The final week of the regular season is upon us and there's a little thing called the conference championship yet to be decided. Three teams can still win the Big 12 title with a split championship remains likely.
Kansas and Texas A&M, both at 12-2, are tied for first place as they have been for much of the season. Texas is just a game back at 11-3 and actually controls its own destiny by virtue of games with both league leaders this week. Kansas State is also in good position to secure a first round bye in the Big 12 tournament by finishing alone in fourth. The Wildcats would have to drop both of their games this week and Texas Tech would have to win both of theirs for KSU to drop into fifth place.
The Big 12 Games of the Week:
Kansas (25-4, 12-2) at Oklahoma (15-12, 6-8) 8 PM ESPN
For the second straight week, the Kansas Jayhawks take their act on the road as part of ESPN's Big Monday. Last Monday, Kansas survived an upset bid from Kansas State behind suffocating half court defense in the second half. The trip to Norman won't be easy but with a conference title on the line and the Sooners stumbling to the finish line, I expect a solid Kansas victory.
Kansas State (20-9, 9-5) at Oklahoma State (19-9, 6-8) 8 PM ESPN+
Could the Wildcats get to 10 conference wins and still be left out of the NCAA tournament? Because of their low RPI and lack of quality wins it's possible, but not likely. If Bob Huggins really wants to sure up the resume, he can start by winning this one against the totally reeling Cowboys. OSU has lost their last two home games and could conceivably not reach 20 regular season wins after staring 15-1. KSU steals this one and wins at home to finish an impressive 11-5 despite losing freshman Bill Walker for almost the entire Big 12 season. Look out for the Wildcats next season.
Texas A&M (24-4, 12-2) at Texas (21-7, 11-3) 8 PM ESPN2
The winner will play on Saturday for a share of the Big 12 title. Plus it's a rivalry game. Plus the Aggies embarrassed the Horns by putting up 100 points a few weeks ago in College Station. So, yeah, it's a pretty big game. While the Horns' defense has improved during their current five game winning streak, the Aggies will bring one of the most efficient offenses in the country to Austin. To have any shot, Texas must slow down Acie Law, who has been simply outstanding this season. I'll save the prediction for the preview on Wednesday.
Texas (21-7, 11-3) at Kansas (25-4, 12-2) 11 AM CBS
At least one of these teams will be playing for the conference title, and if Texas can upset the Aggies, then Kansas will be playing for an outright title and the Horns will be playing for a share. Texas has never won in Lawrence since the formation of the Big 12 and really doesn't matchup well with the Jawhawks. Kansas is the most efficient defensive team in the country, has a top 15 offense that can kill you from inside and out, and currently brings two McDonald's All Americans -off the bench-. Simply put, the Longhorns could not have scheduled a tougher game to finish the regular season.