown on Senior Day.

Baylor, 18-9, 6-8

Last week: win vs Oklahoma State 70-64 (OT), win @ West Virginia 88-75

This week: @ (24) Texas 2/26, vs Texas Tech 3/1

Remaining games: vs ISU, @ KSU

Baylor is on fire!  They’ve now won four in a row.  They’ve played themselves back onto the NCAA bubble; if they can keep it up, they will find themselves in the tournament.  Baylor has four winnable games left, with probably the toughest game coming up next in Austin.  Texas is currently getting reoriented after the knockout punch delivered by Kansas.   Who would have thought it two weeks ago, but Baylor even has a chance to climb into the top half of the Big 12 with a strong finish.

Oklahoma State, 17-10, 5-9

Last week: loss @ Baylor 70-64 (OT), win vs Texas Tech 84-62

This week: @ TCU 2/24, vs (5) Kansas 3/1

Remaining games: vs KSU, @ ISU

Yet another Big 12 team that needs to finish strong if they want to dance in March.  Oklahoma State was expected by many to challenge, if not take, the Big 12 title from Kansas this year.  In that regard, the season has been a disappointment.  However, should the Cowboys win, say, three of their last four, a tourney invite is the likely reward.  It’s a tall order, but Oklahoma State, like Baylor, has talent on the roster that belies their record.

Texas Tech, 13-14, 5-9

Last week: loss vs (5) Kansas 64-63, loss @ Oklahoma State 84-62

This week: vs Kansas State 2/25, @ Baylor 3/1

Remaining games: @ KU, vs UT

Well, someone finally beat Texas Tech by double digits in conference play.  Oklahoma State really needed that win, and they got it over Tech just a few days after the Red Raiders upset bid of Kansas fell short.  Texas Tech still has a shot at a few more conference wins, starting this week when Kansas State comes calling into Lubbock.  The Raiders have a win over Baylor already, but travelling to Waco and considering the way the Bears have been playing lately makes that matchup a difficult one for Tubby Smith’s crew.  Better take care of business at home to end the season and see if they can make any noise in the Big 12 Tournament.

Texas Christian, 9-17, 0-14

Last week: loss @ Kansas State 65-53, loss vs (15) Iowa State 71-60

This week: vs Oklahoma State 2/24, @ West Virginia 3/1

Remaining games: @ UT, vs OU

The Horned Frogs were competitive this week, leading Iowa State in the second half and tying the score with Kansas State several times in the second half.  Chances for a Big 12 win this season are slipping away with only four games remaining.

Questions to consider:

Over/Under/Push – KU wins the league at 14 wins.

Who will finish second in the conference standings?

How many more wins will Baylor pick up this season?

How many more wins will Oklahoma State pick up this season?

Who besides Tech and TCU do NOT make the field of 68?

Insert favorite UT joke here.