Unbeaten Iowa State faced one-loss Baylor at home on Tuesday, was at Oklahoma on Saturday and has Kansas coming up after that. That is the kind of schedule that Big 12 teans are going to face week in and week out this basketball season.
Oklahoma hosted nine-time defending conference champion Kansas last Wednesday, then in comes Iowa State. No rest for the wicked in that schedule. It didn’t work out for the Sooners against Kansas, and it didn’t wo a very uncharactericticrk out for the Cyclones when they caught an energized OU team on the rebound on Saturday.
That’s pretty much what we can expect as the 2013-14 Big 12 men’s basketball race plods forward from week to week. Protecting your home court is going to be paramount for teams that want to remain in contention. Ideally, a team must win all of uts home games and win at least seven of its nine league games on the road to have a realistic chance of winning the conference champiohip, and with so many good teams in 2013-14, that is going to be an extremely tough task.
In the nine games between Big 12 teams prior to this weekend, the road team had won six of them. On Saturday, the teams playing at home held serve in four of the five contests. Oklahoma State’s one-point victory at West Virginia, which came on a game-winning three-point shot with only 12 seconds remainbing in the game, was the only victory on Saturday by the visiting team.
In the two spotlight games in the Big 12 on Saturday, Oklahoma (13-3, 2-1) served notice that it should not be overlooked in this year’sconference race with an 87-82 win over Iowa State (14-1, 2-1), knocking the ninth-ranked Cyclones from the ranks of the unbeaten. The Kansas Jayhawks (11-4, 2-0) again showed how hard it is to win a game as a visiting team in Allen Fieldhouse, jumping on Sunflower State rival Kansas State (12-4, 2-1) early and cruising to a 26-point 86-60 victory.
The Cyclones committed a very uncharacteristic 13 turnovers is losing to Oklahoma, which converted those turnovers into 25 points. The Sooners got a career-high 15-rebound performance from sophomore forward Ryan Chandler. Seven of Chandler’s rebounds were on the offesnsive glass. OU had a 22-2 advantage in sec0nd-chance points, which was a key factor in the Sooners handing Iowa State its first loss after 14 consecutive victories to begin the season.
Cyclones’ head coach Fred Hoiberg said afterward he wanted his team to remember this game for a while. “The big thing I told our guys is that this need to hurt,” Hoiberg said. “We gave away a golden opportunity because we couldn’t secure the rebounds.”
Iowa State was the third best rebounding ream in the conference (behind Texas and Baylor) coming into the game with OU, but the Sooners had a 41-34 advanntage on the boards on Saturday. Buddy Hield scored 22 points for Oklahoma, 18 of which came on a career-high six three-pointers.
The bigger loss to the Cyclones, however, may have been the ankle injury suffered by forward DeAndre Kane, who averages 16.2 points per game and poured in 23 to lead Iowa State against the Sooners. Kane’s availability is unknown for ISU’s big game with Kansas on Monday.
Kansas freshmen Andrew Wiggins and Wayne Selden teamed up for 42 points between them as the Jayhawks shot 65 percent in the first half and 56 percent for the game. It was the sixth time this season that Kansas has shot 60 percent or better in a half. The Jayhawks are 9-1 this season when they shoot over 50 percent for the game.
Kansas State had been holding its opponents in 2013-14 to an average of 53 points a game and just 36 percent shooting. Both of those stats got blown out of the water on Saturday by Kansas , which bettered its season scoring average by seven points. The game was cleanly played from a turnover perspective. K-State committed 10 turnovers in the game, while the Jayhawks had just seven.
“I feel like we couldn’t get a stop,” said Kansas State junior forward Thomas Gipson. “We were playing hard in the beginning, going back and forth, but down the stretch they made a couple of threes and we let the crowd get to us and we just froze.”
“During our (10-game) winning streak, we have been up on the ball, pressuring,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said in his postgame comments. “I don’t think we did a good job of that. We never disrupted them. We have to get back to what makes us successful.” The Wildcats will get that chance when they host Oklahoma in Manhattan on Tuesday.
In other games over the weekend, West Virginia (10-6, 2-1) came very close to handing Oklahoma State its second conference loss of the season, but for a three-point field goal by Oklahoma State’s Markel Brown that turned a two-point deficit into a one-point victory. Baylor ‘s Taurean Prince scored 23 points, 15 coming from off the bench, as the Bears buried TCU 88-62 in a game played at Baylor. It was the Bears’ 13th straight home win. And Texas rebounded from two consecutive league losses, getting by Texas Tech 67-64.
Not much time to catch a breath if you’re a Big 12 basketball fan. Kansas is at Iowa State on Monday and the Sooners and the Wildcats square off the next night.
It doesn’t seen to matter thus far if you are a home team or not. The home team has been successful just seven times out of 14 through Saturday’s games