February 29, 2008

Wildcats, Jayhawks set to meet again

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UPCOMING GAMES
Saturday
Nebraska at Oklahoma State
Texas A&M at Oklahoma
Missouri at Baylor
Texas at Texas Tech
Iowa State at Colorado
Kansas State at Kansas
Monday
Texas Tech at Kansas
Tuesday
Colorado at Kansas State
Nebraska at Texas
Wednesday
Texas A&M at Baylor
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State
Iowa State at Missouri

Best matchup: Kansas State at Kansas. The last time these teams met Kansas State took over first place in the Big 12 with an 84-75 win in Manhattan. The second meeting will have more of an impact on NCAA Tournament seeding. Kansas looked like a lock for a No. 1 seed before losing two of its past four, including a 61-60 setback to Oklahoma State on Saturday. Kansas State's seeding is dropping by the week. The Wildcats are 3-5 since defeating Kansas, including a four-game losing streak on the road.

The pressure is on: Oklahoma and Texas A&M. The postseason picture for both has been muddied after recent weeks. The Aggies have lost three of four, but recovered with a 98-54 win over Texas Tech on Wednesday. Oklahoma has lost two in a row, including an embarrassing 63-45 loss at Nebraska on Wednesday. When the Sooners and Aggies meet in Norman on Saturday, seeding - or even a tournament appearance - could be on the line.

Upset alert: Oklahoma State over Oklahoma. The Sooners have lost four of their past five on the road, including a 72-58 loss to Colorado on Feb. 9 and consecutive losses to Texas and Nebraska last week when Oklahoma was outscored 125-90. As for Oklahoma State, Sean Sutton has gone from hot seat to hero in the past two weeks, winning four in a row and five of six, including a win over Kansas at Gallagher-Iba. All signs point to the Cowboys putting a thorn in Oklahoma's tournament hopes in the Bedlam Game.

RPI watch: Texas' push to be a No. 1 seed could be helped by its rise in the RPI. The Longhorns were No. 11 three weeks ago and now are No. 4. The Longhorns are followed by No. 8 Kansas, No. 31 Oklahoma, No. 33 Baylor, No. 42 Kansas State and No. 43 Texas A&M.

Key stat: Five Big 12 teams had winning records in February. Texas (8-0 in February) and Kansas (5-2) aren't surprises, but Oklahoma State (5-2) and Nebraska (5-3) may have worked themselves into postseason play. Texas A&M (4-3) also had a winning record.

Freshman to watch: Kansas State forward Bill Walker has struggled at times, though it hasn't always manifested itself on the scoresheet. Wildcats coach Frank Martin benched Walker for the final 9:33 last week in a loss to Nebraska for what appeared to be lackadaisical play. He responded by scoring 31 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a loss to Baylor. He followed that with his worst game of the season, a one-point outing in a loss to Texas in which he was 0-for-14 from the field.

Who's hot: Texas guard D.J. Augustin has averaged 23.3 points in his past three games. He was 26 of 47 from the field (55.3 percent) in that span. He also was named a first-team Academic All-America by the College Sports Information Directors of America. … Missouri junior forward Leo Lyons had the best game of his career in Tuesday's loss to Oklahoma State: 27 points, 18 rebounds, three blocks, 12 of 13 from the field. … Oklahoma State guard Byron Eaton has averaged 20.8 points over his past three games. … Baylor forward Kevin Rogers has had a double-double in each of the past four games, averaging 18 points and 12.8 rebounds in that span.

Who's not: Oklahoma center Longar Longar is averaging 6.2 points and 3.6 rebounds in five games since returning from a leg injury. He averaged 13.2 points and 5.9 boards before the injury. … Colorado seniors Richard Roby and Marcus Hall combined to shoot 9-for-29 in a loss to Baylor on Wednesday. … Texas Tech freshman Mike Singletary has found a spot in Pat Knight's doghouse. He was relegated to the bench and sent to the locker room with 16:47 left in Wednesday's loss to Texas A&M. Singletary has scored 13 total points in the past four games and none in the past two.

Worth noting: Kansas State's Michael Beasley has won the Big 12 rookie-of-the-week award five times in a row. He scored a Big 12-record 44 points in a loss to Baylor on Saturday. … Nebraska guard Cookie Miller (sprained shoulder) is day-to-day. He didn't play Wednesday against Oklahoma. …Texas Tech senior forward Tyler Hoffmeister, who won a walk-on roster spot on ESPN's reality show "Knight School," started the second half and played a career-high 15 minutes in the 98-54 loss to Texas A&M on Wednesday.

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David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dfox@rivals.com.




 

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