Another day, another surprise in the Big 12.
The toughest and deepest conference in America doesn’t take days or games off – which explains how No. 22 TCU fell to last-place Oklahoma, 74-60.
The Sooners, who have won just five conference games, deserve credit for not throwing in the towel this season. The reality is, if they somehow figured out a way to make the NCAA tournament — maybe a crazy run through the conference tournament is what’s next for Oklahoma — they could win a game or two. The conference really is that good – just ask Kansas State No. 11, who was also upset by West Virginia.
The talent and depth in the Big 12 also explains how and why No. 7 Texas beat No. 3 Kansas 75-59. With a win, Kansas would likely have been the favorite for the No. 1 overall spot.
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But we’re here to talk about winner Texas. In a game in which the Longhorns led most of the way, the Texas bench was Saturday’s biggest winner, surpassing the Kansas bench 32-8. Also of note were the Longhorns’ 17 fast break points and 19 assists in their regular-season finale.
Texas tops this week’s roundup of college basketball winners and losers, but the Longhorns are far from the only team making noise in the final weekend of the regular season — good and bad.
Good things happen for the Aggies when they hold opposing teams to less than 66 points, and that’s exactly what happened early Saturday when Texas A&M defeated No. 2 Alabama 67-61. The end result is a little crazy considering the Aggies didn’t score a field goal in the last 4:17 – but a near-perfect 27-for-28 from the line throughout the game certainly helped seal the win . Texas A&M controlled most of the contest, led by Wade Taylor IV (28 points) and Tyrece Radford (21 points, seven rebounds). The win secures Texas A&M’s perfect home record during conference play and secures the Aggies as No. 2 in next week’s SEC conference tournament
State of Iowa
If your banker outperforms the other team’s banker 22-12 and the suit dominates 36-14, that’s a good way to secure victory for the season. That’s exactly what the Cyclones did with their 73-58 win at Baylor on Saturday. Iowa State had an even goal attack: Three players finished the game in double digits, led by Jarens Holmes with 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists. It’s a solid win for a team looking to move up the NCAA tournament seed line, which Iowa State could achieve with a good run in next week’s Big 12 conference tournament.
On the bubble a few weeks ago, the Wildcats seem to have figured it out. They have won five of their last six, including Saturday’s 88-79 win in Arkansas. That win secured the No. 3 spot in the SEC tournament that begins Wednesday. Perhaps the program, which never hurts NBA talent, is gearing up for a deep postseason run.
State of San Jose
San Jose State has become one of the feel-good stories of this college basketball season because of the success the program hasn’t seen in a long time — and that was before Saturday. Trailing 20 early in the second half, the Spartans made a comeback for the ages, forcing overtime before walking away with a 63-61 win at the Air Force. The Spartans are #5 on the road to the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Don’t be surprised if Omari Moore (33 points in 39 minutes with Air Force) & Co. take a little run in Vegas and piss someone off.
A loss at Texas A&M won’t hurt Tide’s seeding in the NCAA tournament, but talk about ending the regular season on a whimper. Newcomer Superstar Brandon Miller fouled with 1:59 to play and No. 2 Alabama down by two and the Tide failed to complete his comeback. In four years in Alabama, Tide coach Nate Oats has yet to beat Texas A&M. Will he get another chance in the conference tournament?
Letting opposing teams shoot from the field 54% is a great way to hit double digits on your home playing field. That’s exactly what happened to the No. 8 Bears who lost 73-58 to Iowa State (no less than Senior Day). Baylor was beaten in almost every facet of the game, including being 36-24 behind on the boards. The Bears are still a real threat to make the Final Four, and they’ll likely be lucky if they don’t face conference opponents in the NCAA tournament.
It’s not so much that the brothers lost, but more how they did it. For the second straight game – Wednesday against No. 17 Xavier and Saturday against Unranked Seton Hall – Providence fell more than 20 points behind. And at home no less. Saturday was ugly as Providence lost 82-58. Providence isn’t playing its best basketball of the season as we head to the most important stretch.