PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Big 12, Big Ten with an important day of hoops

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 1 Oklahoma at No. 13 Baylor, 12:00 p.m.

From Rob Dauster’s Weekend Preview.

If you want to know how wild the Big 12 has been this season, this game is the only example that you need to know. The last two teams to be ranked No. 1 in the country — Kansas and the current No. 1, Oklahoma — are both members of the league, but entering this weekend, the team that currently sits all alone at the top of the league table is Baylor.

Yes, that Baylor. The one that is coached by Scott Drew, a running internet joke for bad coaching. The one that was ruthlessly embarrassed by Kansas in Phog Allen Fieldhouse in the conference opener, a game that the Bears lost by 28 and trailed by 20 just seven minutes into the game. But if they can take care of business against the Sooners at home, the Bears will be 6-1 in league play and destined for a top ten ranking come Monday morning.

In a conference that includes the Sooners, the Jayhawks, Iowa State, West Virginia and Shaka Smart, we’re a third of the way through league play and Baylor is one win away from sitting in the driver’s seat.

This season, man.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: No. 7 Maryland at No. 11 Michigan State, 6:30 p.m. 

From Rob Dauster’s Weekend Preview:

The Big 12 isn’t the only league that’s whacked.

The Big Ten is, too.

Iowa is sitting in first place, Michigan State has lost three straight and already has four league losses, and Maryland took a loss at Michigan, needed a buzzer-beater at Wisconsin and got taken to overtime by Northwestern. In a weekend where the top four teams in the conference are all squaring off — more on that in a second — this is the game with the most intrigue. Can Maryland get back to playing like a national title contender? Will Michigan State get back to playing like … a tournament team?

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 18 Butler at Creighton, 7:30 p.m.

From Rob Dauster’s Weekend Preview:

Creighton has proven to be a tough out this season. They beat Georgetown. They won at Seton Hall. They came within one banked-home jumper of taking Providence to overtime. They’re a team that still has an outside chance of making a run at the NCAA tournament, but they desperately need some quality wins on their résumé. Butler would qualify as that, and the Bulldogs have been anything but impressive through Big East play. They’re 2-4 in league play, but all five of their losses this season have come against quality competition. Creighton needs this, but Butler needs it, too.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1. On Wednesday, No. 6 West Virginia found out what happens when their press doesn’t work, as they lost at home to Texas in spectacularly ugly fashion. On Saturday, the Mountaineers will look to bounce back from that loss at Texas Tech, which has been a tough place for visitors to get a win this season.

2. Cal has been very tough at home and the Golden Bears get a prime chance to move up in the Pac-12 standings by hosting No. 12 Arizona. Although Cal sits a disappointing 3-3 in conference play, they are 3-0 at home.

3. N.C. State snapped a four-game losing streak in ACC play this week as they went into Pittsburgh and blew out the Panthers. No. 20 Duke, on the other hand, is still skidding, as they lost their third straight game on Monday night to Syracuse. On Saturday, the Blue Devils will head to Raleigh to take on the Wolfpack, a game that both teams desperately need to win.

4. Many have written off Vanderbilt after a mediocre stretch of recent play but the Commodores can be right in the SEC mix with a win at No. 23 Kentucky. Does Skal Labissiere show up again for the Wildcats like he did the other night. Will the recent play of Derek Willis sustain for Kentucky?

5. A number of east-coast games have been postponed due to the weather including No. 16 Providence at No. 4 Villanova and No. 8 SMU at Temple. Find a complete list of postponed games here.

OTHER TOP 25 GAMES

  • Seton Hall at No. 5 Xavier, 2:00 p.m.
  • Missouri at No. 10 Texas A&M, 3:00 p.m.
  • Wake Forest at No. 15 Miami, 12:00 p.m.
  • No. 17 Louisville at Georgia Tech, 4:00 p.m.
  • No. 19 Iowa State at TCU, 4:00 p.m.
  • No. 24 South Carolina at Tennessee, 12:00 p.m.
  • Northwestern at No. 25 Indiana, 12:00 p.m.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • Georgetown at UConn, 12:00 p.m.
  • Saint Louis at UMass, 12:00 p.m.
  • Boston College at Notre Dame, 12:00 p.m.
  • LSU at Alabama, 2:00 p.m.
  • Ole Miss at Mississippi State, 2:00 p.m.
  • Michigan at Nebraska, 2:00 p.m.
  • South Florida at Houston, 4:00 p.m.
  • Pitt at Florida State, 4:00 p.m.
  • Gonzaga at Pacific, 4:00 p.m.
  • UCLA at Oregon, 4:00 p.m.
  • Arkansas at Georgia, 6:00 p.m.
  • Oklahoma State at Kansas State, 7:00 p.m.
  • Auburn at Florida, 8:00 p.m.
  • Marquette at St. John’s, 8:00 p.m.
  • Illinois at Minnesota, 8:30 p.m.
  • Colorado at Washington State, 9:00 p.m.
  • UNLV at Nevada, 10:00 p.m.
  • Arizona State at Stanford, 11:00 p.m.