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