January 11, 2022 Members Only
A fast and furious start to 2022
How COVID-19 has changed the flow of the schedule
We have flipped the calendar to 2022 and that means we are right in the heart of part two of the college basketball season – conference play! We know that the COVID pandemic will continue to part of the storyline for the remainder of the season, with cancelations and rescheduling of games happening almost every hour across the country. Something to watch is when game are rescheduled on the calendar – some programs may end up with numerous games in a short period of time based on opponents and then their own health and safety protocol issues.
The Big Ten started their conference play before Jan. 1 and those teams continue to show why this conference is one of the best in the country. Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana and Maryland continue to play at a very high level, with a team like Nebraska on the rise as well. Even after a nine-point loss at home to Iowa (in front of over 8,000 fans by the way) the Cornhuskers are playing very well and I look for them to be ranked in the near future.
We should always we keeping an eye on quality mid-major teams who can slide under the radar at times but are winning games and setting themselves up for a big post-season. South Dakota dismantled rival South Dakota State over the weekend, giving themselves control of the Summit League race. Gonzaga added a very tough non-conference game and #18 BYU continues to take care of their business in the WCC.
The Big 12 is off to a fast start, which should surprise no one. It was surprising to see Texas and Baylor with losses early – the Bears lost their opener at Kansas State and then were hit with a COVID pause. They start back up again with a challenge against surging Oklahoma, who is back in the Top 25. A huge game in the Big 12 to watch this week – Iowa State at Kansas State on Tuesday, Jan. 11.
One of my favorite teams to watch right now is Kellie Harper’s Tennessee squad – they are 16-1, winners of four straight and just making plays to win games when needed. The SEC just keeps getting better and deeper every week.
Written by Missy Heidrick
I am a former shooting guard at Kansas State and spent almost 20 years working in Higher Education and Division 1 athletics. I am currently a basketball analyst for television and radio, contributing correspondent at The Next, WBB Naismith Award board of selectors member and run my own consulting business. I am a proud mother of two and wife to a patient husband who is almost as big of a sports junkie as I am!