Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE
My top basketball matchups in the Big 12 this week, and my Big 12 player of the week.
Get ready for a great college basketball day on Saturday, there is going to be some really awesome matchups you won’t want to miss!
Top Matchups in the Big 12 This Week
#15 Oklahoma State (5-0) vs Virginia Tech (5-0) | (Saturday, Dec. 1) Oklahoma State is the hottest team in the Big 12 right now, winning their first 5 games which includes a big time upset of then #6 N.C. State the other week while winning the Puerto Rico Tip-off Classic Championship. They have two talented freshman guards Marcus Smart and Phil Forte along with dynamic teammates Markel Brown and LeBryan Nash that all average double figures in scoring this season. I think OSU is going to be a great team in the Big 12 this season with their young squad turning plenty of heads with the talent they can put on the court. Virginia Tech though is also undefeated winning their first 5 games, although VT hasn’t played the talent that OSU has gone up against. Virginia Tech plays Iowa on Tuesday and if they can win that game then watch out for this matchup because it should be a fantastic one. Two undefeated teams will always raise eyebrows and we’ll see if Oklahoma State can keep their roll going and start some talk about how they could be the top team in the Big 12 come March. I think OSU will be able to go to Virginia Tech and take them down Saturday. Predicted Winner - Oklahoma State
Baylor (4-2) vs #8 Kentucky (4-1) | (Saturday, Dec. 1) This game would have had a lot more hype if Baylor would’ve stayed in the top 25 this week by not being upset last week to Charleston. Baylor had already dropped a close game earlier in the Charleston Classic to Colorado by 2 points. I still think Baylor is a damn fine team with some of the top NBA talent on their team in all of the Big 12. They will bounce back quickly off their 2 losses and what better way to do it than take down #8 Kentucky in Rupp Arena. Kentucky is again a powerhouse of a team this year only losing to now #2 Duke and UK has three freshman that average 12+ points and 5+ rebounds per game. Not many people go into Kentucky on their home court and beat them, so Baylor would instantly gain back the respect they lost after the Charleston game. Regardless of the implications on ranking and respect in the college basketball that are included in this game, you will get to see some of the best freshman and NBA talent on either side of the ball with Isaiah Austin of BU and Nerlens Noel for UK. This game should be really exciting with lots of fast-breaks and high flying dunks, because in the next few years you will see most of the starters on both teams playing professional basketball. I think Baylor will come out strong and with a lot of fight from the upset loss still fresh in their minds, but Kentucky at home is too tough of a test for almost anyone to get by. Predicted Winner - Kentucky
Texas Tech (3-0) vs #9 Arizona (3-0) | (Saturday, Dec. 1) Since the beginning of the season I have been looking forward to this one. I had believed Tech would come into this game undefeated at 4-0, now they just have to get by Jackson State tonight to do this. I had also thought Arizona would be a top 10 team undefeated at 4-0 coming into this game; they are ranked #9 and just have to beat Northern Arizona Wednesday to be there. I don’t want to go into too much on this game because both teams still need wins this week to make the luster of this game mean a lot to fans. The game will be played on ESPNU at home in the United Spirit Arena. It’s the first chance our young squad will have to get a glimpse what it’s like to be playing in the spotlight against a team that should make a big run in the NCAA tournament. I am beyond fired up for this game to happen with both the teams coming in undefeated that I think I might not get any sleep tonight if we smoke Jackson State by a lot of points. It’s going to be thrilling the excitement we can build up going into this game, but in the end it will take an amazing effort for our guys to pull off the incredible upset over Arizona. I hope my prediction of who wins this game is wrong, I just don’t think right now we can take down a team of this caliber but we can sure as hell try! Wreck ‘em Tech! Predicted Winner - Arizona
Big 12 Player of the Week
Jeff Withey (Kansas) | Kansas easily beat Washington State and Saint Louis to win the CBE Classic championship and I thought Withey was the biggest contributor, although his teammate Travis Releford took home the tournament MVP award. Withey had 5 blocks along with 8 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal in 19 minutes of play against Washington State. The next game against Saint Louis he had 7 blocks along with 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. Releford had more points in the tourney but Withey did the all around best performance-wise to help his team get the win, which also was the best performance in the Big 12 this week. I still am wondering who we will put on the 7 footer when he plays Tech, because I don’t know if Kravic has the low-post skill to take on a player like Withey. It will probably be a job for Tolbert or Crockett.