January 22, 2015 Louisville, KY (Analyzed Sports) By: Dalton Pence
College Basketball: The Big 12 Race
This year, the Big 12’s slogan might as well be the famous phrase, “Nobody is safe”. With upsets happening all around the conference, such as West Virginia’s stomping of #1 Kansas in Morgantown and then Iowa State’s escape at home against #1 Oklahoma. It’s been a crazy month of conference play in which teams are neck and neck. Each game could be the difference between potentially first or third place. Here’s the breakdown for the rest of the season:
PREDICTION TO WIN: Kansas
It’s no coincidence that the Jayhawks have won 11 straight Big 12 regular season conference championship titles. With being tied at the top with West Virginia and Baylor, there is no reason to think Bill Self could make this year number 12. Their only conference loss came on the road to West Virginia, but they’ve already defeated two top teams at home: Baylor in a blowout and a remarkable thriller against Oklahoma. With an experienced backcourt in Frank Mason III, Devonte Graham, and Wayne Selden Jr. and a great senior leader in Perry Ellis, Kansas will continue their reign.
KEY GAMES: 1/25 @Iowa St, 2/9 vs West Virginia, 2/13 @Oklahoma, 2/23 @Baylor
CLOSE BEHIND: Oklahoma and West Virginia
It helps when you have perhaps the best player in the country in senior guard Buddy Hield. However, when you throw in Ryan Spangler, Isaiah Cousins, and Jordan Woodard things get interesting. After losses on the road to Kansas and Iowa State, Oklahoma finds themselves in a tough situation. The good news is that they defeated West Virginia on Saturday and they get a rematch against Kansas in Norman later on.
KEY GAMES: 1/23 @Baylor, 2/13 vs Kansas, 2/20 @West Virginia, 2/27 @Texas
With a win over former top ranked Kansas and a last second loss at Oklahoma, the West Virginia Mountaineers are tied for first in the Big 12 with Kansas and Baylor. Guards Daxter Miles and Jaysean Paige and the team’s leading scorer, junior forward Devin Williams headline the talented roster for Coach Bob Huggins’ squad. However, a road game in Lawrence might give the edge to Kansas in the regular season.
KEY GAMES:2/2 @Iowa State, 2/6 vs Baylor, 2/9 @Kansas, 2/20 vs Oklahoma