Shakeups affect Big 12 standings

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Sooners’ power forward Kristian Doolittle attempts a layup during the 84-83 loss to Texas on Jan. 23. Doolittle nearly led Oklahoma to a road victory with a team-high 29 points.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

West Virginia knocks off Kansas

The No. 18 Mountaineers fed off of a rabid home crowd in Morgantown to down the No. 2 Jayhawks, 85-69. Kansas led 59-58 with under 10 minutes remaining, but Bob Huggins’ team exploded with a 27-7 run to close out the Big 12 duel. 

Sophomore power forward Esa Ahmad shined for the Mountaineers with 27 points and five rebounds in the convincing victory. West Virginia is now the first team in college basketball to defeat two top-two teams a season since the 2011–12 Indiana Hoosiers.  The Mountaineers have also won six of their last seven matchups against AP top 25 teams. Kansas will fall in the rankings after its second defeat of the year, breaking an 18-game win streak. The Jayhawks, (18–2, 7–1) previously unbeaten in Big 12 play, earn their first conference loss while West Virginia (16–4, 5–3) inches closer to the top.

Oklahoma falls to Texas in stunner

The Sooners earned a trip to the Final Four last season in Houston, but this season is heading even further south. After leading Texas by five points with 17 seconds to go on Monday night, the unthinkable happened: the Longhorns nailed a three-pointer, benefitted from two Sooner missed free throws and sunk another three-pointer with less than two seconds remaining to complete the unlikely comeback in Austin, 84-83. 

Oklahoma was primarily led by freshman small forward Kristian
Doolittle, who led the crimson with a 29-point, 10-rebound double-double. Oklahoma struggled with ball movement offensively, only assisting on three of 27 baskets. The Sooners’ nightmare season continues, falling to 8–11 after the defeat. Oklahoma now sits a half of a game away from the Big 12’s worst overall record.

Horned Frogs sitting on the bubble

First-year head coach Jamie Dixon revived a previously dormant TCU basketball program. The Horned Frogs started the year with a fiery 11–1 start in non-conference play, downing major programs such as UNLV and Washington in the process. Although improved from its 2–16 conference record a year ago, the Horned Frogs have not seen the successful results in Big 12 play. 

TCU fell to Oklahoma State in Stillwater 89-76 on Monday after the Cowboys surged in the second half. Dixon’s program has now dropped three consecutive contests, sporting a 3–5 conference record. But TCU has yet to finish with a conference record better than 4–14 since joining the Big 12 in 2012, so the Horned Frogs are still trending upward.

Big 12/SEC Challenge begins Saturday

The annual Big 12/SEC Challenge provides teams from each conference with one last opportunity for a non-conference game. All 10 Big 12 members will participate on Saturday, with five of them hosting games. In the three-year history of the series, the Big 12 has proven to be the
superior conference, faring 7–3, 6–4 and 7–3 in past editions of the event. 

Compelling matchups this weekend include West Virginia-Texas A&M, Oklahoma-Florida, Kansas State-Tennessee and the ever-anticipated Kansas-
Kentucky showdown.