#1 Oklahoma Sooners vs. #13 Baylor Bears (Noon ET Saturday, ESPN)
On Monday Oklahoma became the fifth #1 team to lose this season, falling 82-77 to #19 Iowa State. The teams were tied at 75 with 46 seconds to play following a 3 by Oklahoma’s Isaiah Cousins, but Iowa State pulled away, thanks to 5-for-5 shooting from the free throw line. The Sooners (15-2, 4-2 in Big 12 conference play) are led by senior guard Buddy Hield, the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year, who’s averaging 26.1 points per game and is among the leading candidates for this year’s Wooden Award.
“He’s so good at basketball!” an opposing fan screamed on Monday at Hield. “Why are you so good at basketball?!”
The #13 Baylor Bears have won four straight after defeating Kansas State 79-72 in double overtime on Wednesday, raising their record to 15-3 overall and 5-1 in the Big 12 to put themselves atop the conference standings. The Bears are led by a frontcourt featuring reigning Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year Taurean Prince, who’s averaging 15-6-3, and by Rico Gathers, who’s putting up 13-11 this season a year after being named to the First-team All Big 12 and Big 12 All-Defensive Team.
The Big 12 has been college basketball’s best conference this season, with eight teams in the top 50 of ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, and all 10 teams (yes, the Big 12 has 10 teams) posting a winning record against non-conference opponents.