In a thrilling game on Monday, Kansas fans took to Twitter to express displeasure in Juwan Staten’s game-winning layup to beat the Jayhawks in Morgantown. This was not the only travel that went uncalled, and having seen Kansas in person twice in the last two years, the Jayhawks have gotten away with a few. That’s just part of the men’s game though. Nevermind that had Perry Ellis handled the most perfect pass I’ve seen in a college game this season better, Kansas would have won this game.
As we near the end of the regular season we have learned plenty about the conference. To break it down, let’s look at the current standings.
1) Kansas – 11-3
The Jayhawks have a clear advantage at home, however all of their struggles are exploited when KU leaves Allen Fieldhouse. Even so, the only three conference losses are at Iowa State, at Oklahoma State and at West Virginia. Hilton, Gallagher-Iba and WVU Coliseum are the most difficult places to play for Kansas (mainly because Allen is their own home court).
2) Iowa State – 10-4
The Cyclones played a tough game at Oklahoma State last week and were able to pull it out. Iowa State (with a few exceptions, namely at Texas Tech) has been able to do that most of the year. The Cyclones seem to be a second-half surge team, like against Kansas, Oklahoma State and West Virginia. It’s not necessarily that they dig themselves a hole, just that teams typically start off hot against them.
3) Oklahoma – 10-5
The Sooners are one of the better shooting teams in the Big 12. While the Sooners live off of their perimeter offense, they also can adapt when the shots aren’t falling and start driving to the rim or dishing it to Ryan Spangler in the post.
4) West Virginia – 9-5
West Virginia has been very quiet. The Mountaineers aren’t exciting to watch because they typically like to take teams out of rhythm. On defense they constantly pressure and it forces their opponents to force opportunities in order to avoid the free throw line.
5) Baylor – 8-6
The Bears are one of the two streaky teams in the Big 12. Baylor has shown signs of struggle, such as defending the perimeter. But their versatile offense combined with the amoebic 2-3/3-2 zone really cause fits for the rest of the conference.
6) Oklahoma State – 7-8
The Cowboys aren’t streaky, just one-dimensional. The Pokes can’t rebound and they live or die off of the 3. Lately, that’s killed them. Oklahoma State also has a bad habit of playing defense out of position, leading to foul trouble.
7) Texas – 6-8
Texas turned out to be immature this season. Until the Longhorns grow up, they are going to be inconsistent at best. One thing the Horns can do is run the floor with anybody. Texas has arguably the best transition game in the Big 12, but are inconsistent in a half-court set.
8) Kansas State – 6-9
The other streaky Big 12 team. Kansas State has the potential to be dangerous. A lack of maturity on their roster and still being in the transitional phase between coaches helps understand their inconsistency. Next year, look for K-State to be near the top half of the conference.
9) TCU – 3-11
The Horned Frogs are much improved from a year ago. Three wins including Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Kansas State in Big 12 play and they played Kansas tough both times they met. TCU could still make the tournament with a strong performance in their final four games and a solid run in the Big 12 Tournament in two weeks.
10) Texas Tech – 2-13
The Red Raiders are the conference’s lone truly bad team. Texas Tech has pulled out two wins, but they look young. Norense Odiase shows the potential of being an all-conference post, but is only a true freshman. Give Tubby Smith some time and a couple of more recruits and the Raiders will be good to go. But this year, not so much.
The Big 12 Championships start March 11 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Until then, teams have either three or four games remaining. Expect Kansas to win their 11th straight Big 12 Championship, Iowa State to finish 2nd and Texas Tech to bring up the rear. Time will only tell how 3-9 turn out.
Week 15 Results:
No. 23 West Virginia 62, No. 8 Kansas 61
No. 20 Baylor 54, Texas Tech 49
No. 17 Oklahoma 71, Texas 69
TCU 69, Kansas State 55
No. 14 Iowa State 70, No. 22 Oklahoma State 65
No. 17 Oklahoma 79, Texas Tech 75 – OT
No. 20 Baylor 69, Kansas State 42
No. 14 Iowa State 85, Texas 77
No. 23 West Virginia 73, No. 22 Oklahoma State 63
No. 8 Kansas 81, TCU 72
Kurt’s Korner Week 15 Record: 7-3
Kurt’s Korner 2014-15 Record: 129-43
Week 16 Schedule and Picks:
No. 8 Kansas over Kansas State
No. 20 West Virginia over Texas
TCU over Texas Tech
No. 19 Baylor over No. 12 Iowa State
No. 16 Oklahoma over TCU
No. 20 West Virginia over No. 19 Baylor
Oklahoma State over Texas Tech
No. 12 Iowa State over Kansas State
No. 8 Kansas over Texas