The earth trembles you feel from Big 12 Country this week might just be the rearrangement of teams in the conference basketball standings during and after a week of serious head-to-head competition between teams bunched in the top half of the league.
Nearing the midway point of the Big race in men’s basketball, six teams stand at 3-3 or better in conference play and several of the games this week have teams in that group matching up against each other. It all starts Wednesday night with 4-2 Oklahoma at 5-1 Baylor and Iowa State. with a 4-2 league mark, heading to Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater to square off against Oklahoma State.
The odds would favor the home teams in these matchups, especially considering that the top six teams in the Big 12 have lost only one home conference game game between them out of 18 league games. And that same group has lost only five games at home through all games this season. That would mean that Oklahoma and Iowa State have major challenges facing them in their midweek games, but we all know that the level of competition in the Big 12 can easily offset the home-court advantage if the home team under achieves or comes out flat for a given game.
If you are Oklahoma, you can’t lose sight of the fact that Baylor is the only school among the top six teams in the Big 12 to have lost twice at home this season.
Eight-time defending conference champion Kansas appears safe to retain its top perch again this week. The No. 1-ranked Jayhawks, according to the coaches who vote in the USA Today weekly poll, got by West Virginia, although just barely, on Monday this week, and they have Oklahoma State at home Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse, where the Kansas flat out just doesn’t lose (KU has won 102 of its past 103 home games, making Allen Fieldhouse one of the most, if not the most, difficult places to play in the country for a visiting team).
Kansas State (4-2) may have the easiest assignment Wednesday night, taking on 1-5 Texas. K-State has a 7-3 home record against the Longhorns, but Texas won the last meeting between the two teams, an 11-point victory last season in Austin. Texas’ record is a bit deceiving. Four of the Longhorns’ five conference losses this season have been by seven points or less.
We can anticipate a further shakeup in the standings after Saturday’s action. The Saturday slate of games features Kansas State visiting Oklahoma for game two in the season series between those two schools, and Iowa State returns home, where the Cyclones are an undefeated 11-0 on the season, to entertain the Baylor Bears.
So lace ‘em up and buckle yourself in, because between now and Saturday, we could all be in for a wild ride, resulting in some seismic swings in the Big 12 basketball standings.
More news, information and team insights on the Big 12 men’s basketball can be found at Big12Sports.com.