by Eli Boettger – January 8, 2018
The Big XII is one of the most competitive conferences that college basketball has ever seen.
Sitting comfortably atop the conference ladder, the Big XII has nine of its ten members in the KenPom top 60. Texas Tech, Kansas, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and TCU are all among the nation’s top 25. Half of the league is currently ranked in the latest AP poll (Baylor fell out of the rankings last week), and eight of the ten teams have a winning percentage of .733 or better.
As a result, gaining momentum throughout the season in the Big XII expects to be an impossible task. After three games apiece, only West Virginia and Texas Tech remain unbeaten in conference play. The 3-0 starts by the Mountaineers and Red Raiders could be the only instances where a Big 12 team records three consecutive conference wins this season.
Using win probabilities via KenPom.com, there’s only one three-game stretch the remainder of the season in which any Big XII team is favored to win three consecutive games.
Texas Tech has a three-game slate from January 20 to January 31 where KenPom gives the Red Raiders a 64.26% chance of going 3-0. Those three matchups are against Iowa State in Ames, followed by Oklahoma State and Texas in Lubbock. Relatively speaking, the easiest slate of three consecutive games in the Big XII will still likely include at least one eventual NCAA Tournament team.
The ten most likely 3-0 stretches in Big XII conference play the remainder of the season is below.
Texas Tech’s late January stretch stands alone atop the list. Kansas, which has won or shared each of the last 13 Big XII regular season titles, has its best shot at stringing together three consecutive wins when it plays at Kansas State and then hosts Oklahoma State and TCU. Even though it’s the most likely three-game winning streak of the conference season for KU, KenPom gives the Jayhawks just a 39.8% chance of a 3-0 record over those three games.
The most unlikely three-game winning streak of Big XII league play occurs when Iowa State hosts West Virginia (10th in KenPom at 14-1) before going on the road to play Baylor (36th in KenPom at 11-4) and Texas Tech (4th in KenPom at 14-1). The Cyclones have a microscopic 0.16% (1-in-625) chance of venturing through those three games unblemished.
If Steve Prohm wants to guide Iowa State back to its program’s seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, the Cyclones will need a little bit of Hilton Magic along the way.