Big 12 this weekend: Baylor looks to bounce back
GAME OF THE WEEKEND: Third-ranked Kansas took a big step toward its 13th straight Big 12 title when it beat No. 2 Baylor on Wednesday night. But the Jayhawks still have a big task ahead Saturday when Iowa State visits Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks (20-2, 8-1) and the Cyclones (13-8, 5-4) have played some epic games the last few years, and Kansas won 76-72 last month in Ames.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Bears (20-2, 7-2) need to rebound from their loss in Allen Fieldhouse when they face reeling Kansas State (15-7, 4-5) on Saturday. The Wildcats lost in overtime to TCU (15-7, 4-5), which returns home to face struggling Texas (8-13, 2-6). The other Big 12 games Saturday pit West Virginia (18-4, 6-3) against Oklahoma State (14-8, 3-6) and Texas Tech (15-7, 3-6) against Oklahoma (8-13, 2-7).
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Jawun Evans scored 24 points to lead Oklahoma State past Oklahoma on Monday night, but he was just 5 of 20 from the field. He was 11 of 16 at the foul line. … The Cowboys have now won four straight after a six-game losing streak. … West Virginia has won three straight after beating Iowa State on the road Tuesday night. … Kansas State has dropped three straight after blowing a lead and losing to TCU in overtime Wednesday night. Following a weak nonconference schedule, the Wildcats now face a massive uphill battle to reach the NCAA Tournament.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Kansas coach Bill Self was stunned when he learned Josh Jackson was not the Big 12 player of the week, despite the freshman forward’s 20-point, 10-rebound performance at Kentucky. But the award went instead to Evans, who merely averaged 21.5 points, eight assists and 4.5 rebounds in leading the Cowboys to a pair of wins last week. He followed it up with a big night against the Sooners.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: The final hurdles to No. 2 Baylor and No. 12 Texas meeting with unblemished conference records are this weekend. The Lady Bears (22-1, 11-0) visit Texas Tech on Saturday while the Longhorns (17-4, 11-0) play Kansas State. The first of two regular-season matchups between Baylor and Texas in a two-week span occurs Monday night in Waco, Texas.