Jamie Rhodes-US PRESSWIRE
My top basketball matchups in the Big 12 this week, and my Big 12 player of the week.
Top Matchups in the Big 12 This Week
#22 Cincinnati(3-0) vs Iowa State(3-0) | (Friday, Nov. 23) This will be a fun holiday college basketball tournament game part of the Global Sports Classic in Las Vegas. Cincinnati and Iowa State should be coming into the game undefeated on Friday and will have a lot on the line as the next game brings on either UNLV or Oregon (winners/losers of each game in the tourney play each other). Cincinnati has been crushing their easy non-conference opponents this season averaging 91.7 points per game, they beat North Carolina A&T 93-39 on Sunday. Cincy small forward Sean Kilpatrick made eight 3-pointers in the NCAT game and averages 21 ppg. I think Iowa State is a really good team, themselves averaging 89.3 points per contest against some small non-conference schools. ISU is a very solid team, with lots of chemistry and 5 guys on the team that average 12+ ppg over the first 3 games. If Iowa State can pull a win over Cincinnati and then play good against a lethal UNLV team that will most likely beat Oregon, I would say they are going to be a hard team for anyone in the Big 12 to beat come conference play. I don’t think ISU will have what it takes to beat Cincy in this game, but it should be a fun one to watch. Predicted Winner - Cincinnati
TCU(3-1) at Northwestern(3-0) | (Friday, Nov. 23) Another game as part of a holiday tournament this week, TCU will take on undefeated Northwestern in the South Padre Island Invitational. (Side note: I might have picked this game because South Padre Island has a special place in my heart forever as 3 weeks ago I asked my fiancée on the beaches of SPI to marry me. She’s from Florida so I didn’t want to go down from Houston to the beaches of Galveston to do it and be embarrassed of all the jellyfish and seaweed floating around.) TCU dropped a close game to SMU by 3 last week and probably doesn’t have a great chance against a Northwestern team that made the NIT post-season tournament last year. TCU has one player that averages double-digits in scoring junior guard Jarvis Ray, and Northwestern has three double-digit scorers this season so far. Northwestern likes to spread the ball to everyone on the court and is 1st in the nation at 24.3 assists per game. I don’t think Northwestern is a powerhouse basketball program, but if TCU can stay close or win this game they might have a chance to not be the 10th ranked team in the Big 12 as was predicted in the pre-season. It might be a good game to watch, but Northwestern might put it away early. The next game of the tournament for TCU and Northwestern will be University of Alabama-Birmingham or Illinois State (winners/losers of each game in the tourney play each other). Predicted Winner - Northwestern
Big 12 Player of the Week
Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) | Two weeks into the season, and I have already picked 2 freshman as the player of the week each time. This guard is a baller, and Oklahoma State might give Baylor and Kansas a tough time in the Big 12 as the dark horse candidate to win the Big 12 title. Last week they won the championship in the Puerto Rico Tip-off classic beating Akron, Tennessee, and majorly upsetting #6 NC State. Smart was named tournament MVP as he averaged over 17 points per game, over 8 rebounds, over 4 assists, and over 3 steals in the three games of the tournament. He is 6’4’’ and 225 lbs of strength and quickness, Tech needs to watch out for him in the Big 12.