If your team must start a bench-clearing brawl, make sure none of your valuable players are involved.
Though this is typically a hockey rule, Kansas ended up being fortunate that it also applied to basketball during this week’s brouhaha with Kansas State. Both teams had two players suspended by the Big 12 after the dust settled, but the only impact player in the group is Jayhawks forward David McCormack, who will miss two games.
With the Big 12/SEC Challenge coming on Saturday, that means McCormack will only miss one league game — a loophole that should have been closed. Naturally, that game will be against Oklahoma State, which is easily the most woeful team in the conference.
Thus, the brawl and its aftermath are highly unlikely to have any bearing on the conference title race, of which Kansas is once again squarely in the middle.
1. Baylor (16-1, 6-0) Last week: 1
The league’s best team is officially the nation’s best team as of this week’s AP Top 25. A challenge looms on Saturday, though, when the Bears visit Florida. The O’Connell Center is a tough place for any road team.
2. Kansas (15-3, 5-1) Last week: 2
Tennessee at Kansas would have been an intriguing matchup a year ago when the Volunteers were on their way to a 30-win season. This version of the Vols, currently sitting on the wrong side of the bubble, doesn’t figure to be a threat.
3. West Virginia (15-3, 4-2) Last week: 3
The Mountaineers managed to have their worst and best showings of the season in a 48-hour window. The roller coaster does not figure to head back down against a .500 Missouri squad that’s lost to Charleston Southern. Perhaps this year’s football loss at Mizzou will be fully avenged.
4. TCU (13-5, 4-2) Last week: 6
The Horned Frogs haven’t been worth a darn on the road, but apparently they are unbeatable at home. That remains the case this week as they bounced back from a blowout loss at Oklahoma with an impressive win over Texas Tech.
5. Texas Tech (12-6, 3-3) Last week: 4
Saturday marks a big opportunity for the Red Raiders, who host Kentucky in the most compelling Big 12/SEC matchup outside of Baylor’s game at Florida. The Wildcats have been erratic, losing to both Evansville and South Carolina, but a win over Kentucky always looks good on a resume.
6. Oklahoma (12-6, 3-3) Last week: 5
The Sooners are the definition of average, with no quality wins but no bad losses — they beat who they’re supposed to and lose to who they’re supposed to. But it does mean that Saturday’s game against an equally-matched Mississippi State team could go either way.
7. Iowa State (9-9, 2-4) Last week: 8
The Cyclones allowed 82 points in a win over Oklahoma State, which does not bode well for Saturday’s visit to an actual high-powered Auburn offense.
8. Texas (12-6, 2-4) Last week: 7
Barring a miracle run to end the season, the mood out of Austin seems to be that Monday’s embarrassment against the Mountaineers is the beginning of the end for Shaka Smart.
9. Kansas State (8-10, 1-5) Last week: 9
There’s no question the Wildcats dominated their lone Big 12 win, but this season will be remembered in Manhattan more for what happened in their next game.
10. Oklahoma State (9-9, 0-6) Last week: 10
The Cowboys are still winless in the Big 12, but showed signs of vast improvement in losses to Baylor and Iowa State. Though they’re probably a 4-14 team in the Big 12 at best, it’ll no longer be shocking if one of those wins comes against a team in the top half of the league.