Welcome to the first edition of The Week Ahead. Very few of us can watch games every night. You and I have a lot going on whether it’s with the family, coaching the kid’s team, work, church or something else. That’s where The Week Ahead comes into play. Every week I will break down the biggest games of the week so you can plan your week. There are some games you have to see or record and watch later. I’ll let you know which games are most worth your time.
BEST OF THE WEEK: Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs (2:05 pm Sunday on CBS)
There isn’t a bigger event in Kansas City this week than the Chiefs home game against the Houston Texans on Sunday. The Chiefs will be the biggest thing in town as long as they are still in the playoffs. The Chiefs opened as a 9 point favorite over Houston.
Let’s not forget, the Chiefs and Texans played in Arrowhead in Week 6. The Texans outplayed the Chiefs and won 31-24. But the Texans didn’t play the Chiefs team they will play this week. The Chiefs inactive list for that game included: WR Sammy Watkins, DL Chris Jones, OL Eric Fisher, LB Dorian O’Daniel, OL Andrew Wylie, and LB Anthony Hitchens. And although Patrick Mahomes played in the game he was dealing with an ankle that prevented him from being Patrick Mahomes.
Even with Mahomes playing on an injured ankle, the Chiefs scored 24 points against the Texans. Patrick Mahomes threw for 273 yards and three touchdowns. He only completed 19 of 35 passes and did throw an interception but overall it was a very successful day on offense for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs defense allowed 472 yards to the Texans. Deshaun Watson was 30-for-42 passing for 280 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Carlos Hyde ran for 116 yards on 26 carries. And the Chiefs defense had not yet completely implemented Steve Spagnuolo’s defense.
The Chiefs have changed a lot since these two played in Week 6. I’ll talk about this game a lot on the Thursday night podcast.
DON’T MISS: Kansas at Iowa State (7:00 pm Wednesday on ESPN+)
Kansas defeated a tough West Virginia team on Saturday 60-53 in what I have to think is the toughest opponent inside for the Jayhawks in the Big 12. Now, that game was at home for Kansas. If that had been in Morgantown, West Virginia it very likely would have had a different outcome.
Iowa State dropped a tough overtime game at TCU on Saturday. Tyrese Haliburton scored 22 and Rasir Bolton had 17 points for the Cyclones. Iowa State was up 74-71 with eight seconds left in regulation but TCU tied the game with a three-point shot with just one second remaining and sent the game into overtime. Neither team could make a shot early in overtime but when RJ Nembhard made a free throw with 3:35 remaining, TCU took a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Iowa State is currently #54 in KenPom with a 7-6 record. Other teams around the Cyclones in the KenPom rankings include #52 Missouri, #53 Mississippi State, (#54 Iowa State), #55 Tennessee, and #56 Louisiana Tech. To take that one spot further is quite interesting. The #57 team is North Carolina. Unexpected, right?
There will be something that surprises you in this game. You are used to seeing Iowa State throw up a lot of 3-point shots but they haven’t done that this season. Iowa State scores 29% of its points from 3-point shots. That’s 229th in Division I basketball. They score 55% of their points on 2-point shots good for 71st in the nation. Kansas scores 57% of its points on 2-point shots.
So I ask you if Kansas and Iowa State both score their points inside the 3-point line, and if Kansas scores more points than the Cyclones at the free-throw line, which team would you expect to win this game? KenPom has Kansas winning this game 76-69. I would tend to agree that. But this game is at Iowa State. That’s where Hilton Magic happens. While I don’t expect Hilton Magic to be able to overcome a better Kansas team this time, it’s always worth your time to watch these two teams play.
WHAT TO WATCH EVERY DAY:
MONDAY: #18 West Virginia at #49 Oklahoma State (8:00 pm on ESPN2)
Both teams lost their first Big 12 game. West Virginia lost a game they could have won at Allen Fieldhouse. Oklahoma State was blown out at Texas Tech. I want to see how West Virginia bounces back and if Oscar Tshiebwe is as good in this game as he was in the first half at Kansas.
TUESDAY: #10 Baylor at #22 Texas Tech (8:00 pm on ESPN2)
The appetizer is Tennessee at Missouri at 6 pm but this game is the main course. Unfortunately, Kansas State hosts TCU at the same time. I will have both games on but the Baylor vs Texas Tech game is easily the best of the two. These two should be in the hunt for the Big 12 title. This game is big.
WEDNESDAY: #2 Kansas at #54 Iowa State (7:00 pm on ESPN+)
I talked about the game above. Don’t miss this game. These are two of the most passionate fan bases in the Big 12 and probably in all of college basketball. Anything can happen in this game. Sure, Kansas is the favorite but that guarantees nothing when these two play in the Hilton Coliseum.
THURSDAY: #38 Memphis at #35 Wichita State (6:00 pm on ESPN2)
Memphis has the top freshman recruiting class even after losing James Wiseman to suspension and then ultimately to his decision to prepare for the NBA draft. Wichita State is 13-1 with wins over Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Their only loss was against West Virginia on a neutral court. 75-63. These two will be among the teams battling for the American Athletic Conference title. If you have time Thursday try to catch this one.
FRIDAY: #8 Maryland at #21 Iowa (6:00 pm on FS1)
There isn’t much to choose from on Friday so at least we get a Big Ten game between two quality teams. Both are off to a good start. We’ll see how Maryland plays on the road in a tough environment.
SATURDAY: #10 Baylor at #2 Kansas (Noon on CBS)
Sure this is a controversial pick. The NFL games are probably bigger but this is a big game for local sports fans and a battle between two teams expected to compete for the Big 12 title. And since this game is at noon you can watch it and still see both NFL playoff games. That’s my plan.
SUNDAY: Houston at Kansas City (2:05 pm on CBS)
This is a no-brainer. The Chiefs are the biggest game in town anytime they play unless it is October and the Royals are in the playoffs. I will discuss this game in the Thursday night podcast. Let’s go Chiefs!
Thanks for reading…