The Big 12 season is over and Texas Tech and Kansas State are the co-champions. As we prepare for the Big 12 Tournament, we break that down and more in this week’s Big 12 Basketball Good, Bad and Ugly.
THE BIG 12 TITLE IS SHARED
Kansas State and Texas Tech took care of business this week. Both the Wildcats and Red Raiders won both games this week and ended up sharing the Big 12 title, marking the first time in 15 years the team in Lawrence, Kansas, hasn’t won or shared the regular-season crown. As you might, expect, happiness is hardware.
This thing is a lot heavier than it looks. Red Raider Nation, Tech students & ALL former players, thank you and enjoy. We are just getting started. #4:1 pic.twitter.com/0jn3UfS1VF
— Chris Beard (@CoachBeardTTU) March 9, 2019
— K-State Men’s Basketball (@KStateMBB) March 10, 2019
Kansas State will be the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 Tournament by virtue of the tiebreaker system. Since Tech and K-State split their series, the tie is broken by one team’s better record against the next-place team in the standings. So, since the third-place team is Kansas, and both Tech and K-State split with Kansas, the tiebreaker fell to fourth-place Baylor. K-State swept the Bears, but the Bears split with Tech. So that’s why the Red Raiders are the No. 2 seed.
For Kansas State it’s the Wildcats’ first Big 12 regular-season title since 2013 (shared with, naturally, Kansas). For the Red Raiders it’s their first Big 12 regular-season title ever. The last time the Red Raiders won a league crown in men’s basketball was in the Southwest Conference in 1996.
There were plenty of Senior Nights this week in the Big 12. But at Kansas State it meant just a little more for Barry Brown Jr., Dean Wade and Kamau Stokes, part of perhaps the most celebrated senior class in program history. So Kansas State did it right in the days leading up to the final home game against Oklahoma.
— K-State Men’s Basketball (@KStateMBB) March 8, 2019
— K-State Men’s Basketball (@KStateMBB) March 7, 2019
— K-State Men’s Basketball (@KStateMBB) March 6, 2019
Whatever happens in Kansas City and beyond, these three players have changed the landscape of Kansas State basketball.
THE LAST-PLACE TEAMS HAVE A GREAT FINAL WEEK
Oklahoma State and West Virginia will likely have a short stay in Kansas City this week. But leading up to the tournament both teams had big moments in the final week of the Big 12 schedule.
West Virginia upended Iowa State during its final home game, 90-75. The Mountaineers had a tremendous game, as Jermaine Haley scored 28 points, while Derek Culver and Lamont West each had double-doubles.
Then, on Saturday, Oklahoma State defeated West Virginia in Stillwater, 85-77. While Culver had another double-double, the Cowboys saw Lindy Waters III lead with 19 points, one of five Cowboys in double figures. The Cowboys were coming off a game in which they nearly defeated Baylor on the road.
Good things are ahead for both teams next year. Bank on it.
BIG 12 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
Pete Mundo and I will be in Kansas City this week for the Big 12 Tournament. Here’s the schedule. If you see us, stop by and say hello (all times EST).
Wednesday, No. 8 TCU vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State, 7 p.m., ESPNU
Wednesday, No. 7 Oklahoma vs. No. 10 West Virginia, 9 p.m., ESPNU
Thursday, No. 4 Baylor vs. No. 5 Iowa State, 12:30 p.m., ESPN2
Thursday, No. 1 Kansas State vs. 8/9 Winner, 2:30 p.m., ESPN2
Thursday, No. 2 Texas Tech vs. 7/10 Winner, 7 p.m., ESPN2
Thursday, No. 3 Kansas vs. No. 6 Texas 9 p.m., ESPN2
Friday, 1-8/9 Winner vs. 4/5 Winner, 7 p.m., ESPN2
Friday, 2-7/10 Winner vs. 3/6 Winner, 9 p.m. ESPN2
Saturday, March 16, Winners of Semifinal Matchups, 6 p.m. ESPN
THE STREAK IS DEAD
OK, so it’s ONLY bad for Kansas, but it had to end sometime. And on Tuesday, it ended, as Kansas fell to Oklahoma and the Jayhawks’ 14-year run as Big 12 regular-season champs came to a close. Here’s my story on the game.
— Matthew Postins (@PostinsPostcard) March 6, 2019
But if you think the season is over for Kansas, history says otherwise.
For the 7th time in 16 seasons the Kansas #Jayhawks have gone undefeated in Allen Field House under Coach Bill Self.
4 of the previous 6 made it to at least the Elite 8. #KUbball
— Creighton Coover (@kucr8ton) March 9, 2019
WILL THE BUBBLE BURST?
Going into the Big 12 Tournament no two teams’ potential bids to the NCAA Tournament is on more tenuous footing that those of TCU and Texas. And on Saturday TCU may have gotten a bit of a helper by beating the Longhorns on the road. Now, TCU plays on Day 1 of the Big 12 Tournament and faces Oklahoma State. That represents a chance for the Horned Frogs to get to 20 wins for the season, which could help their cause. Meanwhile Texas faces Kansas in the late game on Thursday and a loss for the Longhorns means they’ll have a .500 record going into the selection process for the tournament. In most seasons that would consign the Longhorns to the NIT. But that may not be the case this year because the Pac-12 is so down as a league. After Saturday’s action ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi had both TCU and Texas in the Tournament, and he had the Longhorns as a higher seed. But there’s another week ahead and a lot of basketball left to be played.
If the Big 12 Tournament goes the way I think it will, either TCU or Texas will be in the NIT.
PLEASE WATCH GAMES
I’m committed to covering the Big 12 as best I can, and that usually means watching 5-6 games a week, at least. Based on that I can tell you many things about this conference and its players. I can tell you, for instance, that Texas forward Jaxson Hayes is a promising player with a great skill set that, should he decide to remain in school after this season (he’s a rumored NBA Lottery pick) he could be one of the best players in the league next season. Note that I said, next season.
But this season? No, not this season. But sportingnews.com, previewing the Big 12 Tournament next week, had its own ideas.
From a story about the #Big12MBB on http://t.co/1mrMwDo1VL. I like Hayes as a player, don’t get me wrong. But “likely best player in Big 12?” Are you serious? Culver? Lawson? Shayok? Brown? Wade? Robinson? And that’s a partial list.
— Matthew Postins (@PostinsPostcard) March 10, 2019
I’m not one for calling out other publications. But if you’re going to make a statement like that, know what you’re talking about.
BIG 12 STANDINGS
— Matthew Postins (@PostinsPostcard) March 10, 2019
Monday, March 4
Texas Tech 70, Texas 51
Kansas State 64, TCU 52
Tuesday, March 5
Oklahoma 81, Kansas 68
Wednesday, March 6
West Virginia 90, Iowa State 75
Oklahoma State at Baylor, 8 p.m., ESPN2
Saturday, March 9
TCU 69, Texas 56
Texas Tech 80, Iowa State 73
Kansas 78, Baylor 70
Oklahoma State 85, West Virginia 77
Kansas State 68, Oklahoma 53
20-point games: Desmond Bane, TCU, 34 (vs. Texas, March 9); Jared Butler, Baylor, 31 (vs. Kansas, March 9); Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech, 31 (vs. Iowa State, March 9); Kristian Doolittle, Oklahoma, 24 (vs. Kansas, March 5); Jermaine Haley, West Virginia, 28 (vs. Iowa State, March 6); Dedric Lawson, Kansas, 23 (vs. Baylor, March 9); Isaac Likekele, Oklahoma State, 23 (vs. Baylor, March 6); Brady Manek, Oklahoma, 21 (vs. Kansas, March 5); Davide Moretti, Texas Tech, 20 (vs. Iowa State, March 9).
10-rebound games: Derek Culver, West Virginia, 11 (vs. Iowa State, March 6) 21, (vs. Oklahoma State, March 9); Kristian Doolittle, Oklahoma, 11 (vs. Kansas, March 5); Dedric Lawson, Kansas, 11 (vs. Oklahoma, March 5), 14 (vs. Baylor, March 9); Tariq Owens, Texas Tech, 14 (vs. Iowa State, March 9); Mark Vital, Baylor, 10 (vs. Oklahoma State, March 6); Lamont West, West Virginia, 12 (vs. Iowa State, March 6).
5-assist games: Jamal Bieniemy, Oklahoma, 8 (vs. Kansas, March 5); Quentin Grimes, Kansas, 5 (vs. Baylor, March 9); Isaac Likekele, Oklahoma State, 6 (vs. Baylor, March 6), 9 (vs. West Virginia, March 9); Makai Mason, Baylor, 5 (vs. Oklahoma State, March 6); Jordan McCabe, West Virginia, 5 (vs. Iowa State, March 6), 5 (vs. Oklahoma State, March 9); Matt Mooney, Texas Tech, 5 (vs. Iowa State, March 9); Courtney Ramey, Texas, 5 (vs. TCU, March 9); Alex Robinson, TCU, 6 (vs. Kansas State, March 4) 5 (vs. Texas, March 9); Kamau Stokes, Kansas State, 6 (vs. Oklahoma, March 9); Dean Wade, Kansas State, 5 (vs. TCU, March 4).
4-block games: Yor Anei, Oklahoma State, 6 (vs. Baylor, March 6), 8 (vs. West Virginia, March 9).
4-steal games: Xavier Sneed, Kansas State, 5 (vs. Oklahoma, March 9).
Double-doubles: Derek Culver, West Virginia, 15 points, 11 rebounds (vs. Iowa State, March 6), 16 points, 21 rebounds (at Oklahoma State, March 9); Kristian Doolittle, Oklahoma, 24 points, 11 rebounds (vs. Kansas, March 5); Dedric Lawson, Kansas, 18 points, 11 rebounds (vs. Oklahoma, March 5), 23 points, 14 rebounds (vs. Baylor, March 9).
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