The Big 12 standings finally have just a single team at the top, Texas A&M. The Aggies controlled the last seven minutes of their game with Kansas to become the first South team ever to win in Lawrence in the history of the Big 12. It pains me to admit this, but the Aggies are good. In Ken Pomeroy's latest ratings, Texas A&M is ranked 3rd in the country and remains one of just two teams to be rated in the top ten in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. The other team is perennial power, North Carolina.
The Aggies, at 7-1, hold a one game lead over Kansas, Texas, and Kansas State, all of whom stand at 6-2. Following a shocking loss in Boulder, Oklahoma State stands alone in fifth place at 4-3, followed by the Sooners and the Red Raiders at 4-4.
While the Aggies are alone in first, based on their remaining schedule the Jayhawks still have a shot at an outright Big 12 title. The toughest games left for A&M are Texas at home and road trips to OU, OSU, and Texas. The Aggies could easily drop two of those and finish 13-3. The Jayhawks' biggest challenges are OU and Kansas State on the road as well as Texas at home. A 14-2 record should easily claim the title.
Let's take a look at the Big 12 Games of the Week:
Texas (16-6, 6-2) at Texas A&M (19-3, 7-1) 8 PM ESPN
I really thought both the games involving these two teams on Saturday would go the other way. Texas now heads to College Station after dropping a very winnable home game, while the Aggies head home on a tremendous high after stealing one at Kansas. The Horns do not matchup well with the Aggies. A&M has two solid post players, controls tempo, limits fast break opportunities, and plays incredible defense. The Horns must stay out of foul trouble, find some way to get transition points, and lock down Acie Law. Before the season, this was projected as a loss for the Horns, and nothing I have seen this season has changed that opinion.
Kansas (19-4, 6-2) at Kansas State(17-6, 6-2) 8 PM ESPN Plus
Things sure do change quickly. To have a good shot at an outright Big 12 title, this is a must win for KU. The Jayhawks must bounce back from a game they controlled for the first 33 minutes before letting the Aggies claw their way to a victory. Kansas State has now won six straight conference games and could greatly increase their NCAA tourney chances with another upset win. Like the A&M vs. Kansas game, this one will be all about tempo. Kansas wins if they get out in transition and use their superior finishers in the open court. State wins if they take care of the ball and play mostly in the half court. I'll take KU to bounce back.
Texas Tech (15-8, 4-4) at Oklahoma State (18-4, 4-3) 3 PM ESPN
The Red Raiders will probably be going for two in a row as they host Nebraska earlier in the week. A win at OSU would boost their already strong NCAA tournament resume. The Cowboys, on the other hand, will probably enter Saturday's contest on a two game losing steak. They play at OU on Wednesday night. OSU is solid at home but appears to be overrated overall. I won't be shocked if Knight's crew pulls this one off.