Checking in on the…Big 12

Posted 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”.

SURPRISES
- 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.

DISAPPOINTMENTS
- 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.

nvr1983 (1290 Posts)


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9 Responses to “Checking in on the…Big 12”

  1. Manco says:

    It was Virginia Tech that was defeated by Xavier on the half-court shot in San Juan.

  2. wildjays says:

    Yep you are right. I got that confused. I had watched so many of those San Juan games, I got it all mixed up in my head. But it was a close 75-71 game and a good one at that. Sorry.

  3. Clint says:

    A&M at 4 and OSU at 6?? Really?? The game in Stillwater wasn’t as close as the score indicates and the Cowboys didn’t even shoot that well. School wasn’t in session so the usually rabid crowd was a little more subdued. Turgeon was clearly outcoached and A&M could start out 0-5 in conference.

  4. Chet says:

    A 13 point loss on the road to the #8 team in the country is a “drilling”? GMAFB, if we would have shot our normal clip from the FT line it would have been a single-digit loss.

  5. nvr1983 says:

    Chet–
    (1) The game wasn’t as close as the final score indicates. Michigan State was up by 21 early in the 2nd half. The only reason it was so close was the Spartans almost collapsed at the end.
    (2) GMAFB? I have no idea what that means.
    (3) If Kansas shot their normal 72.5% FT they would have been 20/28 from the FT line so they would have lost by 10. I’m too lazy (and don’t find it worthwhile) to do a statistical analysis of it, but I’m pretty sure that falls within a standard deviation (definitely within 2 SDs) of their normal FT shooting. Unfortunately for Kansas, some of the guys who went to the line are not particularly good at hitting uncontested 15 footers. Marcus Morris (0/2) is a 56.4% FT shooter and Travis Releford (0/2) is a 35.7% FT shooter.

  6. Chet says:

    (1) “The game wasn’t as close…” – We were up 9 early in the 2nd half against Arizona earlier this year (lost by 17), we were also down 9 very late in the 2nd half against Memphis in the championship game (I think you know the outcome of that one).
    “The only reason it was so close was the Spartans almost collapsed at the end” – Doesn’t this work both ways, I think you could also argue that the only reason it wasn’t closer was that KU collapsed in the middle of the game?
    Point is, unless the other team puts there scrubs in the last 5 or 10 minutes & the losing team closes the gap significantly due to this, the game is pretty much exactly equal to what the final score indicates. See Joe Posnanski’s thoughts on these types of statements.
    (2) FYI – Give me a f’n break, looking back probably a little harsh choice of wording, my apologies.
    (3) Fair points, although Marcus Morris & TR were still below their season FT average in the game.

    MSU obviously deserved to win the game I just didn’t like how it was described as a “drilling” in the article twice. To me, a 13-point loss on the road to the #8 team in the country is just not a “drilling”, especially considering that the line for the game . MSU got drilled earlier in the year by UNC. Where do you consider the cutoff between a “drilling” & just a win? Maybe, if KU was favored to win the game I could sign off on that.

    Also, enjoy the site, keep up the good work.

  7. nvr1983 says:

    Chet–
    Thanks for the comment (re: good work).
    (1) Fair point. I am not the original author of the post so I can’t really speak to his thinking, but just watching the game (and admittedly I was watching about a half dozen other games at the same time) it never really looked like the game was in doubt. Every time I watched for a few minutes, the Spartans appeared to be dominating. I don’t really think teams collapse/choke during the middle of the game since the most pressure is at the end of the game (unless someone is lighting a victory cigar). I watched the last 5-6 minutes of that game and the Spartans just got really sloppy. I guess you can attribute that to Kansas, but the Spartans didn’t have any trouble with them all game and Kalin Lucas should be able to navigate the Jayhawks with ease. I agree that using the term “drilling” is debatable, but I happen to agree with the author on this one.
    (2) Thanks for the clarification. I guess I’m just not in touch with the Internet lingo. No worries about the language. Yesterday, my colleague rtmsf posted a lead story with the phrase “Teague Bagged” in it. . .
    (3) I’m not really shocked by 2 guys with a combined ~40% FT (rough approximation) going 0/4. Not doing the math again, but I’m less surprised by that than two 75% FT shooters going 1/5. If you’re not sure what I am referring to, look at your t-shirt right now.

    Their loss to the #12 team in the country wasn’t as ugly as the Spartans 35 point loss to UNC, but we also didn’t write a post making fun of Kansas for their performance. So those are probably the lines between a loss, a “drilling”, and getting a post making fun of your awful performance.

  8. Chet–I’ll go ahead and defend myself…I’ll give Kansas credit, they stuck with Mich. St. for the first 14 minutes of the game and then after that all heck broke loose. Next thing you know Kansas is down 19 at the half and then it was almost like Michigan St. was coasting the 2nd half. When you get a huge lead like that by halftime, 9 times out of 10 the leading team doesn’t have the same drive and determination the second half and it is keeping players focused to at least finish and keep status quo. Honestly, if Michigan St. came out the second half and played like they did in the first it would have been at least 30. So in my mind it “was” a drilling. However, with so many different contributors to this blog, perceptions and word use may be different depending on the person. So maybe drilling was a wrong word, but Kansas didn’t look very good period.

    I can acknowledge that Kansas has a young team, but frankly I don’t think this team with a bunch of freshman/young players is coming around the same way that Rush, Chalmers, etc. did.

  9. Clint–The week before I had A&M sitting at #1 and Oklahoma St. #8, so it was hard for me to push Okie St. so far up to be over A&M and A&M to fall so far. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt right now because really A&M is/was overachieving and the game was in Stillwater. Expected loss anyway for A&M since a road game so really not that big of a factor.

    Like you however, I did have A&M going 0-5 to start conference play in my predictions, so it will all shake out in the end.

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