Now three weeks in, the Big 12 picture is starting to really clear up. Kansas, Missouri, and Baylor appear to be head and shoulders above the rest of the conference. K-State and Iowa State look to be in position to make the NCAA tournament. Texas could make a run too, if they continue to mature and improve.
Winners of the Weekend
Missouri: The Tigers made the biggest statement of the Big 12 season Saturday, beating Baylor 89-88 in Waco. While the score was shocking enough, the way Missouri won was the story. They out-rebounded a team that had a massive size advantage. They ran the offense through Ricardo Ratliffe, who was finally able to stay on the court and out of foul trouble. Missouri survived a somewhat off-day from Marcus Denmon because of Ricardo, and it is no somewhat conceivable that Mizzou can win games where they aren’t shooting lights out from three.
Kansas: It looked like the Jayhawks were going to suffer their first conference loss on Saturday, but they were able to pull out a close win against Texas. The Jayhawks don’t have too many potential losses left on the schedule. 15-3 or 16-2 in conference play is a real possibility.
Losers of the Weekend
Scott Drew: Baylor had a real tough week, and while they ultimately may end up with a dream season, they have some work to do. It starts with the coach, who doesn’t seem to know his team’s defensive identity. Both games this week Drew started out in zone defense, switched to man when the zone got beat, only to have his team exposed for not practicing man defense enough. Given the athletic ability of Baylor, there is no reason for them to not be a solid defensive team capable of playing man defense. That all falls on Scott Drew.
Perry Jones: Eight points against an undersized Missouri team. Jones drifted in and out of the action, and once again preferred the jump shot over drives to the hoop.
Texas: Couldn’t finish off a win against Kansas at home. Missed some shots in the final minute to put the game away. Going to be an uphill battle to make the NCAA tournament this year.
Kansas State got a much-needed win against Oklahoma State, thanks in part of a 49-27 advantage on the boards. The Wildcats probably can’t win the conference this season, but they are in solid position for a five or six seed in the tournament.
Iowa State continues to chug along, under the radar. They need to get a signature win or two (beating Kansas at home for example) to firm up their resume, but it looks like the Cyclones are in position to sneak into the tournament.
Oklahoma State continues to fall, and Travis Ford will be lucky to survive the season. Le’Bryan Nash looks lost and useless. They have a hard time generating easy offense, and aren’t playing the super-tight defense they were in non-conference play.
Finally, the new rankings are out. Missouri is the top ranked team in the conference, checking in at #2 in both polls. Kansas is #5, Baylor is #6, and Kansas State is #22. Baylor is #7 in the coaches poll.