Saturday is a big day in the Big 12, with three conference teams taking on ranked teams and two other classic matchups.
Kansas has an early-morning tipoff scheduled for national television. The 19th ranked Jayhawks (7-3) return to the friendly confines of Allen Fieldhouse, where they are 110-2 since 2007, for the first time in a month. Georgetown (7-2), a school that like Kansas has an elite basketball reputation, comes to Lawrence with a 6-2 record. Two early season losses, to Oregon and Northeastern, in their first three games knocked the Hoyas from the top 25, but they come to the Midwest on the heels of six consecutive wins.
The young Jayhawks, featuring the country’s No, 1 overall recruit, Andrew Wiggins, are sure to feed off of their always ravenous crowd, proclaimed this week by the NCAA as the most boistrous in all of college basketball.
Oklahoma State (9-1) puts its No. 7 national ranking to the test in the MGM Grand Showcase in Las Vegas, taking on No. 24 Colorado (10-1). This matchup of ranked teams pits two former conference foes against each other.
The Buffaloes (10-1), formerly of the Big 12, lost their season opener to another Big 12 team, Baylor, but have piled up 10 straight victories since, including a win over Kansas just two Saturdays ago on a game-ending three-point shot. Both teams feature star guards: sophomore Marcus Smart for Oklahoma State and Colorado’s 6-6 backcourt catalyst Spencer Dinwiddie.
Texas, one of three 10-win teams in the Big 12 this season, is coming off a huge three-point victory at North Carolina earlier this week, comes back home to find No. 5 Michigan State (8-1) waiting. A win over the Spartans would clearly establish the Longhorns as Big 12 title contenders heading into the conference season.
Two other games of interest in the Big 12 on Saturday are 15th-ranked Gonzaga (10-1) at Kansas State (7-3) and Oklahoma (10-1) and former Big 12 team Texas A&M squaring off in Houston in the final game in the inaugural season of the Big12-SEC Challenge.
Kansas State got off to a rocky season start, losing three of its first five games, but the slowly improving Wildcats have rebounded to win five straight. The Zags are on a 10-game winning streak of their own.
Oklahoma is off to its best start since 2008-09. The Sooners are being led this season by senior swingman Cameron Clark and exciting freshman point guard Jordan Woodard. The 2008-09 Sooners won 24 of their first 25 games behind National Player of the Year Blake Griffin. Texas A&M is 10-2 this season, it’s two losses coming back to back against Missouri State and SMU. Oklahoma’s lone loss was the then No. 1 Michigan State in the championship of the Old Spice Classic.
The Big 12 leads its 2013 Challenge series with the SEC 6-3.