LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — A look at the upcoming week around the Big 12 Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEKEND: Fifth-ranked Kansas visits No. 14 Texas Tech on Thursday night to tip off the first true weekend of conference games. The Jayhawks (6-1) already have wins over No. 20 Kentucky on a neutral floor and No. 8 Creighton at Allen Fieldhouse, and now will try to add a marquee win in their first true road game. The Red Raiders (6-1) lost to No. 17 Houston in their only challenge, so beating the Jayhawks would give coach Chris Beard’s bunch a big confidence boost heading into the rest of the double-round robin league schedule.
LOOKING AHEAD: Iowa State (1-3) visits No. 8 West Virginia (6-1) on Thursday night in a big game for the Mountaineers, who then head to Kansas for a significant showdown Tuesday night. Second-ranked Baylor (4-0) gets to take the floor for the first time in more than a week — the Bears have had four of their last five scheduled games cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19 — when it heads to Kansas State (3-4) on Saturday. Oklahoma State (6-0) tries to remain unbeaten when it heads to No. 11 Texas on Sunday in the other big weekend game in the Big 12.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Oklahoma State forward Cade Cunningham, a likely one-and-done and potential No. 1 overall draft pick, will get his first chance to shine on a national stage against the Longhorns. Cunningham is averaging 18.5 points, 5.7 boards and 4.0 assists in six games against overmatched opposition. He’s coming off a season-low 10 points against Wichita State, when he was just 4 of 11 from the field and committed four turnovers.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: The Big 12 was 43-12 against non-conference opponents through Tuesday night’s games, the second-best win percentage among major conferences. But the league win percentage (.643) against the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 is the best of any of them. The Big 12 is also the only conference with half of its teams ranked in the Top 25, and Oklahoma State is receiving votes in the latest poll.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: Second-ranked Baylor has been the class of the Big 12 during nonconference play, but the middle of the Big 12 might provide the most intriguing matchups of the season. Kansas State visits Iowa State and West Virginia heads to Oklahoma State on Saturday in a pair of games featuring four teams with NCAA Tournament hopes, while two more take the floor Saturday when TCU visits Texas Tech.
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