We’re into the fifth week of the college basketball season and we have more Big 12 winners and some losers to dig into.
We’re past the holiday tournaments. Athletes are starting to gear up for exams and the holiday break. We’re less than 30 days away from the start of the Big 12 women’s basketball season on Dec. 30. The men follow the next weekend.
Every Thursday I’ll break down the biggest winners and the biggest losers for the first half of the week. Every weekend, we’ll hit the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Big 12 basketball.
Here we go.
Winner: Tylor Perry Is a Bad Man
For the second straight game, Kansas State guard Tylor Perry made a key basket in the clutch for the Wildcats. This time it was the game-winner in the final seconds for the Wildcats against Villanova on Tuesday.
On Sunday against North Alabama, his basket sent that game to overtime.
Perry is one of three Wildcats averaging at least 16 points per game, along with Arthur Kaluma and Cam Carter. Kansas State is also undefeated at home.
Kansas State has now won four straight and the Wildcats get another shot at a high-major win when it goes to LSU on Saturday. K-State’s two losses this season have come against high-major teams (USC, Miami), but both were also ranked at the time.
Loser: Kansas State Basketball And Nae’Qwan Tomlin
The news of Nae’Qwan Tomlin’s dismissal from Kansas State basketball reverberated after a Wednesday in which he took to Instagram and asked for his freedom and K-State students protested university president Richard Linton, who was perceived by some on social media as standing in the way of Tomlin’s reinstatement.
I don’t know that for certain. But I know athletic director Gene Taylor’s name was on the release and that shortly after the news broke he was in a very public place if anyone wanted to voice their displeasure — the Kansas State women’s basketball game.
AD Gene Taylor at the women’s basketball game at the time of his recent press release on Nae’Qwan Tomlin. pic.twitter.com/pdy2WvUmZ6— Toby Hammes (@toby_hammes) December 7, 2023
I’m guessing no one did.
Taylor didn’t disclose why the decision was being made. But there was one piece of his statement that, if you’re reading through the subtext, that to me said it all.
“K-State athletics can now share that Nae’Qwan Tomlin will no longer be able to continue with the K-State men’s basketball team,” Taylor said in the release.
“… will no longer be able to continue …” I’ve seen a lot of dismissal press releases in my time. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen that phrasing.
Do with that information as you will.
As for Tomlin, this stinks in many ways, not the least of which is that given the NCAA climate on waivers, I’m not sure he could get a waiver to play next semester somewhere else.
But, if he can, may I suggest West Virginia? Their head coach, Josh Eilert, was talking the other day like they were looking at mid-season options.
Boy, wouldn’t that be a date to circle on the calendar?
Winner: The Big 12 Men (over the Big EAST)
Tuesday was a good night for the Big 12 in their annual Big 12-Big EAST Battle.
Baylor beat Seton Hall, 78-60, Oklahoma beat Providence, 72-51, and Kansas State outlasted Villanova in overtime, 72-71. With those wins, the Big 12 has six wins and will win this year’s challenge.
I know K-State coach Jerome Tang said before the game that he really didn’t think the league gets much out of the Battle. I hope he reconsiders after Tuesday. If nothing else, I think basketball fans and the game get something out of this kind of format. We also get some really good games out of it.
Or, were those of you that watched Villanova vs. K-State not entertained? Yes, yes you were.
Loser: Oklahoma State vs. Southern Illinois
For the second straight year, Oklahoma State faced Southern Illinois in non-conference and lost. This year, however, it was on the road in Carbondale, Ill.
Before you go “bad loss,” SIU was 5-2 going into that game with a NET rating of 80. That was actually well ahead of OSU (196 going into the game). The Cowboys actually got a 19-point boost out of that loss, oddly enough.
But for a program like Oklahoma State, it’s hard to explain away losses like this. These are games the Cowboys are supposed to win.
It also scares off high-major games from scheduling games like this, where they go on the road to one of the schools, something that would actually really help out these mid-major programs.
In the short term, the Cowboys have a month to figure all of this out before Big 12 play begins.
Winner: West Virginia Women
The West Virginia women got their first Top 25 win of the season when the Mountaineers defeated No. 25 Penn State, 83-65, The win also pushed the Mountaineers to 8-0 and gave coach Mark Kellogg his first Top 25 win as head coach.
It was the first time that WVU beat Penn State since 1989. These Nittany Lions also beat Kansas earlier this year, so this is a significant win for WVU.
Plus, the Mountaineers are 8-0 for just the sixth time in program history. It marks the best start to a season since 2018 when WVU opened the season 13-0.
Kellogg has imported his brand of basketball — stifling defense and creating off those mistakes in a “Press Virginia” type of style that he’s coached his entire career — and it fits his personnel, specifically JJ Quinerly, like a glove.
The Mountaineers appear to be on their way to an undefeated season going into their Big 12 opener against Kansas, which will pit two former SFA head coaches against each other. Kellogg succeeded Kansas coach Brandon Schneider when he left to take over the Jayhawks.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.