Big 12 Morning Five: 11.09.11 EditionPosted by dnspewak on November 9th, 2011
- The early signing period for college basketball begins today, and that obviously has major implications for every Big 12 team. It’s nearly impossible to keep track of all the storylines for each team, but Rivals does a solid job outlining the national issues. Interestingly, the Big 12 doesn’t appear to be involved in many of the top unsigned recruits this week. Kansas State, however, just received a visit from center Robert Upshaw, ranked in the top-50 by Rivals and in the top-10 for his position. The Wildcats have a lot of competition for the seven-footer out of California, including Rick Pitino at Louisville.
- Everybody loves Mark “The Shark” Titus. The operator of the famous blog “Club Trillion” is now previewing college basketball on the web. On Tuesday, he covered the Big 12, choosing Kansas as both the Best Team and Most Overrated Team. Not confusing at all, right? Titus also chose Missouri as a sleeper and Thomas Robinson as the easiest player to root for (more on that below). Although Titus enlightens us with his patented one-liners, he actually breaks down the conference quite thoroughly. And after months of hardcore previews with tempo-free statistics and god knows what else, it’s nice to read something fun for a change. It’s just basketball, after all, not NASA.
- We’ve covered the Missouri/Kansas rivalry crisis extensively this week, but here’s more news from ESPN.com — this time, from the MU side. Coach Frank Haith said he’d like to play a home-and-home with the Jayhawks, but at this point, the rivalry falls in the hands of Kansas. Haith also made some other interesting comments in the ESPN article, especially with regards to recruiting. Haith said the SEC will open up new avenues in the South, but he said he’d still like to maintain a base in the Midwest. Haith already has all sorts of ties in Texas and Miami, so he’ll now be able to hit up Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and other southeastern states for prospects.
- Thomas Robinson played terrifically in limited minutes in 2010-11 on the court, but as you probably already know, he suffered through tragedy in his personal life. His grandmother, grandfather and mother all died in the span of a month, and it’s unbelievable that Robinson played as well as he did through all of that anguish. Sometimes, outlets like ESPN can overdo the tragedy angle in sports, but Tom Friend is one of the best in the business– and he’s not overdoing anything here. Robinson’s story is heartbreaking, and as we head into a new season where big things are expected from the junior, his story deserves to be re-told.
- And finally, though you’re likely sick of realignment talk, here’s a critical look at the effect of Missouri‘s departure on the Big 12. This particular writer won’t seem to miss the Tigers much, arguing that their breadwinning sports (football and basketball) aren’t as prestigious as those at West Virginia. He’s got a point: in looking at the statistics, WVU’s probably the more successful athletic program during the past decade or so. Still, even if the Big 12 won’t crumble without Missouri, it’ll have to make some major adjustments, especially geographically.