This was supposed to be the year. Finally, the year, that Kansas was knocked off their seemingly eternal perch atop the Big Twelve since Bill Self came to town. But after a thrilling weekend win at Oklahoma and last night’s West Virginia loss at Texas, the ball is once again on the Jayhawks’ racquet, as they are one game clear of the entire league in the loss column with the tiebreaker edge over Oklahoma and the return game from West Virginia still looming as another opportunity to buy themselves another game of cushion.
I get that this sport has been reduced to “what do you do in the tournament” and little else, but this is a stunning accomplishment that we might not see in the multiple bid conferences again in our lifetimes. When you also consider that they have won this league in years where the national player of the year was in their conference but NOT on their team, it gets even more incredible. Blake Griffin, Michael Beasley (laugh now, but he was arguably the better college player that any on this list) and Kevin Durant couldn’t end their reign, and now it looks like yet another national POY, Buddy Hield, will also come up short. Simply amazing stuff out in Lawrence.
We saw our nice 6-2-2 ATS week hit a rough spot last night as Michigan failed to show up in Columbus and were summarily dispatched by the Buckeyes. Let’s get back on track tonight on an awesome night of college hoops highlighted by an fantastic battle atop the A-10 with Dayton visiting St. Joe’s, Villanova taking on Temple, and of course, Duke at North Carolina renewing one of the best rivalries in all of sports.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Oklahoma Sooners -4 at Texas Tech Red Raiders
Tubby Smith has done a valiant job getting Tech into bubble conversation despite playing in arguably the best conference in college basketball and having to contend with more top teams per conference game than anyone else in the country. At 5-7 with wins over Texas and immediately after back-to-back home wins over Iowa State and Baylor, they will look to really launch themselves into the national conversation tonight.
But it feels like a lot to ask. Iowa State and Baylor are really good teams, but they have been very vulnerable on the road. Meanwhile, Oklahoma has spent nearly the entire season ranked in the top five in the country and is fresh off a stinging loss to Kansas. Any chance of the “overlooking the lesser foe in Lubbock” went out the window with Saturday’s emotional loss. I expect Oklahoma to come in very focused and eager to get back in the win column.
Texas Tech’s recent surge is impressive. But prior to conference play, their schedule was SO lousy, with their best results being wins over Arkansas Little Rock and Richmond and a loss to Utah , they still have a lot of work to do to be dancing in March.
Oklahoma has shown some dents in their armor lately, but this is still a top-tier basketball team. Look for them to bring the Red Raiders back to reality tonight.