CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Heading into Wednesday night play, Big 12 basketball could be called healthy, if not robust - on both the men's and women's side.In regard to the men, three conference teams are solidly within Top 25 polls. Kansas was at No. 9, Kansas State at No. 13 and Oklahoma State No. 14 in both the Associated Press and USA Today polls. The only other team to receive any votes this week, however, was Oklahoma, which received two votes in the latter poll.Overall? The Sagarin computer rankings have the Big 12 as the nation's No. 3 hoops conference, behind the Big Ten and WVU's former conference, the Big East. After the Big 12 was No. 4 ACC, No. 5 Pac-12, No. 6 Mountain West and No. 7 SEC.The women's side almost mirrors the strength of the men. Baylor is the nation's No. 1 team in both polls, but then there's a drop. In the USA Today poll, Oklahoma State is No. 22, Iowa State is No. 24 and Oklahoma No. 25. According to the A.P. poll, however, only Oklahoma State at No. 23 joined Baylor. WVU received two votes in the latest USA Today poll.
Big 12 tidbitsIn football, Texas Tech gave new coach Kliff Kingsbury a rather nice $10.5 million contract, with $9.15 million - or 89 percent - guaranteed. He can earn $3 million more in bonuses.
Also, the contract gives Kingsbury "creative license in the design of the football team's equipment and team uniforms."How can officiating affect a game? Check the comments of Kansas State's Will Spradling, who tied a career high with 19 points, including a 7-of-7 performance from the free-throw line, in Monday's win versus WVU. "When you get to the free-throw line that many times, that gets you into the biggest rhythm of anything," he said. "You see it go through the net and that gives you confidence right there. A lot of my shots off the dribble came right from that spot. I was basically shooting free throws all night."When Texas got its first league road against TCU, it did so before a reported 3,500 in attendance at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.WVU's travel-weary team apparently isn't the only one drooping within the conference. "Everyone is tired and everyone is running on fumes," said Oklahoma forward Romero Osby. "The energy and effort comes down to being tough at the end of the year. Everyone is tired, so there isn't one person who can use that as an excuse."Perhaps in an attempt to beef up its schedule in light of upcoming playoffs, Oklahoma's football team announced the renewal of a series with Nebraska. The teams will play in 2021 and 2022.Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder announced on Wednesday that former Wildcat standout Andre Coleman would guide wide receivers next season. Coleman spent the last three seasons as an assistant at Youngstown State.There was bad blood heading into Wednesday's Kansas at Oklahoma State men's hoops game. When OSU won at KU, Cowboy standout Marcus Smart did a cartwheel and backflip on the center-court Jayhawk logo. "If their coach allowed that," said KU guard Travis Releford, "then that's up to them. If we go and get a victory there, you won't see us doing backflips or flips on their court. We are just going to walk out in style."Baylor entered Wednesday's action with three of the Big 12's four top offensive rebounders in Isaiah Austin, Cory Jefferson and Rico Gathers.Prior to Wednesday's game at Baylor, Iowa State had lost five consecutive league road games. The Cyclones, though, were the Big 12's top scoring team, averaging 79 points.
WVU was No. 7 in Big 12 scoring offense and No. 8 in scoring defense before Wednesday's league action. The Mountaineers were No. 3, though, both in steals and turnover margin.Baylor's Pierre Jackson (18.4 points per game) and Kansas' Ben McLemore (16.7) led the league in scoring.Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.