The Big 12 took a step towards parity – at least with teams below No.1 Baylor – on Saturday, when No.25 Texas Tech knocked out No.6 Kansas 75-67 to give the Jayhawks (12- 2, 1-1 Big 12) just their second loss of the season. The Red Raiders (11-3, 1-1) played without Terrence Shannon Jr. and Kevin McCullar, their two top scorers, both injured. But they outscored the Jayhawks 44-18 in paint to claim an impressive championship victory under first-year coach Mark Adams.
The first read on the Big 12 was that it could be a slugfest between Kansas and Baylor for the conference title, much like 2020 when the Jayhawks and Bears were the only teams to finish better. than .500 in the league. . KU was 17-1 in conference games that year and edged a Baylor side 15-3 for the league title with a large gap separating the second-place Bears and a pursuit pack that included Texas Tech among four 9-9 teams tied for third place.
There’s still a chance the top-ranked Bears could reach a dominating Big 12 record, but they at least looked lethal on Saturday in a 76-64 victory at TCU. Baylor trailed 40-31 in the first half before using a prolific second half to build some distance. With No.14 Texas posting a failed performance in a 64-51 loss to Oklahoma State, Kansas and the TCU losing, Baylor is already the last undefeated Big 12 team in conference. In addition to the league’s chaotic day, the Iowa State No.11 suffered a 79-66 loss to Oklahoma.
This is quite remarkable considering the fact that three games is the most games played by a league team and several teams have played fewer. Baylor could end up being successful, although that is far from certain. But even if it does, the other nine in the league appear destined for a scuffle as the league standings take shape.
Texas Tech forward Bryson Williams came into Saturday’s win over Kansas after playing most of his best basketball this season against lower level competition. Considering the sixth-year college player’s previous stops were at Fresno State and UTEP, it made sense that there could be a period of adjustment as he acclimated to regularly facing competition. elite.
That period of adjustment ended flatly against the Jayhawks, as Williams scored 22 points, a team-high, and took eight rebounds, a team-high, in a win of mark for the Red Raiders. For a player who had wrestled with players like Providence, Tennessee, Gonzaga and Iowa State, the performance was a revelation. And with Shannon and McCullar both sidelined with injury, the Red Raiders needed the production.
Winner: Miami is legit
It was easy to undo Miami’s 4-0 start in the game against the ACC, as the wins were single digits against Clemson, NC State, Wake Forest and Syracuse. It seemed likely – almost certain – that reality would crumble on the Hurricanes as they visited No.2 Duke on Saturday. Instead, Miami handed the Blue Devils a 76-74 loss to grab first place in the conference. With Louisville’s loss to Florida State on Saturday, the Hurricanes are the last undefeated ACC team in the championship.
The win over Duke was his first Quad 1 win of the season, and Miami can expect a serious bump in the NET rankings after starting on Saturday low at No. 95. Suddenly a team that started Season 4 3 without any clear direction looks like an NCAA-caliber team that might have something to say in the ACC race.
Loser: Colorado State falls for the first time in a big way
The Colorado State No. 20 finally played a real road game for the first time on Saturday, as the Rams put their unbeaten 11-0 record on the line at San Diego State. With CSU entering the day as one of the country’s three unbeaten teams, the Rams had a slice of the domestic spotlight for the day as they faced the Aztecs. But it didn’t go well for Colorado State, which fell victim to an elite SDSU defense in a 79-49 loss.
CSU playmaker Isaiah Stevens and leading scorer David Roddy had 36 of the Rams’ 49 points, but their teammates combined to shoot just 3 of 23 points from the floor. Stevens entered the day as Mountain West’s assists leader and the nation’s leader in assists ratio, but was held down without an assist. Laudably, he only returned the basketball twice. But a CSU team that came in shooting 42% on a 3-point range – the third in the country – got just 3 for 20 for the game and 0 of 11 in the second half as the Aztecs turned a lead 36-32 at halftime in an easy win.
Winner: Providence’s Cooley takes 300th victory
It seemed reasonable to expect Providence coach Ed Cooley to reach 300 career wins this season, given he entered the year, his 11th with the Friars, with 286 wins. But few would have predicted that Cooley would hit 300 that fast. It happened on Saturday when number 16 Providence improved to 14-2 (4-1 Big East) with an 83-73 victory over St. John’s. The Friars have been one of the best surprise teams this season, and Saturday’s rebound from an 88-56 loss to Marquette on Tuesday was proof of the resilience of their program.
“When you do something you love and you are in a place you love and you work with people who give you the opportunity to do it, it’s amazing. I never saw that coming at all, ”said Cooley, reflecting on his 300th win.
Loser: Arkansas is in trouble
The Muss Bus has officially become a wrestling bus. Arkansas and third-year coach Eric Musselman, who has been most successful at this point in his tenure, fell to 0-3 in the SEC game with an 86-81 loss to Texas A&M on Saturday. The Razorbacks reached No.10 in late November amid a 9-0 start. But their record was inflated by a streak of easy wins, and now that the championship has arrived, they’ve been on display.
Their league losses are to Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and the Aggies, who are all mid-level SEC teams at best. Saturday’s problem was a defense that allowed Texas A&M to shoot 56 percent from the ground. JD Notae scored 31 points for the Razorbacks, but as has been too often the case this season, he weighed too much for a team that fights hard. The Aggies, meanwhile, are quietly on a 13-2 start (2-0 SEC).
Winner: Gonzaga returns
Do you remember Gonzague? The No.4 Bulldogs hadn’t played since December 28, and they hadn’t faced anyone important since defeating Texas Tech on December 18. on Pepperdine. The Waves aren’t CMC contenders, but the outing was impressive nonetheless given Gonzaga’s long absence. Six players scored between 12 and 19 points for the Zags, who topped Pepperdine 68-32 in the paint.
Winner: Kentucky wins without Wheeler
Kentucky point guard Sahvir Wheeler, a transfer from Georgia, was unable to face his former team on Saturday as he continues to recover from a brutal fall after hitting a screen at LSU on Tuesday. But the Wildcats ran business without him as they rushed to a 92-77 victory to get back on track after their 65-60 loss to the Tigers.
Wheeler’s replacement as point guard TyTy Washington set a Kentucky record for assists in a game with 17, including 11 in the second half as the Wildcats turned a 40-37 halftime advantage. in a comfortable advance. Georgia (5-10, 0-2 SEC) are one of the worst power conference teams in the country, so Kentucky was expected to win. But Washington’s 17-point and 17-assists exit and teammate Oscar Tshiebwe’s 29-point, 17-rebound effort proved particularly impressive.
Alabama’s inconsistency continued on Saturday, when the No.15 Crimson Tide lost a game 92-86 to a Missouri team that had lost three of its last four games by 25 or more. It was the Tigers’ first game of 2022, and they looked like a new team as Kobe Brown more than doubled his scoring average with a 30-point outing.
Chicago State claimed their first WAC victory since March 2018, beating California Baptist 58-56, thanks to a Brandon Betson jumper with three seconds left. The victory ended a 33-game losing streak in conference for the Cougars. Freshman coach Gerald Gillion has guided the program to more wins this season (five) than in the past two seasons combined.
Winner: the Bruins play!
The UCLA No.5 finally played his second Pac-12 game on Saturday after making his league debut against Colorado on December 1. the Bears at 1 of 14 3-pointers. Before you call it an impressive defensive performance, know that Cal’s Andre Kelly made 11 of 14 shots on the ground and helped keep the Bears at striking distance. Still, the Bruins get “winner” status for the fact that they finally got a championship game and got a win.