Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg and TCU coach Trent Johnson both mentioned Smart's ability to impact games when they spoke about the freshman. Kansas coach Bill Self said the Cowboys' freshman should be in the discussion for Player of the Year — along with Jayhawks senior Jeff Withey, of course.
“I think so much of it comes down to who's the most successful one and all that,” Self said. “If anyone has turned a vote in already, that's premature because we still have so much ball left.”
THE BRACKETOLOGY ON BUBBLE TEAMS
On the bubble: Baylor and Iowa State
The two Big 12 teams might not see March Madness. Baylor coach Scott Drew and Iowa State's Hoiberg weighed in on bracketology.
Drew: “No question, you have to win games this time of year. The big things for us is we have opportunities. Can't do anything about the past.”
Hoiberg: “I try to not put too much importance on it with our guys. Focus on the task at hand. Right now, for us, that's Oklahoma State. I'm sure our guys read about it with all the social media that's out there, but if you get too far ahead of yourselves I think you lose focus on what's ahead of you in the short run.”
The four team teams playing in the first round of the Big 12 Championship will be West Virginia, Texas, Texas Tech and TCU. All other teams have a first-round bye.
Oklahoma and West Virginia face off on Wednesday, marking the first time in Big 12 Conference history that two teams play three times in a regular season.
Kansas ranks first in field goal percentage defense while Iowa State ranks first in 3-point field goals per game.
Of the top-20 scorers in the league, nine are freshman, sophomores, or newcomers to their team.
Texas Tech coach Chris Walker on the challenges his team is facing going up against Kansas: “What challenges aren't we facing?”