Four big time matchups, senior day and five blowouts highlighted the final week in Big 12 play.
Four teams in the Top-25 elites squared off throughout in Big 12 play in the Kansas Jayhawks to face the Texas Longhorns on Big Monday, the Baylor Bears visiting the Oklahoma Sooners on Super Tuesday, the Iowa State Cyclones visiting the Kansas Jayhawks on Super Saturday and West Virginia Mountaineers visiting the Baylor Bears.
The Big 12 finale week included many players played their final game at home including prolific players such as Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield, Kansas’s Perry Ellis, Iowa State’s Georges Niang, West Virginia’s Jaysean Paige, Baylor’s Taurean Prince and Texas’s Javan Felix to name a few.
The Big 12 lastly had a series of blowouts to close out the conference as well as the Kansas Jayhawks stomped the Texas Longhorns by 30. Wednesday was the biggest day for blowouts as the West Virginia Mountaineers destroyed the Texas Tech Red Raiders by 22 and the Kansas State Wildcats took care of business beating the TCU Horned Frogs by 25. Friday and Saturday had its fair share of blowouts as well as the Texas Longhorns beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys by 12 and West Virginia handled the Baylor Bears in Waco, defeating them by 11.
Kansas Jayhawks (27-4) (15-3): 11 straight and counting for the surging Jayhawks as they bested their in-conference rival Iowa State Cyclones, 85-78. Trailing most the second half, Kansas clawed their way to their 27th win thanks to late game heroics by guard Devonte’ Graham (16 points-4 rebounds) and big shots by guard Wayne Selden Jr. (16 points-four assists) all game. Seniors Perry Ellis, Hunter Mickelson, Evan Manning and Jamari Traylor played well in their last game at Allen Fieldhouse.
Game Notes: Senior Perry Ellis has had quite the tumultuous career at Kansas, including four Big 12 Titles, one Big 12 tournament championships and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament four straight years, this game Ellis was excellent scoring 22 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
Next Up: Big 12 Tournament: No. 1 Seed
West Virginia Mountaineers (24-7) (13-5): Four straight wins to finish out the regular season West Virginia as they got a big road win, 69-58 against the Baylor Bears. Senior Jaysean Paige was magnificent scoring 14 points in 23 minutes for the Mountaineers in his final regular season game. West Virginia finished with back-to-back seasons of 20+ wins for the first time since 2010.
Game Notes: The Mountaineers defense has been stellar this year at forcing turnovers and tough shots; this game they forced 16 Bears turnovers and held Baylor to just 37% shooting.
Next Up: Big 12 Tournament: No. 2 Seed
Oklahoma Sooners (22-6) (10-6): In Buddy Hield’s last conference game, he stole the show scoring 21 off 58% shooting as the Oklahoma Sooners held off the TCU Horned Frogs, 75-67. Back-to-back wins have the Sooners going into the Big 12 Tournament feeling poised and confident especially if players like Buddy Hield, Jordan Woodard and Ryan Spangler continue to lead this team offensively.
Game Notes: The improvement of guards Jordan Woodard and Isaiah Cousins has not gone unnoticed: both players have improved every year and will be crucial in the Sooner’s aspirations for a Big 12 Tournament Championship and beyond that.
Next Up: Big 12 Tournament: No. 3 Seed.
Texas Longhorns (20-11) (11-7): Texas is one of the most dangerous in the teams in the country because you never know what team you’re going to get. Friday night, the Longhorns clamped down on defense and simply manhandled the Oklahoma State Cowboys, 62-50. Texas was absolutely astounding on defense holding the Cowboys to 23% shooting from three: wow. When the Longhorns are dialed in on both sides of the ball, they are hard to beat.
Game Notes: Texas has one of the deepest benches in all of college basketball, one of their key assets has been Kerwin Roach Jr. Roach came to play Friday night scoring 15 points in 25 minutes.
Next Up: Big 12 Tournament: No. 4 Seed
Iowa State Cyclones (21-10) (10-8): The roller coaster continued for the Cyclones as Iowa State lost a tough one, 85-78 to the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence. Iowa State has NBA-ready players in Georges Niang, Jameel McKay and Monte Morris but ran out of gas in this matchup, as they coughed up a lead late in the second half and ultimately couldn’t recover. Finishing games has been a struggle with the Cyclones as half of their losses they were leading for the majority of the game.
Game Notes: Big 12 All-Pro Team: Georges Niang. The senior forward is one of the best players in basketball at getting solid looks within a game, this game was no different as Niang hit nearly every shot he attempted finishing the game with 22 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Next Up: Big 12 Tournament: No. 5 Seed.
Baylor Bears (21-10) (10-8): Baylor had a game to forget against the West Virginia Mountaineers, losing 69-58. The Bears struggled offensively shooting only 37% along with committing 16 crucial turnovers. Needless to say, the Mountaineers capitalized on these turnovers turning them into points and a big “L” on senior day in Waco.
Game Notes: All Under-Rated team: Forward Taurean Prince, the senior has been excellent for all four years at Baylor and was this game, recording a double double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Next Up: Big 12 Tournament: No. 6 Seed
Texas Tech Red Raiders (19-11) (9-9): Texas Tech got back to .500 in conference play, beating the Kansas State Wildcats, 80-71 at home. The Red Raiders were lights out offensively lighting up the Wildcats with four players in double figures and 59% shooting. Defensively, Texas Tech stayed at home against the three, holding the Wildcats to just 21% shooting.
Game Notes: Games Balls: Both Keenan Evans and Devaugntah Williams notched 20 points apiece shooting a combined 75% from the field: that will get you a “w” in most contests.
Next Up: Big 12 Tournament: No. 7 Seed
Kansas State Wildcats (16-15) (5-13): Despite struggling both offensively in defensively, K-State put up a good fight against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, coming up short 80-71. Four Wildcats eclipsed double figures, lead by D.J. Johnson’s double double (21 points-10 rebounds) and Justin Edwards (16 points-seven rebounds).
Game Notes: The Good: The Wildcats controlled the glass outrebounding the Red Raiders by 10 on the road. The Bad: K-State could not hit a shot beyond the arc going 4-19.
Next Up: Big 12 Tournament: No. 8 Seed
Oklahoma State Cowboys (12-19) (3-15): Oklahoma State’s lack of offensive efficiency and overall scoring doomed them in this game as the Texas Longhorns beat the Cowboys 62-50 in Stillwater. Regardless, the future looks bright as the Cowboys have star guard Jawun Evans returning next season to make noise in a big way next season.
Game Notes: Future Stock: Guard Leyton Hammonds. Hammonds scored 20 points in 36 minutes and has shown flashes of being a great two-way player for the Cowboys.
Next Up: Big 12 Tournament: No. 9 Seed
TCU Horned Frogs (11-20) (2-16): The TCU Horned Frogs hug tough against the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners but couldn’t get enough stops in their 75-67 win on senior day. The Horned Frogs struggle to defend the Sooners as they allowed Oklahoma to shoot 50% from the field. Offensively, TCU wasn’t much better as they went 6-21 from beyond the arc.
Game Notes: Future Star: Guard Brandon Parrish. Parrish played a man’s game scoring 20 points in 40 minutes for TCU.