Kansas State Wildcats basketball
basketball Edit

Fact or Fiction: Big 12 wins the Big 12/SEC Challenge

LSU at TCU: 11 a.m. on ESPN2
Oklahoma at Auburn: 1 p.m. on ESPN
Missouri at Iowa State: 1 p.m. on ESPNU
West Virginia at Arkansas: 1 p.m. on ESPN2
Baylor at Alabama: 3 p.m. on ESPN
Kansas State at Ole Miss: 3 p.m. on ESPNU
Oklahoma State at Florida: 3 p.m. on ESPN2
Kentucky at Kansas: 5 p.m. on ESPN
Mississippi State at Texas Tech: 5 p.m. on ESPN2
Tennessee at Texas: 7 p.m. on ESPN


The SEC is no slouch. Auburn is the No. 1 team in the country and LSU, Tennessee and Kentucky are also ranked.

And if Will Wade and LSU are as good as their rankings suggest and are not coming back down to earth a bit as could be happening, then the first game of the challenge is a winnable for the SEC. They wouldn't pit LSU against TCU if they were making the matchups today.

Kentucky has the talent to defeat Kansas, even if it is in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks nearly lost there on Monday. The Wildcats already hung with Duke and smacked North Carolina (even if it isn't the Tar Heels of old).

Texas has a lot of the basketball metrics on their side, but they have underachieved a bit on the scoreboard within the league. That may mean they're due, but Rick Barnes and Tennessee are plenty good enough to escape with a road victory.

Auburn should be a convincing favorite at home against Oklahoma. As said earlier, they are the No. 1 team in the nation, and they're hosting a team that had lost four games in a row before defeating West Virginia.

There's also a few teams that have just been wildly inconsistent. Arkansas has played some bad basketball this season that has cost them, but they are also very talented and have rose up and met the mark a few times as well. Kansas State saw that in Kansas City.

Even Missouri has been all over the map. Sure, they were smashed by Arkansas, Kentucky and Illinois, but they also decimated Ole Miss, knocked off Alabama and just about upset Auburn the other night.

The SEC stands a chance if Auburn takes care of Oklahoma and LSU can get them on the right foot, because they'll be winnable spots when Florida hosts Oklahoma State and Arkansas hosts West Virginia.

Christian Braun
Christian Braun


For the Big 12, it is about their depth. The preseason matchups probably do them no favors, because some of the preseason expectations in the SEC haven't come to fruition and there's a chance it has benefited the Southeastern Conference.

With that being said, if the bottom of the Big 12 is as potent as everyone would have it, they should be able to dispatch a conference that typically is ranked third for fourth among major conferences in the advanced metrics.

The must-wins are likely from Iowa State, Baylor and Texas Tech. Those three have to take care of business. And we haven't mentioned the K-State versus Ole Miss contest, and in a roundabout way, that could decide. It has potential to be a swing game.

***Subscribe to K-StateOnline by clicking here***

Talk K-State football and basketball in the largest, most active K-State message board community anywhere, The Foundation.

Rick Barnes
Rick Barnes (USATODAY)


I'll leave this spot as my prediction. I'll bold my projected winners of Saturday's 10 matchups.

Oklahoma at Auburn
Missouri at Iowa State
West Virginia at Arkansas
Baylor at Alabama
Kansas State at Ole Miss
Oklahoma State at Florida
Kentucky at Kansas
Mississippi State at Texas Tech
Tennessee at Texas

That would make it 7-3 in favor of the Big 12.