More than half way through the 2012-13 Big 12 men’s basketball season, and a third of the way through always-tough conference play, it’s not at all surprising to see the Kansas Jayhawks perched on the top rung of the league standings. What is out of the ordinary, though, is seeing Texas at the back of the pack, winless in its first five conference games. The Longhorns are one of only two Big 12 teams below .500 at this stage of the season (TCUis the other).
Heading into the fourth weekend of head-to-head conference action, here are some other fascinating and fun facts, and even a few quotes thrown in, that might provide some perspective on how and why things are the way the are in Big 12 basketball this season.
- Four of Texas’ five conference losses have been a a total of 22 points, two of them in overtime (to Baylor and Oklahoma State). “I could say that we are five possessions from being 14-4,” said Longhorns’ head coach Rick Barnes, “but we are who we are.”
- There have been 21 games played in the conference since head-to-head league action began earlier this month. Three have been overtime games (with Texas being involved in two of them) and 10 others have been decided by 11 points or less.
- The two teams from the state of Kansas are the only Big 12 teams ranked in the nation’s top 25 this week. Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks are ranked second in the USA Today coaches poll and third by the media representatives who vote in the Associated Press weekly poll. Kansas State, which lost by four at home to the Jayhawks on Tuesday, were ranked 11th in this week’s AP poll and 13th in the coaches poll.
- Freshmen Ben McClemore of Kansas and Isaiah Austin of Baylor rank second and seventh in the conference in scoring, averaging 16.1 anbd 14.3 points per contest. It most likely will come down between these two sensational first-year players for Big 12 Freshman of the Year.
- The Big 12 may only have two teams ranked in the top 25 of the two major national polls, but six teams fall in the top 45 of the all-important RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) rankings. Based on strength of schedule, three conference teams (Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma) are ranked in the top 20 nationally and four in the top 33.
- Big 12 teams are 74-14 in home games this season, and two schools are undefeated (Kansas at 11-0 and Iowas State at 10-0; Kansas State is 11-1).
- Kansas is 16-1 or better for the third time in the last four seasons and the 10th time since Bill Self has been the head coach of the Jayhawks.
- West Virginia coach Bob Huggins on his team’s 9-9 start to the season and 2-3 mark in its first year in the Big 12: “I didn’t see this coming. If you just look at us, you’d think we’re pretty good. We’ve got some big, strong guys. We’ve got some quickness on the perimeter. But I just don’t know if we know how to play basketball.”
- Look whose leading the league in scoring offense through all games this season. It’s not Baylor. It’s not Kansas. The correct answer is Iowa State, which is averaging 78.5 points per game through 18 games. Somewhat suprisingly, Oklahoma is the highest scoring team in conference play, however, averaging 71.6 ppg.
For more news and information and complete statistical breakdowns, go to Big12Sports.com.