Considering the strength of the Big 12, three losses to start conference play could have been devastating for Texas Tech.

Despite the early struggles, the Red Raiders and veteran coach Tubby Smith rebounded to win back-to-back games against Baylor and TCU. It was Tech's first back-to-back conference wins in 50 games.

The victories were particularly impressive after a deflating home overtime loss to West Virginia and a three-point loss at Texas.

“It's really a testament to them and the staff,” said Smith, in his first year at Lubbock. “They stayed positive. We have a veteran group and have been through a lot of stuff. We haven't always played with the intelligence we should. But the majority of them have been through things, and the experience of playing in the Big 12 has been a big help.”

The Red Raiders will be looking to avenge an earlier loss to West Virginia when they meet in Morgantown on Wednesday night. In that loss, Tech battled back from an 11-point deficit early in the second half and led by three points in the final minute of regulation before the Mountaineers' late rally.

Streaking Wildcats: Kansas State has quietly pulled into second place after a 78-56 victory over West Virginia that Wildcats coach Bruce Weber called his team's strongest effort of the season.

Thomas Gilbert and Shane Southwell scored 20 points apiece as the Wildcats shot a season-best 54.9 percent from the field. Weber was just as impressed with his team's defense, which held the Mountaineers to 32.7 percent shooting from the field in their worst loss of the season.

K-State's victory boosted it back into the Associated Press rankings at No. 22. But Weber is bracing for a challenge Tuesday at UT, calling the Longhorns “one of the most improved teams” in the conference.

“We guarded well, shot the ball well, did a lot of good things and used the energy of the crowd against West Virginia,” Weber said. “But now, all we can do is worry about Texas.”