Since Iowa State has decided that, yes, they want to factor into meaningful basketball after the month of January, we figured it's time to start taking a look at what's happening in that funny little conference we call home.
Big 12 Conference Standings
Big 12 Games this week:
Monday, January 30
Missouri @ Texas (ESPN) 8 PM
Tuesday, January 31
Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech (Big 12 Network) 7 PM
Kansas State @ Iowa State (FSN Midwest/CTN) 8 PM
Wednesday, February 1
Baylor @ Texas A&M (ESPN2) 8 PM
Oklahoma @ Kansas (ESPNU) 8 PM
Saturday, February 4
Baylor @ Oklahoma State (Big 12 Network) 12:30 PM
Texas A&M @ Kansas State (Big 12 Network) 3 PM
Iowa State @ Oklahoma (ESPN2) 5 PM
Texas Tech @ Texas (LHN) 6 PM
Kansas @ Missouri (ESPN) 8 PM
Bonus Big 12 Games
Wyoming @ TCU (mtn.) 7 PM - February 1
TCU @ San Diego State (mtn.) 9 PM - February 4
West Virginia @ Providence (Big East Network) - 11 AM - February 5
- While Iowa State's big upset on Saturday sent shockwaves through college basketball, it impacts our NCAA tournament hopes more than it truly impacts Kansas and the race for the conference championship. It seems like only the Jayhawks, Bears and Tigers are true contenders for the regular season title. I love Iowa State, but it'd take a Herculean run to the end of the season to jump all three teams. I don't really think Baylor will get it done, but if they can steal one between Kansas and Missouri, they'll have a chance to make an impact.
- If the season ended today, Iowa State would be the fourth seed in the Big 12 tournament, facing Kansas State in the second round after a bye. Obviously, we're nowhere close to settling any of that, but it's helpful to keep in mind that the top six squads get a bye. Moreover, if we happen to be the fourth or fifth seed, we'd likely matchup with a Kansas squad in the semifinals, and we know we can beat them....
- Is Monday the day that Texas finally gains some traction? They've been close, but haven't managed to pull out contests against Baylor and Kansas. The Horns are in the middle of a stretch with four games out of five at the Erwin Center. They could use a resume-building win. After the Missouri game, they only have three games left against NCAA caliber teams. (2/11 vs. KSU, 2/20 vs. Baylor, 3/3 @ Kansas) I don't like their odds at Kansas, so they could really use that marquee win. Their two best current wins are against Temple and Iowa State. Not that Iowa State's resume looked any better before yesterday, but Texas could benefit from a Big Monday upset.
- Speaking of Iowa State, will a record of 20-11 (10-8) get them in? They should be heavy favorites in home games against Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Oklahoma, but probably need to get at least two more wins (plus possibly one in the tournament) to feel more comfortable. Road contests at Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are winnable (and games that teams wanting to make the tournament win). Kansas State will be tough both home and away, but they are kind of tough to figure out after losing twice to Oklahoma. If they can catch the Cats slumping on Tuesday night, the Cyclones have another "good" win on the resume. A home loss undoes quite a bit of the Kansas win.
- Kansas State, by the way, is probably where we should have expected them, around the fourth or fifth seed, after it became apparent Mizzou didn't suck. They have a schedule problem, however. Losing two games to an Oklahoma team that's really not that good equals wins that they could have had. After coming to Hilton, they should have two relatively easy home contests against Texas A&M and Texas Tech. Then they hit what could be considered a touch stretch: @ Texas, vs. Kansas, @ Baylor, @ Mizzou, vs. Iowa State. So a road game at a tough venue against a team with talent, then the top four teams in the conference. The Wildcats have a chance to make hay or struggle in the current. Kansas State will likely end up right around Iowa State at the end of the year, but they need to avoid dropping games like last night's to the Sooners.
- There's a mess of teams with 3-5 conference records. Texas is the most likely to emerge from the bunch with the best chance at a first round bye, while Oklahoma seems to be struggling with teams not named Kansas State. Lon Kruger Karma, I guess. The sensible way this will sort out seems to be Longhorns, Sooners, Cowboys and Aggies, but a lot will depends on how well teams that aren't the Longhorns defend their home courts.
- Top five games this week?
- Kansas @ Missouri
- Missouri @ Texas
- Kansas State @ Iowa State
- Iowa State @ Oklahoma
- Oklahoma @ Kansas
It's kind of slim pickings after Kansas State @ Iowa State, but Oklahoma is probably the only threat out of the bottom rung teams to make a true impact on the conference yet. If they can beat someone that isn't Kansas State. Iowa State has a chance to prove themselves as a contender as well. And Mizzou can go anywhere from 2-0 to 0-2 this week, shaping up the race at the top of the conference.