Big 12 Basketball

Three Thoughts on Tuesday’s Big 12 Men’s Basketball Games

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-National Championship-Kansas vs North Carolina

The Big 12 has two games on Tuesday night, with Oklahoma State hosting Kansas and Oklahoma hosting Kansas State. Here are three thoughts on the night.

Kansas Outlasts Oklahoma State

Kansas (21-5, 9-4 in Big 12) beat Oklahoma State, 87-76, in a game that was all about offensive execution. Against OSU (16-10, 7-6) and its elite defense, the Jayhawks managed to shoot better than 50 percent and four players were in double figures. Gradey Dick had a career game with 26 points. But KJ Adams and Kevin McCullar had 15 points each while Jalen Wilson had 14 points.


Watch McCullar this week. He turned his ankle late in the game and didn’t return.

The Kansas offense executed efficiently most of the evening, running its weave play to great effect several times. The Jayhawks were great in transition (20 fast-break points) and when Kansas is great in transition you can’t slow them down.

The thing is, Oklahoma State was darned good on offense, too. The Cowboys shot 50 percent and got huge games from Kalib Boone (27 points) and Bryce Thompson (17 points). John-Michael Wright had six 3-pointers and 18 points. The only Big 12 game in which Oklahoma State has scored more points was its 79 points against TCU.

What happened? Turnovers. The Cowboys committed 15 and Kansas scored 16 points off those turnovers. Kansas had 11 steals to Oklahoma State’s two. In that respect, Kansas turned the tables on Oklahoma State and beat the second-hottest team in the Big 12 (you know about Baylor, right?).

Oklahoma Upends Kansas State

Oklahoma (13-13, 3-10) was a desperate team as it hosted Kansas State (19-7, 7-6) and that desperation won out as the Sooners ended a four-game losing streak, 79-65.

Oklahoma shot 51 percent from the floor and got scoring out of four different players — Grant Sherfield (22 points), Tanner Groves (16 points), Milos Uzan (13 points) and Jalen Hill (12 points). That’s the group that has to produce if the Sooners are going to make some kind of a run to end this season.


The Sooners shot 61 percent from the floor in the second half and outscored the Wildcats, 43-29, in the final 20 minutes.

Nae’Qwan Tomlin had a great game for the Wildcats (17 points, 10 rebounds). But the two players that really stir the drink for the Wildcats didn’t produce as usual. Markquis Nowell had 14 points and Keyontae Johnson had 14 points. But Johnson only had four rebounds and the pair struggled shooting for the first 30 minutes. Abayomi Iyiola added 11 points.

Kansas State shot poorly from the 3-point line (20 percent) and only led for 10 minutes. The formula that worked a month ago isn’t working now.

The Big 12 Race Right Now

So, now we have a three-way tie for first place in the Big 12. Texas, Baylor and Kansas are all 9-4 in league action. And we won’t have to wait long to see at least one team fall out of that tie. Kansas hosts Baylor on Saturday in a contest that will feature the ESPN Gameday crew on-site. Baylor is playing great basketball. Kansas appears to be doing the same.


Meanwhile, Texas will host Oklahoma on Saturday at the Moody Center, where Texas has just one loss this season. The Sooners, as noted, are the desperate team. If Texas wins, it will be tied with the KU-BU winner for first place. If the Longhorns lose, then the KU-BU winner is alone in first.

TCU and Iowa State play on Wednesday, and now Iowa State has a golden opportunity to stay in fourth place by itself with a win, thanks to the losses by Kansas State and Oklahoma State. There’s plenty on the line for TCU, too. The Horned Frogs are a game behind Iowa State and now have the same amount of losses as KSU and OSU. If the Horned Frogs win, then guess what? KSU, ISU, OSU and TCU would be in a four-way logjam for fourth place going into the weekend.

That’s just nuts.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

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