Kansas in familiar seat atop Big 12 Conference
Every school in the Big 12 Conference blasted non-league competition – so much so that all 10 teams have some realistic chance of reaching the NCAA Tournament, even if they falter at the conference tournament played in March in Kansas City.
A familiar face sits atop the league standings. Kansas, the Big 12 regular season champion for 13 straight seasons, has a 6-1 record in conference games, including a win at second-place West Virginia.
West Virginia, ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation before consecutive losses to Texas Tech and Kansas, was second with a 5-2 league mark going into last Monday’s road game at Texas Christian.
The bunched-up standings showed Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Kansas State with 4-3 records in league games. Oklahoma State and Texas, an 86-51 loser to West Virginia last Saturday in Morgantown, both had 3-4 records.
Texas Christian, Baylor and Iowa State all had 2-5 in-league marks. All 10 teams were well over the .500 mark and had carved up non-league teams by combining to go 102-16 against outside competition.
Texas Christian, with a 2-5 league record and 14-5 overall, was 12-0 against non-conference teams. Only Texas, Baylor and Iowa State have lost as many as seven games, and even Iowa State was 11-7 overall.
Since all 10 schools play every other league member both at home and on the road, there are 18 conference games for everybody. The Mountaineers had two games left, with Iowa State and Texas Christian, which it faced Monday in Fort Worth.
Still coming to Morgantown will be Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Texas Christian, Iowa State and Kansas State. Kansas, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Oklahoma had no more than four losses and at least 14 wins.
West Virginia’s strength of schedule is helped by a win over No. 2-ranked Virginia. The loss is the Cavaliers’ only setback of the season. Missouri was 13-6 overall as the week began, as was Texas A&M. Youthful Kentucky was 14-5 on Monday.
Winning the Big 12 Conference tournament in Kansas City would be a much-heralded accomplishment for the Mountaineers. In its few seasons in the Big 12, West Virginia hasn’t won the tournament.
Kansas sits in the seat it has occupied for a long, long time. Moving it aside is going to take a combined effort from at least three schools. But the Jayhawks aren’t invincible by any means. Tradition has never scored a point or blocked a shot, but it has mesmerized more than one opponent at the Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence.