Big 12 Alley-Oops and Airballs: Week OnePosted by cwilliams on November 16th, 2011
The college basketball season is still young for the ten Big 12 schools. They have only played 19 games collectively, losing two of them. That being said, as college basketball nerds, it is never too early to start to analyze what we’ve seen thus far. So, I’d like to introduce a new weekly column, Big 12 Alley-Oops and Airballs. Every Wednesday I’ll examine which individuals and teams have been playing so well they fall under the “alley-oops” category, and which individuals and teams’ play has been so dismal that they fall under the “airball” category. Here’s the list for Week One.
- J’Covan Brown: Coming into this season, all eyes of Texas were upon Brown, as he was expected to be the leader of this young Longhorn team. So far, Brown has done more than just lead on the court — he’s dominated on it. Brown is averaging 31.5 PPG, and leads the Big 12 in total points, field goals, and per-game average.
- Kim English’s Three Ball: Missouri fans have openly worried about English’s three-pointer, as his three-point percentage has declined each year since his freshman season. So far, it appears that “Kimmeh” has worked out some of the kinks in his shot, as he has already drained nine from downtown this season, with a three-point percentage at 60%.
- The Freshmen: So far, many of the Big 12 freshman have showed no difficulty in their transition from high school ball to big-time college hoops. Baylor’s Quincy Miller headlines this group, averaging 18.0 PPG so far. LeBryan Nash and Cezar Guerrero have played well for Oklahoma State, as has Thomas Gipson from Kansas State, and Julien Lewis and Myck Kabongo from Texas.
- Street Clothes: While the Big 12 has gotten off to a relatively strong start, many of its most highly-touted players have been in street clothes. Baylor’s Perry Jones has not played due to his suspension, nor have Khris Middleton, Laurence Bowers, and J’Mison Morgan, due to their injuries. Include Kansas’ talented freshmen duo Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor, and there is an abundance of talent that has not or will not suit up for the Big 12 this season.
- The Pledges: To replace Texas A&M and Missouri, the Big 12 will bring in West Virginia and TCU, two respected athletic programs that many anticipate will have no difficulty bringing what the defectors are taking away. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case for basketball, at least not this season. West Virginia lost to Northern Kentucky in an exhibition game earlier this year and lost to MAC opponent Kent State by ten on Tuesday. TCU’s lone D-I victory came against Florida Gulf Coast, in a “thrilling” 73-72 win. While these teams are struggling right now on the hardwood, A&M and Missouri are a combined 4-0.
- The Favorites: While the season is undoubtedly early, the two most popular picks to win the Big 12, Kansas and Baylor, have looked less than stellar. Kansas was defeated by a talented-but-young Kentucky team on the national stage at the Champions Classic, while Baylor has defeated two of their three opponents by less-than-impressive numbers. I have no doubt in the ability of these two teams to still earn the conference title, but it’s my job to prematurely worry about their seasons. So no hate mail, Bears or Jayhawks fans.