Texas hosts West Virginia looking to boost NCAA hopes
A look at the upcoming weekend around the Big 12:
GAME OF THE WEEKEND: West Virginia at Texas. The Longhorns have lost five of seven and are on the verge of falling out of NCAA Tournament contention. A win over the 20th-ranked Mountaineers would be an enormous boost to their resume. West Virginia, on the other hand, would clinch a second-place finish in the league with a victory.
LOOKING AHEAD TO THE WEEKEND: Oklahoma, which has dropped seven of eight, hosts last-place Iowa State in a rare Friday night matchup in the Big 12. Should the Sooners fall to the depleted and defeated Cyclones — who will finish at least two games behind every else in the league — an NCAA Tournament bid would suddenly seem doubtful. Baylor and Kansas State meet in Manhattan on Saturday and TCU and Texas Tech meet in Lubbock, with the Red Raiders seeking to snap a four-game losing skid. Oklahoma State hosts Kansas with a chance for a rare season sweep of the Jayhawks. Should that happen, the Cowboys would head to the league tournament in Kansas City knowing that a run might result in an unlikely NCAA tournament bid.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Kenrich Williams, TCU. Williams is averaging 13 points a game and is second in the league with 9.3 rebounds per outing. Williams is also averaging 4.1 assists and is shooting 41.6 percent on 3s. The Horned Frogs likely wouldn’t be making their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 20 years without his production and leadership.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: With a strong shooting performance against Tech, TCU has a chance to finish the regular season above 50 percent. The Horned Frogs enter the weekend at 50.3 percent, with Kansas at 49.7 percent. ...Despite its recent woes, Tech is still second in the league in scoring margin at plus-11.4. ...Iowa State will likely end the season as the only team to score less than their opponents. The Cyclones, down starters Nick Weiler-Babb and Solomon Young for the season, are getting outscored by 1.9 points a game. ...West Virginia leads the league in blocked shots, steals and free throw percentage.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: The league tournament begins on Friday when Kansas State and Kansas square off, followed by Iowa State and Texas Tech. Baylor is the top seed after going 18-0 in league play, and Texas is the two seed. West Virginia is seeded sixth, just like it was a year ago when it stunned three ranked teams to win the tournament.