Checking in on the…Big 12Posted by nvr1983 on January 12th, 2009
Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Big 12 and Missouri Valley Conferences.
Current Records and my standings (Conference Standings) (Last Week)
1. Baylor (13-2) (1-0) (4)
2. Oklahoma (14-2)(1-0) (2)
3. Texas (12-3) (1-0) (3)
4. Texas A&M (14-2) (0-1) (1)
5. Kansas (11-4)(0-0) (5)
6. Oklahoma State (12-3) (1-0) (8 )
7. Nebraska (11-3) (1-0) (11)
8. Missouri (13-3) (0-1) (6)
9. Kansas State (11-4) (0-1)(7)
10. Texas Tech (10-6) (0-1)(9)
11. Iowa State (11-5) (0-1) (10)
12. Colorado (8-6) (0-0) (12)
Though Conference play started this past weekend, really to me, the conference season really starts here on Big Monday with one of the bigger match-ups of the season in Texas and Oklahoma and their “golden boy” Blake Griffin. But let’s take a look at the conference as a whole and see if things are where we expected coming into the season:
To do this, I broke the teams in “Surprises”, “Disappointments”, and “Chugging Right Along”.
- Texas A&M (14-2, expected 12-4)—Texas A&M has been the surprise team for me this year in the Big 12. Getting nice wins against Arizona, Alabama and LSU in non-conference play will put them in good position for a NCAA Tournament bid if they can do their part and finish in the top tier of the conference. Their tests will come early;.
- Missouri (13-3, expected 12-4)—Missouri is doing a little better than expected, though they ran into a little snowstorm at Nebraska this past weekend. Their San Juan Shootout performance (a win against USC and a heartbreaking loss to Xavier on a half-court shot) appears to have helped kick off their season right.
- Texas (12-3, expected 14-1)—I have Texas as a bit of surprise because they have performed a little below what I think was expected of them coming into the season. Currently, they are working on their consistency. The loss against Notre Dame in Maui isn’t as much of a surprise as the losses to Michigan State and Arkansas (although both of those teams are doing well now). A.J. Abrams has been in a bit of a funk lately, but he will be key in how successful they are in the Big 12.
- Texas Tech (10-6, expected 12-4)—Though it is Pat Knight’s first full year, this team has had a lot of ups and downs. The coach taking the blame for losses and bringing 12-year olds out of the stands to coach the team doesn’t bode well for Tech. Neither does their inability to win on the road. Same goes for one of their freshman guards transferring.
- Iowa State (11-5, expected 12-4)—Though the Cyclones aren’t doing horrible, it is difficult to classify them. Losing at Drake and at home against South Dakota State set the bar pretty low for the Cyclones. Lucca Staiger has been a bright spot for Iowa State.
- Nebraska (11-3, expected 12-2)—The loss to Maryland-Baltimore County was the black eye for this team. Despite a couple opportunities to get wins against the Pac-10, the only thing the Huskers have to show for their non-conference season is a win against in-state foe Creighton. Playing 5 guards, Nebraska will have trouble playing the top tier of the conference. They have been trying to find a big man all season, but they still can’t get one. They are relying on their defense to keep them in the games.
- Colorado (8-6, expected 11-3)—The mountain air is getting to this team as they are the conference doormat. The best part of their season so far was a Christmas vacation to Hawaii. Unfortunately, they had to play games there, but it does not look like they are too worried.
CHUGGING RIGHT ALONG
- Oklahoma (15-1, expected 16-0)— Oklahoma’s only blemish is a loss at Arkansas. But you take away that game and, for the most part, the Oklahoma machine has gone as expected. Blake Griffin is easily sticking out above the rest for Player of the Year so far. It will be interesting to see how the Sooners perform against the Longhorns.
- Baylor (13-2, expected 14-1)— Other than losses to a still undefeated Wake Forest team and a last-second blunder against South Carolina, Baylor has been doing pretty well. The good showing in the ’76 classic has built up a bit of a resume for them and they are in line for a NCAA bid unless they have a total breakdown in conference play. However, with them playing in the Big 12 South and having to play Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M twice, that breakdown could happen.
- Kansas (11-4, expected 12-3)—Though the loss against UMass was a bit of a surprise, Kansas is right where I expected them. I’m kind of concerned that this freshman class isn’t turning the corner as much as I had thought they would, especially after the drilling at Michigan State this weekend. However, the Big 12 North will be favorable for them and they have plenty of time to get ready for the likes of Oklahoma and Texas.
- Oklahoma State (12-3, expected 12-3)—The Cowboys have played exactly like I expected they would. However, the Big 12 South play alone will take a toll on them and they will be a borderline bubble team come Selection Sunday. The good part is that the the new defensive scheme seems to be helping.
- Kansas State (11-4, expected 11-4)—The Wildcats have also played to expectations. Unfortunately for them, they don’t have any really good wins. All of their 11 wins are against nobodies so they will have to find a way to dominate conference play to get considered for a NCAA bid.
WEEK AHEAD AND GAMES TO WATCH
Conference play is in full swing this week. Here are the match-ups of the week.
• 1/12, Texas @ Oklahoma (ESPN)—What a way to kick off Big Monday. This could be an early indication of who will be the team to beat in the conference.
• 1/13, Kansas St. @ Kansas (ESPN Full Court-Remember it is free this week)—This in-state rivalry heats up and it will be interesting to see how the Jayhawks start conference play after getting just drilled by Michigan State.
• 1/14, Baylor @ Texas A&M (ESPN2)—Two solid teams that could go in different directions starting with this game.
• 1/17, Oklahoma @ Texas A&M (ESPN)—Oklahoma could be on a roll. Texas A&M may be trying to not start 0-3.