Written By: Lucas Garza
The SEC shocked the Big 12 in this weekend’s Big 12/SEC Challenge. Since the beginning of the season, the Big 12 has been referred to as the best conference in the country, but after losing six of the conference’s ten games this weekend, some are questioning if any Big 12 teams will go deep into the tournament.
The day began with an expected Baylor loss to Florida, and Texas Tech was able to sneak past South Carolina on the road, who appeared in last year’s Final Four. Then, Texas and Kansas State handled their opponents well at home, as Oklahoma and Trae Young were trying to climb from behind the entire game against Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Young’s 17 points and 8 assists were not enough for the Sooners.
Rick Barnes, the former Longhorns’ coach and multiple Big 12 Coach of the Year winner would lead his Tennessee team over Iowa State as predicted, and the Kansas guards would have another good showing in Allen Fieldhouse against the big men from Texas A&M. Oklahoma State and Arkansas battled it out in Fayetteville, and Arkansas was able to win the physical battle by one point.
The big surprises of the day came in Morgantown and Nashville. West Virginia led Kentucky by 15 at the half, and saw their lead quickly disappear in the second half. The experience and press from West Virginia was a task that the young guards from Kentucky were able conquer.
TCU went to play Vanderbilt in their oddly structured Memorial Gymnasium. TCU was able to climb back from a double digit deficit in the second half, but was not able to close at the end or get up a good last second shot. TCU began conference play with no losses, but have lost six games since. This loss to a Vanderbilt team who only had seven wins at the time will not look good on TCU’s resume as they look forward into March.
College Gameday will be headed to Austin, Texas for the first time in nine years when Texas hosts Oklahoma and Trae Young. The Gameday crew will likely discuss Andrew Jones’ leukemia diagnosis, Shaka Smart’s hot seat, and the outstanding play of the freshmen Mo Bamba and Trae Young. Last time College Gameday was in Austin, Jeff Capel brought his No. 2 ranked OU team led by Blake Griffin into Austin. Griffin would miss most of the game due to a concussion caused by Texas guard Dogus Balbay. A.J. had one of the great performances in Erwin Center history as he scored 16 straight points late in the game to rally against OU. The past two Red River Rivalry games in Austin have been great. Texas’ 25-3 run against Buddy Hield’s No. 3 ranked Sooners’ electrified the crowd in 2016, and Andrew Jones hit a buzzer beater to beat OU last season.