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Big 12 Basketball Week 4: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Kentucky

The Big 12 and SEC tangled this weekend in the Big 12-SEC Challenge so most of this week’s Big 12 Basketball Good, Bad and Ugly will revolve around that, plus one of the rumors I hope you didn’t fall for this weekend.

THE GOOD

BAYLOR’S GETTING GOOD

I was in Waco for Saturday’s game between Alabama and Baylor and I can tell you that the Bears winning five of their last six and sneaking into this Big 12 Conference race is not a fluke. This is a good team. They’re undermanned without Tristan Clark. But head coach Scott Drew is finding ways to win with a small lineup and a blossoming bench. But why drone on about it here when you can just read my story below?

BIG 12-SEC CHALLENGE, 11 A.M.

By the time the first set of Big 12-SEC Challenge games were complete the Big 12 had a 3-0 lead. Not only had Baylor bested Alabama, but TCU outlasted Florida and Iowa State defeated Ole Miss. The big one was the Iowa State win. The Cyclones were on the road and flat out dominated another ranked team. That should solidify their Top 25 ranking for next week, despite losing to Kansas on Monday (and we’ll get to what the Jayhawks did on Saturday in a bit). Plus, the Cyclones put up the best field goal percentage of any Division I team in a single game so far this season — 69.1 percent.


THE BIG 12-SEC CHALLENGE RENEWAL

On Saturday the Big 12, the Southeastern Conference and ESPN announced a six-year extension of their agreement to play the Big 12-SEC Challenge. This is great news for the conference, which enters into a similar deal with the Big East next season. The Big 12 took the challenge this year, winning six of the 10 games.

“The extension of this preeminent basketball series assures our teams and fans high quality intersectional match-ups for years to come,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a release. “We are pleased to continue our partnership with the SEC and ESPN to deliver these games for the next six years.”

TECH ENDS ITS SLIDE

Man, Texas Tech needed that win on Saturday, beating Arkansas by 3 points, 67-64. The Red Raiders had lost to Iowa State, Baylor and Kansas State going into that game, and with TCU and KU coming down the pipe next week, a win was paramount for them. The Red Raiders had to hang on for dear life in the final minutes to make it happen. But this win gets them the stink of that losing streak off of them.

HORNED FROGS, SOONERS BOUNCE BACK

Both TCU and Oklahoma were coming off losses going into this past week and the Sooners had lost two straight. So going 2-0 this week certainly puts both teams back on track. For TCU Kouat Noi had a big week, notching a double-double against Texas on Wednesday and then scoring 22 points against Florida. Opponents are having trouble with his length, and along with that his 3-point shooting continues to force teams to monitor him the full 94 feet. OU blasted Oklahoma State on the road and then did the same to Vanderbilt at home. TCU faces a substantial week with road games at Texas Tech and Baylor. The Horned Frogs would be happy with a split. Meanwhile OU hopes to cool off Baylor on Monday and then travels to West Virginia (ask Kansas what can happen in Morgantown).

 

THE BAD

BIG 12-SEC CHALLENGE, MID-DAY GAMES

After the good vibrations of the early games, the Big 12 kinda screwed that up with the middle section. Yes, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State both won. But Texas went on the road, scored 88 points and still lost to Georgia by 10 points. Kansas State went on the road and simply laid an egg against Texas A&M, losing by 12. And, West Virginia, well, I think we all knew the Mountaineers were going to lose that game against the nation’s No. 1 team. So, if you went on the road during the mid-day games, that was that.  

THE LONGHORNS’ LOST WEEK

Well, this past week isn’t going to get Texas head coach Shaka Smart off a warming seat in Austin anytime soon. While Texas surely has some great pieces on the floor, it isn’t coming together the way Smart hoped to start this season. This week turned particularly brutal. Texas followed their win in Austin last Saturday with a road loss to TCU — that was entirely winnable — and then falling to Georgia on the road despite scoring 88 points. The pieces are there. From the guard tandem of Matt Coleman and Kerwin Roach to the emerging talent of Jaxson Hayes in the post, plus the steadiness of forward Dylan Osetkowski, the Longhorns have enough talent to find equilibrium in this league. But they’re not getting there. What’s the problem? Honestly, I’m not sure. And when you look at the team and you’re not sure, you start looking at lot harder at the head coach.

THE UGLY

BIG 12-SEC CHALLENGE, LATE GAMES (WELL, KANSAS, REALLY)

The marquee game of the Big 12-SEC Challenge was Kansas’ trip to Kentucky. It didn’t go as planned. Sure, Dedric Lawson had a huge game once again, but the rest of the Jayhawks struggled. Lagerald Vick went most of the second half without attempting a field goal. Emerging star Marcus Garrett had 4 points. And down the stretch Kentucky got it done. The Jayhawks are now 6-3 since Big 12 play began. Warning lights aren’t going off in Lawrence, but this was one of those games where, if you’re the Big 12, you had hoped Kansas would pull it out. The Jayhawks didn’t.

WEST VIRGINIA GETS ON THE WRONG PLANE (NOT)

This is why Twitter sometimes stinks. As I covered the Alabama-Baylor game I saw this rather odd tweet that involved West Virginia.


OK, so a couple of things wrong here. First, breaking news reporters typically don’t moonlight as a vice-president of anything, much less a fantasy resort in Knoxville, Tenn. Second, I’m pretty sure Milo Ventimiglia has a day job (check the Twitter profile photo). So, I shared the link on our Heartland text chain and then did some checking. I mean, if a major college basketball team went THAT FAR out of their way just to go to a game that would be a major news story, right?

Well, I found a story on it. But it was a story outlining that the story was fake. Dan Wolken, who covers sports for USA Today pointed out that West Virginia actually tweeted out video of its team plane landing in Knoxville the previous night.

Here’s the video.


So, thankfully, I didn’t retweet that little rumor. I’ve been fooled before. Fake Woj and I go way back. But what gets me is that there are people out there who are legitimately attention-seekers who will do anything for a retweet. This joker got nearly 10,000 of them.

Moral of the story? Look for the blue check mark. And while it’s true I don’t have a blue check mark on Twitter, I’m not gonna steer you wrong. Bank on it.

 

BIG 12 STANDINGSConf.All
Kansas (9)5-216-4
Kansas State5-215-5
Baylor4-213-6
Texas Tech (14)4-316-4
Iowa State (24)4-315-5
TCU3-315-4
Oklahoma3-415-5
Texas3-411-9
Oklahoma State2-59-11
West Virginia1-69-11

 

RESULTS

Monday, Jan. 21

Kansas 80, Iowa State 76

Baylor 85, West Virginia 73

Tuesday, Jan. 22

Kansas State 58, Texas Tech 45

Wednesday, Jan. 23

TCU 65, Texas 61

Oklahoma 70 Oklahoma State 61

Saturday, Jan. 26

(Big 12-SEC Challenge)

TCU 55, Florida 50

Baylor 73, Alabama 68

Iowa State 87 Ole Miss 73

Texas A&M 65, Kansas State 53

Oklahoma State 74, South Carolina 70

Georgia 98, Texas 88

Oklahoma 86, Vanderbilt 55

Tennessee 83, West Virginia 66

Texas Tech 67, Arkansas 64

Kentucky 71, Kansas 63

NEXT GAMES (all times CST unless noted)

Monday, Jan. 28

TCU at Texas Tech, 8 p.m., ESPN

Baylor at Oklahoma, 8 p.m., ESPNU

Tuesday, Jan. 29

Kansas at Texas, 6 p.m., ESPN

Wednesday, Jan. 30

West Virginia at Iowa State, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 2

Oklahoma at West Virginia, 12 p.m. EST, ESPN2

Texas at Iowa State, 1 p.m., ESPN2

Texas Tech at Kansas, 3 p.m., CBS

Kansas State at Oklahoma State, 5 p.m., ESPNU

TCU at Baylor, 7 p.m., ESPNU

SUPERLATIVES

20-point games: James Bolden, West Virginia, 22 (vs. Baylor, Jan. 21); Talen Horton-Tucker, Iowa State, 23 (vs. Ole Miss, Jan. 26); Christian James, Oklahoma, 21 (vs. Vanderbilt, Jan. 26); Dedric Lawson, Kansas, 29 (vs. Iowa State, Jan. 21), 20 (vs. Kentucky, Jan. 26); Makai Mason, Baylor, 29 (vs. West Virginia, Jan. 21); Davide Moretti, Texas Tech, 21 (vs. Arkansas, Jan. 26); Kouat Noi, TCU, 22 (vs. Florida, Jan. 26); Marial Shayok, Iowa State, 26 (vs. Kansas, Jan. 21); Lindy Waters, III, Oklahoma State, 20 (vs. Oklahoma, Jan. 23).

10-rebound games: Yor Anei, Oklahoma State, 11 (vs. South Carolina, Jan. 26); Michael Jacobson, Iowa State, 11 (vs. Kansas, Jan. 21); Dedric Lawson, Kansas, 15 (vs. Iowa State, Jan. 21), 15 (vs. Kentucky, Jan. 26); Kouat Noi, TCU, 11 (vs. Texas, Jan. 23); Dylan Osetkowski, Texas, 10 (vs. TCU, Jan. 23); Kevin Samuel, TCU, 13 (vs. Texas, Jan. 23).

5-assist games: Jamal Bieniemy, Oklahoma, 7 (vs. Vanderbilt, Jan. 26); Jared Butler, Baylor, 5 (vs. Alabama, Jan. 26); Kristian Doolittle, Oklahoma, 5 (vs. Oklahoma State, Jan. 23); Devon Dotson, Kansas, 8 (vs. Iowa State, Jan. 21); Tyrese Halliburton, Iowa State, 9 (vs. Ole Miss, Jan. 26); Talen Horton-Tucker, Iowa State, 5 (vs. Ole Miss, Jan. 26); Isaac Likekele, Oklahoma State, 6 (vs. South Carolina, Jan. 26); Rashard Odomes, Oklahoma, 5 (vs. Oklahoma State, Jan. 23); Courtney Ramey, Texas, 5 (vs. TCU, Jan. 23), 5 (vs. Georgia, Jan. 26); Alex Robinson, TCU, 7 (vs. Texas, Jan. 23), 5 (vs. Florida, Jan. 26); Kamau Stokes, Kansas State, 6 (vs. Texas A&M, Jan. 26); Nick Weiler-Babb, Iowa State, 8 (vs. Ole Miss, Jan. 26).

4-block games: Jaxson Hayes, Texas, 5 (vs. TCU, Jan. 23).

4-steal games: Jamal Bieniemy, Oklahoma, 4 (vs. Vanderbilt, Jan. 26); Barry Brown Jr., Kansas State, 4 (vs. Texas A&M, Jan. 26); Matt Coleman III, Texas, 4 (vs. TCU, Jan. 23); Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech, 5 (vs. Kansas State, Jan. 22); Dylan Osetkowski, Texas, 7 (vs. Georgia, Jan. 26).

Double-doubles: Michael Jacobson, Iowa State, 12 points, 11 rebounds (vs. Kansas, Jan. 21); Dedric Lawson, Kansas, 29 points, 15 rebounds (vs. Iowa State, Jan. 21), 20 points, 15 rebounds (vs. Kentucky, Jan. 26); Kouat Noi, TCU, 15 points, 11 rebounds (vs. Texas, Jan. 23).

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