Checking in on the… Big 12

Posted by nvr1983 on March 1st, 2009

Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Missouri Valley and Big 12 Conferences.

Current Records and My Standings (Conference Standings) (Last Week)

  1. Kansas (24-5)(13-1) (3)
  2. Oklahoma (26-3)(12-2) (1)
  3. Missouri (24-5) (11-3) (2)
  4. Oklahoma St. (19-9) (8-6) (6)
  5. Texas A&M (21-9) (7-7) (8)
  6. Texas (19-9) (8-6) (5)
  7. Kansas St. (20-9) (8-6)(4)
  8. Nebraska (16-11) (6-8) (7)
  9. Baylor (17-11) (5-9) (9)
  10. Iowa St. (14-15) (3-11) (11)
  11. Texas Tech (13-16) (3-11)(10)
  12. Colorado (8-18) (1-13) (12)

There has been a lot of movement this week in the Big 12. With Blake Griffin out the Sooners looked vulnerable. Bill Self appears to be doing one heck of a coaching job this season as Kansas sits atop the Big 12 with wins over Oklahoma and Missouri this past week. As we head into the last week of the regular season, let’s sort of see where all the Big 12 teams are at this point.

CREAM OF THE CROP
These teams are pretty much locked up for the NCAA Tourney and now playing for seeding.

  • Kansas (2-0 this week)—Kansas has displayed this past week that they are not rebuilding, they have reloaded this season. After the huge win at Oklahoma (without Blake Griffin) and the pounding of Missouri, it appears Kansas is peaking at the right time. They now sit atop the conference with 2 games remaining and could end up being somewhat a surprise as the Big 12 champion based on the hurdles they had coming into the season. One advantage that Kansas has had bringing in all of these new players is that they have created some depth, which has helped them keep players fresh.
  • Oklahoma (1-1 this week)—You can definitely tell that Oklahoma is a different team without Blake Griffin. Without him against Kansas, it initially looked like Oklahoma was going to run them off the court, but once Kansas settled down, Kansas was able to overcome the 14 point deficit and created a 14 point deficit for Oklahoma. Then on Saturday, Griffin’s 20 points and 19 rebounds in his return helped Oklahoma get out of their 2-game funk and still get a chance for a #1 seed. Though it is a bit funny that they would get a #1 seed if Kansas wins the conference. You have to be concerned a little bit that freshman phenom Willie Warren did not start Saturday’s game and only played 12 minutes. Then with the suspension of Juan Pattillo, and the suspension DUI issues of Ray Willis, it starts to make you wonder if there are some discipline problems going on with Jeff Capel’s team.
  • Missouri (1-1 this week)— Missouri looked so good for so long. They beat Kansas St. pretty badly on Wednesday night, but then turned around and got beat about just as bad by Kansas. I can sort of see why Missouri was so rattled against Kansas on Sunday afternoon, the team’s chartered bus was involved in an automobile accident while getting to Lawrence. Missouri is pretty solid right now, but the performance after a loss against Oklahoma will be a sign on how they handle losing for the first time in 8 games.

THOSE ON PINS AND NEEDLES

  • Oklahoma St (2-0 this week)— Oklahoma St. has sort of come out of nowhere winning 5 in a row and are playing really well. With a couple great performances against Kansas St. and Oklahoma this week to finish up the regular season will put them solidly into the NCAA Tournament. We talked last week how Oklahoma State students pay the most in the NCAA to go to the Men’s basketball games. Well, moneyman T. Boone Pickens was able to help get 2000 student tickets to be sold for $10 each so they could fill the student section.
  • Texas A&M (2-0 this week)—A&M is also playing well right now currently on a 4-game winning streak. In fact I have them ahead of Kansas St. and Texas right now because in reality, A&M almost has a better total body of work than either of those teams. Overcoming an 18-point deficit at Nebraska to win on a last second shot and winning against teams they are supposed to win could get them in front of Kansas St. and Texas. The play by Josh Carter has been the difference.
  • Kansas St. (1-1 this week)—Coach Frank Martin was defending the Big 12 this week on the weekly conference call that there are several quality teams in the conference and wonders why they are not talked about as much as the Big East and the ACC. That may be true, but Kansas St. isn’t helping themselves as well as anyone else with having a bogus non-conference schedule and going 1-4 against Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri may be something that sticks out when the committee is trying to pick that last team from the Big 12.
  • Texas (1-1 this week)—I just can’t seem to figure out Texas. One minute they are looking good and seemingly about ready to just play like expected, but then they lay an egg. When AJ Abrams is not hitting shots and a lack of a point guard has really hampered Texas. Plus reading and listening to a lot of things, Texas is really not mentioned in the same breath as the rest of the top of the Big 12. They almost have to go 2-0 this week to really feel comfortable. It will be tough with Abrams possibly missing the Baylor game and Texas’ 3rd leading scorer Gary Johnson might be out too. The injury bug has hit Texas at the wrong time.

SLEEPERS

  • Baylor (1-1 this week) – Baylor let things get too out of hand for them to even be considered for the NCAA’s. However, don’t be surprised if they make some noise in the Big 12 tournament. They could be one of those teams that might be able to win 4 games in 4 days. They will be a team that will have all other bubble teams sitting on pins and needles hoping they lose. At least Baylor can be happy that they set an attendance record this year for their home games.
  • Nebraska (0-2 this week)—Nebraska has to be the sob story of the Big 12 this season. In 6 of their 8 conference losses, Nebraska was in the game and had a chance to win but just didn’t have enough gas to play a full 40 minutes. But blowing an 18 point lead at home in the 2nd half … people stop feeling sorry for you. They seem to be pretty close to being where they want to be, but just don’t have enough depth and conditioning to do what they need to, but will still probably make some kind of postseason. I only put them in as a “Sleeper” because they may surprise some people and win a game or two in the Big 12 tournament.

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR

  • Iowa St. (1-1 this week)— Iowa St. is basically finishing where everyone expected. But they do have a large core of players back for next season, so they may look a little different next year. Iowa St. set a school record in 3-pointer makes this season, but being behind in most games it is not surprising they have shot and made more threes.
  • Colorado (0-2 this week) – I thought Colorado would win at least more than 1 conference game. You almost think this team actually got worse as the season went along. But with only one senior on the squad this year, you never know.
  • Texas Tech (0-2 this week)—Pat Knight got suspended by the Big 12 because of his comments on the refereeing. A lot of lessons learned this year, but it is really hard to tell what kind of team the Red Raiders will have next year. At least they want to try and improve their Big 12 tourney seed this season with their last couple of games.

WEEK AHEAD AND GAMES TO WATCH
The final week of the regular season happens this week and it will be a sprint to the end. Can Kansas win out and take the conference? We shall see.

  • 3/2, (BIG MONDAY) Baylor @ Texas (ESPN)—I think Texas needs a good game here to sort of make sure people are still talking about them.
  • 3/3, Kansas St. @ Oklahoma St. (ESPN2)—This is sort of an elimination game. If the Wildcats lose this game, I could very easily see this being the game that keeps them out of the NCAA tournament. The better hope for a good showing in the Big 12 tourney if that is the case. The Cowboys are playing really well right now and this would solidify their position.
  • 3/4, Oklahoma @ Missouri (ESPN Full Court)—If Oklahoma wants to still have a chance to catch Kansas, they have to win this one. It may be kind of interesting that Kansas may win the Big 12, but that Oklahoma might get a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
  • 3/7, Texas @ Kansas (CBS)—The season finale occurs down in Lawrence with Kansas trying to hold off everyone and win the conference. Texas could be in a lot of trouble with a loss here.
  • 3/7, Missouri @ Texas A&M (ESPN2)—If A&M is still on their win streak by this game and win this one, I don’t have any problems with them getting into the NCAA tournament. They earned it.
  • 3/7, Oklahoma St. @ Oklahoma (ABC regional or ESPN Full Court)—Has Oklahoma St. done enough to be in consideration? You bet if they win this game.
nvr1983 (1303 Posts)


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

  1. TB says:

    While ignoring all other aspects of the argument over who is more deserving of a bid out of the Big 12, I would like to point out an omission in your analysis above. You note that K-State is only 1-4 against KU, Mizzou and Oklahoma, the top three teams in the Big 12. Yet you fail to mention the records of the other three bubble contenders. Those records are as follows:

    Oklahoma State: 0-3, with a road game against Oklahoma remaining
    Texas: 1-3, with a game at KU remaining
    Texas A&M: 0-3, with a home game against Missouri remaining

    Also, I think it’s relevant to look at the records of the bubble teams against each other.

    K-State: 2-0, with a game at Oklahoma State remaining
    Oklahoma State: 2-2 (split with UT and TAMU, home game against K-State remaining)
    Texas: 2-3 (split with TAMU and OSU, lost at home to K-State)
    Texas A&M: 2-3 (split with UT and OSU, lost at home to K-State)

    I know you didn’t bring up this argument, but while I’m beating the drum it might as well be mentioned. Unlike in previous years, K-State can’t be knocked for playing in the North. First of all, it won in Austin and College Station. Second, the North and South have evenly split 28 games this season, and the North will have two of the top three teams (KU and Mizzou) in the conference, and possibly three of the top four if K-State nabs the last first-round bye for the conference tournament in Oklahoma City.

    All that said, I admit I have ignored the many flaws on K-State’s resume, and I would and will address those in a full post sometime in the near future.

  2. TB,

    You do make some good valid points as far as the other three bubble contenders against the top of the league. However, when Kansas St. is going to hang their hat and depend on their conference performance to make their season, then it becomes more of a black eye for them since they have nothing else as a backup. With 7 non-conference games against teams ranked 242 and lower (3 games 331 and lower), Kansas St. can only claim Cleveland St. as their best win outside of the Big 12.

    Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma St. have a lot more to hang their hat on outside of the Big 12. Unfortunately, the Big 12 south has kind of cannibalized itself with really none of them outside of Oklahoma really separating themselves while Kansas and Missouri have been able to in the North. Yes Kansas St. is 2-0 against those other three teams, but if one of other teams played in the north and only had to play each team once like Kansas St. gets to do, then I’m sure they would be 2-0 as well not having to play them twice because of the way the North and South schedule. The total body of work is what is starting to make Kansas St. be on the outside looking in. If it came down to taking three of the four teams–at this point I think Kansas St. would be at the bottom of those 4 which is why I had the teams ranked that way.

    But you know what, if Kansas St. can win those final two games, then I might think differently. I think the K-State/Okie St. game is pretty key for Kansas St. more than it is for Oklahoma St. because Oklahoma St. still has an advantage playing in the south that they get another crack at Oklahoma. I guess we’ll just have to see.

  3. TB says:

    Nobody from K-State is arguing that our non-conference schedule provides us with any support. That’s an argument we have to concede. But right now, our run through the Big 12 should be an argument in our favor that other teams cannot dismiss. As Frank Martin said yesterday, if the Big 12 schedule doesn’t matter, we might as well become an independent so that our games this time of year do matter. I agree that tonight’s game with Oklahoma State is key. It will probably be the make-or-break game in terms of whether I keep making an argument that K-State deserves to be in the NCAA Tournament.

    Again, however, I have to disagree with you that K-State benefits from playing in the Big 12 North. As I mentioned, the Big 12 North is 14-14 against the South this season. That includes a woeful 1-9 record from Colorado and Iowa State, meaning that KU, Missouri, K-State, and to some extent Nebraska have more than held their own against their southern competition. Don’t believe me? Ask Texas about playing at home against Missouri and K-State, or on the road against Nebraka. Ask Texas A&M how well it defended its home court against K-State, or how it got spanked on the road against KU. Ask Oklahoma State about trying to defend its home court against Missouri or its trip to Lawrence. The simple fact is that the North is at least on par with the South this year. Look at the polls. I see KU and Missouri comfortably in the top 25; the only South team I see is Oklahoma.

    If K-State’s eight conference wins thus far included two wins against Iowa State, two wins against Colorado, two wins over Nebraska, one win over Texas Tech, and a win over Baylor late in the year after they tanked, I would concede your point that we don’t have much to argue about over the South. But to say that we couldn’t compete in the South after the record we’ve compiled this year ignores the facts. We won in Austin. We won in College Station. We hammered Texas Tech. Our losses were to Baylor before they tanked and an Oklahoma team with a healthy Blake Griffin. I’d say we’ve acquitted ourselves quite well against the South, and we have a chance to hammer home that argument tonight in Stillwater.

  4. JDS says:

    once again, ksu demonstrates a better performance against OSU than Texas on the road. Does anyone else ever tire of Texas, look at the TT game AT HOME, never playing well in the conference?

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