Oklahoma State 76 – Missouri 70
The Cowboys got a much needed win to snap a three game losing streak. Ok-State’s guards handled Missouri’s pressure well and seemed to be playing faster than the Tigers for the majority of the evening. A lot was made during the broadcast of Missouri coming out flat because of their blizzard-induced journey to Stillwater, but the fact is they have been starting slow in game’s all year. It buried them against Texas last weekend and they were never able to climb out of the early 18-8 hole tonight.
Ok-State took advantage of a thinner-than usual Missouri frontline as Laurence Bowers (15 minutes) was surely limited after the hit he took against Texas and Ricardo Ratliffe (23 minutes) was in foul trouble all night. Surprisingly it wasn’t Marshall Moses that had the big night inside: Darrell Williams had a monster game with 15 points and 13 rebounds. J.P. Olukemi wasn’t so bad either with 19 points.
Kansas State 69 – Nebraska 53
In a game that I had pegged Nebraska’s defense to take the day, it was Kansas State forcing Nebraska into 22 turnovers and picking up a win on their home floor. Curtis Kelly did a nice job helping limit Jorge Brian Diaz to only three field goals while pitching in 16 points of his own.
Jacob Pullen didn’t have a good shooting night (6-15) but was able to scratch out 18 points. K-State was able to put the game away in part because of good free throw shooting (21-25), which has been area they’ve struggled in all season. It wasn’t a pretty win but it was one the Wildcats desperately needed.
Bottom line: There is a theme developing in the Big 12 and it continued on Wednesday. It seems like every team outside of Kansas, Texas and Iowa State has been maddeningly inconsistent, unreliable and to throw a cliche out there: up and down. There is a cluster of mediocrity right now with eight teams log jammed at either 4-3, 4-4, 3-4 or 3-5.
It looked as if Missouri would hold serve in a game they should have won and that Nebraska would use their momentum to take down a struggling team on the road. Neither happened, and now Ok-State and K-State are (somewhat) trending upwards. The NCAA bids – whether it’s four, five or whatever – will need to come from somewhere. It’ll be an entertaining Big 12 season, even if the quality of the league may not be as good as originally thought.