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Around the Big 12 - Week 10

Oklahoma clinches the 2 seed; Big cluster in the middle; TCU completes the imperfect season

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sport

Seriously, has that trophy arrived in Lawrence?

I’m sure that it has.

The way Kansas finished though, it might make you wonder, losing two out of three to end conference play. If you said 14 wins would claim an outright title, you may take your bows at any time. Kansas won the conference by a full two games over the Oklahoma Sooners, whom the Jayhawks also happened to sweep during conference play.

The Big 12 Tournament begins on Wednesday, March 12. The Jayhawks draw the winner of Oklahoma State and Texas Tech; the Sooners draw the winner of Baylor and West Virginia. In other action on Thursday, Iowa State takes on Kansas State in some Farmaggedon action, and Texas and West Virginia square off on the other side of the bracket.

I know you’re all asking yourselves, gee, I wonder what the final standings were. Well, don’t bother looking it up, cuz you mikeville has you covered.

"One of the advantages of being a captain, Doctor, is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it." – James T. Kirk

14-4, 23-8 (10) Kansas

"’Fascinating’ is a word I use for the unexpected. In this case, I should think ‘interesting’ would suffice." – Mr. Spock

12-6, 23-8 (17) Oklahoma

11-7, 22-9 Texas

11-7, 23-7 (16) Iowa State

10-8, 20-11 Kansas State

9-9, 17-14 West Virginia

9-9, 21-10 Baylor

8-10, 20-11 Oklahoma State

"I know what time it is. I don't need a bloomin' cuckoo clock." – Montgomery Scott

6-12, 14-17 Texas Tech

"I don’t know, Jim. This is a big ship. I’m just a country doctor." – Leonard "Bones" McCoy

0-18, 9-21 Texas Christian

Those are your final standings, based on seeding in the Big 12 Tourney. What a cluster in the middle of the Big 12! Texas Tech even made it look respectable with a win on the last day of conference play. The league has a good shot at getting eight teams into the NCAA tournament.

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

(10) Kansas, 23-8, 14-4

Last week: win vs Texas Tech 82-57, loss @ West Virginia 92-86

Big 12 Tourney: vs OSU/TTU winner, 2:00 PM, Thursday, March 13, ESPN2

Kansas misses Joel Embiid. It remains to be seen how well the Jayhawks can function with a prolonged absence of their 7-foot center. They can probably still win the Big 12 and earn a 2-seed in the NCAA Tournament, but the bigger question is whether or not they’ll be able to make any sort of meaningful run. They are definitely a battle tested group, both non-con and in conference. For an illustration of the Big 12’s depth, consider, KU’s four conference losses were to the #3, #5, #6, and #8 teams in the league, all on the road.

(17) Oklahoma, 23-8, 12-6

Last week: win vs West Virginia 72-62, win @ TCU 97-67

Big 12 Tourney: vs BU/TCU winner, 6:00 PM, Thursday, March 13, Big 12 Network/ESPN3

The Sooners wrapped up a solid season with two victories and clinched the 2-seed in the Big 12 Tourney. Lots of offense has buoyed Oklahoma all season long. Pretty much the only other team to pick up meaningful road wins in conference play besides Kansas was OU; they won at Texas, Baylor, Tech, Oklahoma State, and like everyone else, at TCU.

Texas, 22-9, 11-7

Last week: win vs TCU 66-54, loss @ Texas Tech 59-53

Big 12 Tourney: vs West Virginia, 8:30 PM, Thursday, March 13, Big 12 Network/ESPN3

The Longhorns have also been slumping lately, with three losses in their last five games. The only two wins during that stretch were home games, Baylor by 5 and TCU by 12. Texas had ripped off seven in a row at one point, including a thrashing of Kansas. Texas will want to recapture some of that if possible in Kansas City in an attempt to get some momentum going for the NCAAs.

(16) Iowa State, 23-7, 11-7

Last week: loss @ Baylor 74-61, win vs Oklahoma State 85-81 (OT)

Big 12 Tourney: vs Kansas State, 11:30 AM, Thursday, March 13, ESPN2

The Cyclones won a thrilling game in Hilton over Oklahoma State to wrap up the season. The ISU student section gets bonus points for "flopping" when Marcus Smart was announced during the starting lineups. Prior to that the Cyclones had dropped two in a row, albeit road games at KSU and Baylor. The ‘Clone fans travel well, especially to KC, so if you’re going to the tournament, be nice! ISU has the potential to be a sleeper pick in both the conference tourney and the NCAA should they be able to light it up from behind the arc.

Kansas State, 20-11, 10-8

Last week: loss @ Oklahoma State 77-61, loss vs Baylor 76-74

Big 12 Tourney: vs (16) Iowa State, 11:30 AM, Thursday, March 13, ESPN2

Oh, Kansas State. You silly, silly Wildcats. Kansas State continues the apparent trend in the Big 12 of not finishing the season strong, losing their last two and three of their final five. KSU dropped a home game for the first time since Northern Colorado came to town, losing to the Baylor Bears on senior night. KSU also Marcus Flopped in Stillwater a few games before that, not able to hang with the Cowboys in the second half of a 16 point loss.

West Virginia, 17-14, 9-9

Last week: loss @ (17) Oklahoma 72-62, win vs (10) Kansas 92-86

Big 12 Tourney: vs Texas, 8:30 PM, Thursday, March 13, Big 12 Network/ESPN3

So, people are talking about a team that lost to Virginia Tech (and Missouruh) earlier this year as a possible contestant for one of the Last Four In. I’m not sure about that, I think the Mountaineers have some work to do yet. But, the opportunity is definitely in front of them. The ‘Eers dropped a roadie at Oklahoma, but then punched Kansas in the face in Morgantown in the final regular season game. The Jayhawks stumbled but fought back behind Andrew Wiggins. It just wasn’t enough, and WVU has their marquee, signature win for the season. Oh, and Huggins picked up a cool 25k bonus for beating KU.

Baylor, 21-10, 9-9

Last week: win vs (16) Iowa State 74-61, win @ Kansas State 76-74

Big 12 Tourney: vs TCU, 8:30 PM, Wednesday, March 12, Big 12 Network/ESPN3

"da Bears" are finally playing better basketball. Granted, Baylor had an extremely frontloaded schedule, but nobody had beat K-State in Manhattan in conference play until Baylor came along. The Bears have won 7 of their last 8, the only loss being a roadie in Austin by 5 points. Four of those wins were TCU and KSU. Baylor will try to keep TCU winless in conference play on the first day of the Big 12 Tournament.

Oklahoma State, 20-11, 8-10

Last week: win vs Kansas State 77-61, loss @ (16) Iowa State 85-81 (OT)

Big 12 Tourney: vs Texas Tech, 6:00 PM, Wednesday, March 12, Big 12 Network/ESPN3

So much for "Oklahoma State has won every game since Marcus Smart’s suspension ended." Iowa State took care of that with the assistance of a little Hilton Magic. Wait… can we attribute Hilton Magic to Travis Ford’s decision to not foul at the end of a game up by 3 points? Sure we can. The Cowboys will take on Texas Tech in the 8/9 game for the right to play Kansas again.

Texas Tech, 14-17, 6-12

Last week: loss @ (10) Kansas 82-57, win vs Texas 59-53

Big 12 Tourney: vs Oklahoma State, 6:00 PM, Wednesday, March 12, Big 12 Network/ESPN3

After putting on the meat necklace one more time for senior night in Lawrence, the Red Raiders surprised Texas in Lubbock and pulled out their sixth victory of the year. What Tubby Smith has done with what he has available is actually pretty impressive. Texas Tech was competitive in every game except two (@ Okla St, @ Kansas). We’ll see if Tech can pull off the minor miracle and give Marcus Smart something to flop about.

Texas Christian, 9-21, 0-18

Last week: loss @ Texas 66-54, loss vs (17) Oklahoma 97-67

Big 12 Tourney: vs Baylor, 8:30 PM, Wednesday, March 12, Big 12 Network/ESPN3

So here we are, and the Horned Frogs have completed the imperfect season. Can they keep it going in the Big 12 Tourney? Considering they lost to Baylor during the year by 26 and 33… let’s just say… it doesn’t look good.

Questions to consider:

What does West Virginia have to do to make the NCAA Tournament?

Who has a more difficult job, Charlie Weis or Trent Johnson?

Does Marcus Smart realize he’s becoming a caricature?

How far can Kansas go without Embiid?

Who will win the Big 12 Tournament?