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February 12, 2013

Player Ratings: Kansas 83, K-State 62. Plus a bonus look at the Big 12 title race

Kansas State didn’t play well and had to battle early foul trouble. Kansas played its best game in more than a month and Ben McLemore made six three-pointers.

That combination led to an 83-62 victory for the Jayhawks.

We will look back at it in a moment in another edition of Player Ratings, but for now let’s examine the race for a Big 12 championship. K-State and Kansas are tied in first at 8-3 while Oklahoma State sits a half game back with struggling Texas Tech next up on the schedule. Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Baylor all have four losses, but right now it seems like there are only three main contenders.

They could all be labeled the favorite. Oklahoma State has the most talent (Marcus Smart, Le’Bryan Nash, Markel Brown) and an ideal remaining schedule (K-State and Kansas still have to go to Stillwater). Kansas has the most experience coming off eight straight Big 12 titles. And nobody takes care of business better than K-State. The Wildcats don’t have any bad losses.

But all three teams have flaws. The Cowboys are young and have never been in this situation before. Besides, do you really trust Travis Ford as a coach when the pressure is on? The Jayhawks have issues at point guard and will be haunted by a loss at TCU the rest of the way. Their schedule is back-loaded with remaining games at Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Baylor. The Wildcats aren’t getting consistent play inside and play at Texas a week after Myck Kabongo’s return. Kansas and Oklahoma State avoided that road challenge.

It’s a wide-open race that could go in many different directions. Maybe even a three-way tie. No matter what, it will be fun to watch.

OK, onto the Player Ratings:

Rodney McGruder – 8: McGruder had a brilliant second half and finished with 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals. But he was quiet early on, and lost four turnovers. That offset an otherwise strong performance. Last game: 9.5. Average: 8.13. (more…)

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