By KEVIN LONNQUIST
Big 12 Insider
The Big 12 enjoys its first full slate on Saturday with five games. Home court advantage in this conference is so valuable. Kansas has won 31 consecutive home games at the Allen Fieldhouse and 100 of its last 101 overall. Baylor is 51-9 at the Ferrell Center since 2009-10. Kansas State is 9-0 at the Bramlage Coliseum this season.
But winning on the road is what will separate teams from qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. Oklahoma made a bit of a statement winning at West Virginia last Saturday, while the Moutaineers may have saved their season by winning in overtime Wednesday in Austin. Baylor took care of business at Texas Tech on Tuesday.
There will be three more defining games this weekend: Kansas State at West Virginia, Texas at Iowa State and Oklahoma State at Oklahoma.
The Wildcats make their road debut in the Big 12 so it will be interesting to see how Bruce Weber’s kids respond. Rodney McGruder will be counted to lead the way. He has three 30-point games and 16 20-point games thus far.
Texas is in real trouble after dropping its first two against Baylor and West Virginia. Winning in Ames is difficult. Then, there’s Bedlam basketball style with the Cowboys and Sooners at Lloyd Noble. The young Cowboys already tripped at Kansas State last week.
BIG 12 WEEKEND
12:30 p.m. Saturday (Big 12 Network)
The Skinny: The Mountaineers won in Austin despite shooting 30.6 percent. Kansas State has won five straight.
1:00 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU)
The Skinny: The Longhorns dropped both Big 12 games in overtime and really struggle to score. Iowa State has outrebounded 12 of its last 14 opponents.
2:00 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2)
The Skinny: Sooner senior forward Romero Osby has made 31 consecutive free throws, six shy of the school record. Oklahoma State is averaging 65 points through its first two games.
3:00 p.m. Saturday (Big 12 Network)
The Skinny: The Red Raiders just lost by 34 points at home on Tuesday against Baylor. They’ll be up for the Jayhawks but expect it to be ugly by the second half. Kansas coach Bill Self is 124-23 lifetime in the Big 12.
5:00 p.m. Saturday (FSSW)
The Skinny: Perhaps a trap game for the Bears because they play on Big Monday at Kansas. Realistically, Baylor should have no problem against the Horned Frogs who have scoring issues. Baylor coach Scott Drew returns from his two-game suspension.
NEWS & NOTES
• Big Monday begins this coming at 8:00 p.m. Monday on ESPN when Baylor visits Kansas. This has developed into a nice rivalry over the years. While Kansas won both regular season meetings in 2011-12, Baylor defeated Kansas for the conference tournament championship.
• Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim and Kansas’ Jeff Withey are tied for the conference lead in double-doubles with six.
BIG 12 BASKETBALL POWER RANKINGS
Each week during the Big 12 conference basketball season, Rattle and Hum Sports unveils its weekly power rankings. We also provide our postseason projections.
1. Kansas – Jayhawks know Iowa State gave them a gift Wednesday
2. Kansas State – Wildcats have a chance to start 3-0
3. Baylor – PG Pierre Jackson is so consistent
4. Oklahoma – A win against Oklahoma State fuels NCAA tournament talk
5. Oklahoma State – Cowboys have held six opponents below 50 points
6. Iowa State – Cyclones next four are versus Texas, West Virginia, TCU and Texas Tech
7. West Virginia – The Mountaineers are just going to have to win ugly this year
8. Texas – Smelling disaster with this season
9. Texas Tech – Jaye Crockett has led the team in scoring in 10 games this year
10. TCU – This could arguably be the worst team in the history of the Big 12
Projected NCAA tournament teams: Kansas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Baylor
NIT tournament teams: Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa State