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Home ยป As anticipated, the Big 12 arrived in chaotic style – 247Sports

As anticipated, the Big 12 arrived in chaotic style – 247Sports

The arrival of Big 12 play came in an expectedly chaotic fashion, and two of the victims square off tonight when West Virginia and Oklahoma State seek to avoid an 0-2 start in the best basketball conference in the country. But before we get too deep into the Big 12, step back for a moment to consider what the league and its membership achieved in non-conference play.
No other conference had all of its teams in the top 60 of the NET Rankings. On Saturday morning, before the 10 teams set their sites on one another, Kansas was No. 5, Texas was No. 9, WVU was No. 11, Baylor was No. 19, Iowa State was No. 32, Kansas State was No. 33, Oklahoma State was No. 46, Oklahoma was No. 47, Texas Tech was No. 56 and TCU was No. 60. The average 31.8 ranking was the lowest of all leagues. The next lowest average ranking for a conference was 57.5.
Big 12 teams were 100-19 in non-conference play and counted 44 wins by 20 or more points. The .840 win winning percentage was the best in the nation and the only percentage at and above .800. In games against Quad 1 and 2 opponents, the Big 12 was 26-17. The Big 12 was also on top with a .500 winning percentage in 16 games against top-25 teams and a .651 winning percentage against major conferences — 5-2 against the ACC, 8-7 against the Big East, 5-4 against the Big Ten, 6-0 against the Pac-12 and 5-2 against the SEC.
“It’s the best league,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said, “by two football fields probably.”
He and his counterpart, Bob Huggins, know that quite well right now. The Cowboys (8-5, 0-1 Big 12) opened on the road against Kansas, which is up to N0. 3 in the latest top 25 poll, one that has five Big 12 teams for the fifth time already. The Mountaineers (10-3, 0-1) were at Kansas State, which was picked to finish in 10th place in the conference’s preseason poll. The Jayhawks are the perennial power in the league and the defending national champion, and they’re up to their familiar tricks. The Wildcats are 12-1 now and knocking on the door of the top 25.
Oklahoma State had a 45-30 lead at halftime and was swallowed by a 22-5 run that gave Kansas the lead. The visitors would retake the lead two other times and tied the score with 14 seconds to go before Kansas scored and then maybe got away with a foul on what could have been a game-tying basket for the Cowboys. The Jayhawks escaped with a 69-67 win.
“I want to certainly give credit to our guys,” said Boynton, who is now 0-6 in Big 12 openers. “I thought they came in here expecting to play well enough to win. For the most part, we did. We gave ourselves a chance right there to the end, but there are no moral victories. I told our guys that. It’s a hard league to play in.”
The Mountaineers led 17-3 and were up a dozen points at halftime, but they wilted in the second half before making just enough plays to go to overtime and then lose 82-76. This is the eighth time they’ve played back-to-back Big 12 road games after Christmas and before the start of the spring semester. They lost only three times in the first 14 games and never went 0-2 on a trip.
“I told them we really ought to go get on the bus and bus to Stillwater,” Huggins said. “We don’t deserve to fly. They don’t deserve to fly. I don’t deserve to fly.”
Look around the Big 12, though, and things might feel better … or at least less desperate … before the 7 p.m. game at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Texas Tech had a 13-point lead in the first half and an 11-point lead at halftime but was outscored 41-24 in the second half of a loss at No. 17 TCU.
No. 19 Baylor had a nine-point lead in the first half at Iowa State, but the Cyclones ripped off a 10-0 run and led by three at halftime and then by as much as 18 in the second half of a comfy win.
The only road team to win was No. 6 Texas, and the Longhorns trailed by seven in the second half before forcing a tie. The largest lead either way in the final 13:08 was four points for the Sooners.
Predicting winners in this league won’t be easy, but predicting pandemonium seems safe. The sooner the Mountaineers or Cowboys discover the key to handling all this, the better.
“Rejuvenate,” WVU guard Kedrian Johnson said. “You can’t go back in time and change what you did wrong. It’s in the past for a reason. You just move on and stay positive.”
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