Kansas still astride the Big 12
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Unbeaten again and with wins against Michigan State, Marquette, Tennessee, Stanford and Villanova, it’s Kansas that has made the most waves as the Big 12 prepares to begin its regular season. The Jayhawks have won so many conference regular season titles it would seem they could retire the trophy and simply go to the conference tournament and begin firing.
Even though it shows a 10-0 record, Texas Tech has stood clear of anybody except Memphis in slewing the Little Davids of the college basketball world.
The same can be said of TCU, which sports an 8-1 record with a win over oft-beaten Southern California as its claim to fame. The Horned Frogs lost to Lipscomb.
Oklahoma has wins over Florida, Dayton, Notre Dame and Southern California and a lone loss to Wisconsin, as it moved to a 9-1 record.
Iowa State, at 9-2, owns wins against Missouri and Illinois and legitimate losses to Arizona and Iowa before conference play begins.
Kansas State is 7-2 so far, but there are few believers in its chances against Kansas.
Deep in the heart of Texas, those with hearts of burnt orange and chanting “hook ’em horns” don’t like the losses swallowed against Radford, Virginia Commonwealth and Michigan State. North Carolina fell to the Longhorns as did Arkansas and Purdue. The record was 7-3.
Baylor has gone 6-3, and troubled Oklahoma State has won only four of its first 10 games.
After a loss on a neutral floor in Connecticut to Rhode Island, West Virginia is 6-4 overall with only non-conference games at home versus Jacksonville State of Alabama and Lehigh left, before seeing if Texas Tech is real in its opening Big 12 game early in January.
Without Sagaba Konate — out with a knee problem — West Virginia could not hold off the Rams of Rhode Island.
James “Beetle” Bolden made just one field goal in nearly a dozen tries. And he’s West Virginia’s usually reliable shooter.
The Mountaineers can’t replace Konate, who still has his unproductive games because of foul problems.
Can any team really menace Kansas over the 18-game Big 12 regular season? Or will the Jayhawks parade into Kansas City and the conference tournament with another regular season championship flag waving aloft?
Inconsistent shooting could always be lurking around the next corner when West Virginia plays. And its standard full-court press hasn’t been as suffocating as in previous years. In fact, West Virginia has more turnovers than its collective opposition.
It might not be “Kansas and the nine dwarfs,” but the Jayhawks are again the clear favorites in the Big 12.