The Big 12 Conference is done with Week 12 of the 2021-22 men’s basketball season. So let’s dive in and check out our five takeaways for the week.
The Biggest Big 12 Winner and Loser from Big 12-SEC
There was nothing more than bragging rights on the line in the Big 12-SEC Challenge. The SEC won, 6-4, and probably the best thing is that both conferences received a little more NCAA NET help. But one team really helped their case and one team really hurt their case when it comes to the NCAA Tournament.
TCU was the biggest winner. The Horned Frogs’ upset of No. 18 LSU at home was their second win over a ranked team in their last three games and it may well have solidified their NCAA Tournament case. LSU is going to the ‘Big Dance’ no matter what. TCU will have to fight its way in as an at-large team (I don’t see it winning the Big 12 Tournament title). Now, a lot can happen between now and Selection Sunday. But that was a huge Quad One win for TCU, and with nearly every Big 12 game moving forward being either a Quad One or Two game, TCU can keep building its case.
West Virginia is in deep trouble now. The Mountaineers were already on the bubble going into the Arkansas game, but that loss on the road will likely kick WVU off the bubble and out of the field entirely when ESPN’s Bracketology comes out on Tuesday. Now, Joe Lunardi isn’t the selection committee, of course. And the Big 12’s overall strength as a conference gives the Mountaineers some chances to claim some helpful victories (starting with Monday’s game with Baylor). But it looks like West Virginia has to fight its way in now, and right now the Mountaineers, as I noted after the Oklahoma loss, look disjointed.
I Know Baylor Lost on Saturday But …
The Bears are about to add another week to that second set of numbers from this graphic ESPN flashed up during Saturday’s game.
More Jordan Goldwire
Oklahoma has a consistency problem with Tanner Groves right now. Granted, Groves remains the Big 12’s best shooter by percentage. And he’s coming off a week in which he scored 21 points against West Virginia and 13 points against Auburn. But I watched both of his games this week and … something is not quite right. There’s a lack of flow to his game right now. He’s a veteran player and he can work his way out of that. But it’s probably no coincidence that the lack of flow in his game coincides with the Sooners going 1-4 in the last five games.
The Sooners need more offense, and they need to get it from their veteran transfer, Jordan Goldwire. He scored 19 points against Auburn on Saturday. But, he also posted 15 points against Kansas on Jan. 18 and 12 points against TCU on Jan. 15. He wanted to transfer to a place where he could look for his shot first while helping to set up other players.
While Groves tries to work out of this stretch, it’s time for Goldwire to look for his shot more often. And a week in which the Sooners face TCU and Oklahoma State — two winnable games — would be a perfect time to do so.
Kansas Has a BIG Week Ahead
After an embarrassing 18-point loss at home to Kentucky, the Kansas Jayhawks have to be smarting. But, this is the Big 12, so there’s no rest. Like, none. And Kansas — which right now has a one-game lead on the field faces a huge week to try and maintain that edge.
On Tuesday, Kansas goes to Iowa State. While the Cyclones have certainly had their struggles on offense, they’re coming off a week in which they scored 84 points on Oklahoma State in overtime and then beat Missouri by holding them to 50 points. I wouldn’t say the Cyclones have figured out the offensive struggles I referenced here last week. But, they are CAPABLE of scoring in high numbers, and Kansas is coming off two games in which their defense struggled, giving up 91 points to Texas Tech in double overtime and then 80 points to Kentucky.
Then, on Saturday, the Jayhawks host Baylor. I know its Allen Fieldhouse and head coach Bill Self has only lost there 16 times, but Baylor is one of those teams that has beaten Kansas in Lawrence. The game may hinge on whether LJ Cryer can play for Baylor.
If Kansas sweeps the week, it will have at least a two-game lead on the field with nine more league games left. Not insurmountable, of course. But it gives the Jayhawks a little breathing room. Lose one or both of those games and some combination of Baylor, Texas Tech or Texas are still within a game, depending upon how things go down elsewhere in the league.
Three Games That Intrigue Me This Week
Kansas at Iowa State, Tuesday: The Cyclones gets the Jayhawks at home and this is probably their best shot at upsetting the Jayhawks.
Texas at Texas Tech, Tuesday: Gosh, I wonder what could happen?
Baylor at Kansas, Saturday: The first of two meetings between the conference’s two best teams.