The Big 12 men’s basketball regular season came to an exciting close on Saturday, with conference-champion Kansas losing to West Virginia, despit a 41-point performance from the Jayhawks’ Andrew Wiggins, and Texas Tech upsetting Texas with a late come-from-behind rally.
Oklahoma, Iowa State and Baylor also came away winners on the final weekend of the regular season, setting the stage as well as the seedings for the Big 12 Men’s Championship, beginning on Wednesday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo..
The regular-season finales were representative of what the entire season has been in the Big 12, with underdogs rising up to pull off the improbable. Besides Kansas falling at West Virginia, Texas, which was in a battle with Oklahoma for second-place in the conference, did not survive at Texas Tech, and resurgent Baylor held off Kansas State at the end to hand the Wildcats their first home loss in 16 games.
Iowa State and Oklahoma were the only favorites heading into Saturday’s games that were able come away with a victory, and it took a game-tying three-point basket by Iowa State’s Naz Long with time expiring to extend the game with Oklahoma State, which the Cyclones won in overtime. The Sooners rode a 24-point performance by sophomore Buddy Hield and a season-high 14 three-point baskets to a 30-point 97-67 victory over TCU. It was the Horned Frogs’ 18th conference loss, leaving them winless in conference games this season.
So the Big 12’s mix-master of a conference season reached a thrilling conclusion on Saturday. We probably should not be surprised that the results of the weekend play created all kinds of movement in what would have been the seedings for the Big 12 Tournament had the season ended a week earlier. The top two teams – Kansas and Oklahoma – and the bottom two teams – Texas Tech and TCU – remained unchanged, but not so for everything in betwwen.
Kansas and Oklahoma receive the top two seeds for next week’s conference tournament, which means the Jayhawks, the No. 1 seed as the regular-season conference champion, and the Sooners will face one of the four lowest-seeded , which will have already played one game, when the quarterfinals begin on Thursday.
The two first-round games on Wednesday in the Big 12 tourney will be No. 8 Oklahoma State (20-11, 8-10) vs. No. 9 Texas Tech (14-17, 6-12), with the winner goiug up against Kansas in the first game on Thursday. Baylor (21-10, 9-9), the No. 7 seed will square off against No. 10 TCU (9-21, 0-18) in the second game on Wednesday night. The winner of that contest draws No. 2 seed Oklahoma on Thursday. Also on Thursday, it will be No. 4 Iowa State 23-7, 11-7) vs. No. 5 Kansas State (20-11, 10-8) and No. 3 Texas (22-8, 11-7) vs. No. 6 West Virginia (17-14, 9-9).
Other interesting notes and quotes you might have missed from the final weekend of the Big 12 regular season:
5 – Number of Big 12 road wins by Oklahoma this season, tying Kansas for the most in the conference. The five league wins away from Lloyd Noble Center matches the number of OU road wins in Big 12 games for the last three seasons combined.
15 – Texas Tech trailed Texas by seven points at the eight-minute mark in the second half before mounting an 18-3 run, outscoring the Longhorns by 15 points over a seven minute stretch late in the game to seal the victory.
22 – Points scored by Texas Tech senior Jaye Crockett to lead his team to a 59-53 victory over Texas. “I was telling the team, especially the second half, that we only have 20 minutes,” Crockett said. “Especially the seniors: ‘We only have 20 minutes left in this gym. You have to give it your all and have confidence with the shots.’ They were just falling for me.”
45 – Forty-three-year-old Daniel-Meyer Coliseum at TCU will undergo a $45 million rennovation after this season.
70 – Baylor scored 76 points in a two-point road win at Kansas State on Saturday. It was only the fourth time all season that K-State has given up 70 or more points.
72 – Oklahoma outscored its last three opponents (Texas, West Virginia and TCU) by 72 points from behind the three-point line.
41- Points scored by Kansas fresman Andrew Wiggins in the regular-season finale with West Virginia, a career and season high. That is the second most most scored by a freshman in the Big 12. Michael Beasley of Kansas State scored 44 in a game as a freshman.
50 – Points scored by West Virginia in the first half of Saturday’s game with Kansas. That was the most points given up by the Jayhawks in an opening half since 2007. “I thought they were on pace to get 60,” Kansas heas coach Bill Self said…”We did not appear to be as energized as we could be. This time of year players need to get ready to play no matter what.”
52 – Shooting percentage for West Virginia in its 82-86 win over Kansas on Saturday. The Jayhawks have yielded an average of 41 percent shooting to their opponents for the season. Also, the Mountaineers’ 92 points was 22 points more than Kansas has averaged this season.
62 – Three-point shots made this season by Baylor senior Brady Heslip, second most all-time in a single season in the Big 12 era. Keiton Page of Oklahoma State had 64 in 2011-12.