Big 12 Basketball

Top Five Takeaways From Tuesday’s Big 12 Basketball Games

Jan 6, 2024; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs head coach Jamie Dixon reacts during the first half against the TCU Horned Frogs at Allen Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Here are five thoughts on the Big 12 Conference men’s and women’s basketball games on Tuesday, as the league plays its remaining games for January.

So what happened? The only Top 25 matchup in the country during the week took place in Fort Worth as TCU hosted Texas Tech. Kansas was a player down, Oklahoma made Kansas State look like it was a player down and West Virginia’s JJ Quinerly put together another impressive game.

Here are five thoughts on the day.

 

Horned Frogs Roll

The margins are small, but TCU has a three-game winning streak. That’s like finding gold when it comes to playing in the Big 12.

The Horned Frogs’ 85-78 win over Texas Tech came three days after beating Baylor, 105-102 in triple overtime. From TCU’s perspective, this was a blowout. TCU’s previous five games were decided by a combined 14 points.

In fact, ESPN noted during the broadcast that no conference has had more games decided by five or fewer points than the Big 12 (that’s most competitive conference in the country kind of stuff).

And, TCU’s last five games against ranked opponents look like this:

All in the last 20 days.

TCU is Emanuel Miller’s team. He’s the leader. But the shooting of guard Trevian Tennyson has become indispensable.

He canned four 3-pointers on eight attempts to finish with 23 points in the win. Tennyson, after a slow start, is shooting 48 percent in Big 12 play from the arc. Oddly, he’s 1-for-12 from the arc against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and 26-for-44 against other Big 12 teams. He deals in volume and high percentages.

Thing is, everyone was hitting for TCU. Micah Peavy hit four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points. Jameer Nelson Jr., just a 25 percent shooter from there, connected on a pair to finish 12 points. Miller had 11 points and JaKobe Coles added 10 points. It was Coles who went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line to ice the game.

Tech got what it needed from guard Pop Issacs, who had 25 points and drained five 3-pointers. Chance McMillian came off the bench again and pumped in 19 points, while Warren Washington added 14 points.

In a game where the shooting numbers were basically equal, it was rebounding (34-27 TCU), offensive rebounds (12-4 TCU) and second-chance points (14-0 TCU) that made the difference.

The loss was Tech’s second in 13 games. It also dropped them a half-game back of Houston for first place in the Big 12. TCU is now in fourth place in league action.

 

No McCullar, No Problem As K-State Struggles

Before Kansas’ game with Oklahoma State, the school announced that Kevin McCullar Jr. was out with an injury. If you’re thinking ahead to Saturday’s massive game with Houston, coach Bill Self said “Hmmm, I don’t know” when ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla asked him if McCullar could play if they were playing Houston on Tuesday.

Instead, Kansas played Oklahoma State and had no issues, taking care of the Cowboys, 83-54.

Self put Elmarko Jackson back in the starting lineup for McCullar had he had his best game in weeks, scoring 10 points and avoiding the inconsistency that removed him from the starting lineup.

In fact, all five Kansas starters scored 10 or more points — Hunter Dickinson (16 points, 11 rebounds), DaJuan Harris Jr. (12 points, seven assists), Johnny Furphy (11 points, six rebounds) and KJ Adams Jr. (16 points).

Dickinson bears watching leading up to Saturday’s game as he tripped on a player’s foot, fell on his left hip and stepped off the floor for some treatment. He later returned.

As for Oklahoma State, the Cowboys lost guard Bryce Thompson early in the game when he landed awkwardly on his shoulder and had to be helped from the floor. Without one of their most experienced players, the Cowboys fell behind by double digits were never in the game.

Jon-Michael Wright led Oklahoma State with 16 points and he passed 2,000 career points. In fact, Dickinson passed 2,000 career points earlier in the game and the duo were the first to pass that milestone in the same game since ESPN has been tracking college basketball in the early 1990s.

In Manhattan, Kansas State failed to score for the first eight points of its game with Oklahoma and, in spite of some spirited play early in the second half, lost 73-53.

The Sooners got great performances from Jalon Moore (23 points), Javian McCollum (21 points), Sam Godwin (11 points) and Rivaldo Soares (10 points). The Sooners won the rebounding battle (39-35) but they dominated points in the paint (40-18).

Kansas State seemed to have a hangover from its loss to Houston. The Wildcats had one of their worst shooting performances in conference play (30 percent). While Tylor Perry had 23 points, Cam Carter scored just five points in 39 minutes. K-State has now lost three straight games.

 

WVU Women Roll

Before Tuesday’s game with UCF, West Virginia guard JJ Quinerly got one of the game’s top weekly awards from the USBWA.

As one of five U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Players of the Week, she claimed the award after she scored a career-high 31 points, along with a team-high six rebounds, five steals and three assists in a win over Iowa State.

She kept right on rolling in WVU’s 84-43 blowout over UCF. She scored 26 points in the victory. The win kept the Mountaineers with just two league losses and within striking distance of the leaders, Kansas State and Oklahoma.

In the other women’s game on Tuesday, Houston beat Cincinnati, 54-46. Cincinnati failed to score a basket in the final 4:44 of the game as Laila Blair led Houston with 15 points.

Kansas State’s Big Accomplishment

The Kansas State women face Oklahoma on Wednesday night as the Wildcats try to remain undefeated in Big 12 action.

But, after ascending to No. 2 in the country this Monday, they’ve already done something that no team in women’s basketball history has ever done.

Yes, as hard as it is to believe, Kansas State was unranked to start the season.

But it’s a tall order this week for the Wildcats. After Oklahoma, the Wildcats play Texas this weekend.  

Oh, and while center Ayoka Lee is hurt she’s still racking up the midseason awards.

 

Wednesday’s Schedule

The Big 12 men get started early on Wednesday so set your watch appropriately. Both games are at 6 p.m. central time, as UCF hosts Baylor and West Virginia hosts Cincinnati. That will wrap up the mid-week for the men.

On the women’s side, along with K-State at Oklahoma at 6 p.m., Iowa State hopes to get back on the winning side of the standings when it hosts Oklahoma State at 6:30 p.m. and Kansas hosts BYU at 6:30 p.m. All three of those games are on ESPN+.

The women’s week wraps up on Thursday with Texas visiting Baylor.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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