A look at the upcoming weekend around the Big 12 Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEKEND
After the Big 12 had three of its five midweek games postponed due to COVID-19 protocols, including a tantalizing Thursday night matchup between No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 12 Texas, the league gets back to work in earnest on Saturday with a (nearly) full slate of games. The highlights are No. 13 West Virginia visiting the Longhorns and No. 15 Texas Tech heading to No. 23 Kansas. The Mountaineers had their game against second-ranked Baylor postponed, so they’ll be playing for the first time since a three-game win streak ended against the Sooners. The Red Raiders have been off even longer, having three games against Baylor and TCU called off. And now they get a hot bunch of Jayhawks that responded to falling out of the Top 25 for the first time in 12 years by ripping off four straight wins.
The Sooners visit Iowa State and Kansas State travels to TCU in the other conference games Saturday, while the Bears are still on hiatus due to COVID-19 and had their game against Oklahoma State postponed. The Cowboys are due to play Texas Tech in their next game Monday night, and Baylor is finally scheduled to be back on the court Tuesday night against the Cyclones. That’s the same night Kansas heads to Texas for a high-profile midweek matchup.
PLAYER TO WATCH
One of the big reasons Oklahoma has climbed into the top 10 is Austin Reaves, the senior guard who has proven to be much more than just a sharpshooter over the past few weeks. Reaves has scored at least 16 points in four straight games, and the past three he’s added at least six rebounds. The coup de grace came against West Virginia, when Reaves poured in 28 points and made a nifty crossover before drilling a floating jumper for the final margin in a 91-90 double-overtime victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Baylor’s long stretch without a game means it has enjoyed matching the program’s best start, set during the 2011-12 season, but hasn’t been able to build upon it. … Jalen Coleman-Lands has led Iowa State in scoring in its last three games, including 17 points at Oklahoma State. … Jalen Wilson had 11 points and nine rebounds while Marcus Garrett scored a game-high 14 in a the Jayhawks’ win over Kansas State. … The Wildcats’ starting backcourt of Mike McGuirl (0-6), Selton Miguel (0-2) and Nigel Pack (0-7) were a combined 0 for 15 from the 3-point arc against Kansas. … The Sooners have won seven of their last eight games with all five starters in double-figures scoring in their win over the Mountaineers. … West Virginia’s Derek Culver had a career-best 29 points and 14 rebounds in the loss to the Sooners. … Cowboys standout Cade Cunningham, a potential top pick in the NBA draft, matched a career high with four 3-pointers and scored 21 points against Iowa State.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE
Iowa State (14-8, 10-5 Big 12) faces Oklahoma State (16-6, 12-4) on Saturday in a game matching two of the top four teams in the Big 12. … Baylor has won eight straight games to lead the Big 12 at 11-1 in conference play. … Oklahoma’s Madi Williams had 27 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Iowa State. She also scored 21 points while sparking a 15-0 fourth-quarter run in an upset of the Mountaineers. … Lexi Donarski set an Iowa State freshman record with 32 points in a win over the Horned Frogs. She was 10 of 14 from the field. … Oklahoma State’s Natasha Mack and Texas’ Charli Collier each have 14 double-doubles this season, tied for second in the nation. … Vivian Gray of Texas Tech is the only player to lead her team in all five major statistical categories: 18.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.2 steals per game.