Big 12 Morning Five: 12.13.11 EditionPosted by dnspewak on December 13th, 2011
- On the surface, the brawl between Cincinnati and Xavier this weekend had nothing to do with the Big 12 Conference. However, here’s an interesting perspective on the whole deal from a Big 12 point of view: Should the fight affect the way the league views Cincinnati as an expansion candidate? This particular writer argues that the incident will give the university a black eye when it comes to expansion, but we think the hoopla may blow over soon. Mick Cronin‘s lack of harsh punishment has also added to the public relations disaster, but this is only one event in one sport. The entire athletic department of Cincinnati hasn’t been tarnished.
- Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg is 5-1 against the Iowa Hawkeyes as a coach and player after his team’s victory last Friday, and he told reporters after the game, “I wish I was playing.” The Cyclones have now won three straight games in the rivalry, which has lost some luster with the nosedive both programs have taken in recent years. ISU may be on the way up, though. Guard Scott Christopherson broke out again against Iowa, scoring 16 points. Last year, he scored 30, and he’s never lost to the Hawkeyes. “It’s a great thing to say you’ve never been beat by the Hawkeyes,” he said.
- With the new Associated Press and Coaches’ Polls released on Monday, both Missouri and Kansas predictably jumped up in the rankings. MU now sits at #8 in the AP poll, while KU jumped to #12 after knocking off #2 Ohio State. Had Jared Sullinger played on Saturday, the Jayhawks would have likely gotten a lot more credit for their win. Still, there’s no reason to downgrade that victory against a very tough squad, even if the game was at the Phog.
- Speaking of Missouri, the Tigers are starting to get some outstanding publicity from major analysts. Jay Bilas, for example, says Missouri can win the national championship. Nobody doubted Missouri would be good this season, despite the departure of its head coach and the loss of All-Big 12 forward Laurence Bowers. The Tigers returned an experienced group with three straight NCAA Tournaments under their belts — but at 9-0, this team is flying higher right now than anyone imagined. It’s not that Missouri is just winning. It’s that MU is dominating the competition, and it has looked terrific on both ends of the floor.
- Hey, did you notice Oklahoma is 7-1 right now? The Sooners haven’t played a murderer’s row so far, but they look like a different team under first-year head coach Lon Kruger. He has helped guard Steven Pledger elevate his game, as he’s now among the Big 12’s leading scorers as a junior. Mike Anderson, who coached against OU as Missouri’s coach and saw his Arkansas team lose to the Sooners over the weekend said “I think more than anything, they’re older. They’re mature.” And it’s showing. We’ll find out a little more about this team, though, once January rolls around and Big 12 play begins.