11 - 0
|at Texas (Sat)|
9 - 1
|vs. Iowa St. (Wed); vs. Nebraska (Sat)|
9 - 2
|at Colorado (Sat)|
6 - 4
|vs. Texas A&M (Mon); vs. Oklahoma (Sat)|
|5. Kansas St.||
6 - 5
|vs. UNCCentral (Tue); at Iowa St. (Sat)|
5 - 5
|vs. Colorado (Wed); at Kansas (Sat)|
|7. Oklahoma St||
4 - 6
|at Texas Tech (Wed); vs. Baylor (Sat)|
4 - 7
|at Oklahoma St (Sat)|
|8. Texas A&M||
3 - 7
|vs. Texas (Mon); at Texas Tech (Sat)|
|10. Texas Tech||
2 - 8
|vs. Texas A&M (Sat)|
|10. Iowa State||
2 - 8
|at Kansas (Wed); vs. Kansas St. (Sat)|
1 - 9
|at Nebraska (Wed); vs. Missouri (Sat)|
Thoughts on the week ahead after the jump.
Biggest Surprise from Last Week: Nothing. Other than Zaire Taylor’s last second jumper to push Missouri past Kansas on Monday, everything went as planned. The home team won eight of the eleven conference games with only Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas able to win on the road. The upcoming week has a few more toss up games (Texas at A&M, Ok State at Tech, Kansas St at Iowa St, and OU at Texas) that should help clear up the middle of the conference standings.
Team with Most Favorable Schedule: Kansas. The Jayhawks salvaged a split last week by winning at Kansas State after dropping a heartbreaker in Columbia. While catching Oklahoma still seems unlikely, two home wins this week over Iowa State and Nebraska should set up a fantastic match up between the Sooners and the Jayhawks on February 23rd.
Team with Least Favorable Schedule: Texas. This is a big week for the Longhorns as both games are true toss ups. Texas has not won in College Station since 2004, and Oklahoma is the conference’s lone unbeaten. I wrote in the review of the Colorado game that the Longhorns must get two out of three from A&M, OU, and Ok State to be assured of a top four finish in the Big XII. To win at A&M, Texas must keep the Aggies off the glass, play defense without fouling, and attack the basket off the dribble. The Longhorns did defeat the Aggies in Austin on January 24th, so giving Connor Atchley and AJ Abrams their first wins in College Station is possible.
Team with Most to Prove: Oklahoma State. The Cowboys currently sit at just 4-6 in conference with an RPI of 38, and have yet to beat an NCAA bound team. The Big XII should be able to snag five bids this year with the final one going to Kansas State, Oklahoma State, or Baylor. While, the Cowboys haven’t looked like an NCAA worthy team thus far, wins at Texas Tech and over Baylor this week will at least keep them in the discussion. That won’t be enough though. OSU will probably need wins in two of their last three (Texas, Kansas St, at OU) to feel safe.
Game of the Week: Oklahoma at Texas. ESPN will be in Austin this weekend for the Saturday night showdown. Texas will either be riding a three game winning streak after their trip to College Station and looking to cement their place in the top four of the conference or they will have lost on Monday night and will need a win to remain above .500 in the conference and a lock for the NCAA tournament. Either way, this is a huge game for Texas. For OU, it is not as critical. The Sooners do not have a mid-week game this week but will have a quick turnaround following Saturday night’s game as they host Kansas on Monday night. Winning both contests will assure Jeff Capel’s club of a conference championship and probably a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. Even splitting the two games is fine as well. What the Sooners must avoid is dropping both and giving life to the Jayhawks’ conference title hopes.