Considering the Big 12 UnderachieversPosted by cwilliams on December 27th, 2011
Last week I discussed the overachievers of this early Big 12 season. It was a cheery, sunshine-laced post, discussing players who are playing above and beyond their expectations so far this season. Today, we conquer the inevitable, and discuss the teams and players who have underperformed for their team so far this season. The good news? There is still plenty of time to make amends.
Oklahoma State: With the addition of freshmen sensation Le’Bryan Nash and Cezar Guerrero, plus the senior leadership of floor general Keiton Page, the Cowboys were expected to compete for an NCAA Tournament bid this season. So far, they have shown no signs of meeting those expectations. Eleven games into the season, the Cowboys already have five losses. While none of these losses have come against mid-majors, what is truly worrisome about the Cowboys is their abysmal team field goal percentage, 41.2%, which ranks 260th in the country. True, in some games, the shots just don’t fall. But to shoot this poorly in every game is troublesome, and with conference play looming, the Cowboys need to get their act together if they want any shot at postseason glory this year.
Tyshawn Taylor’s Turnover Problem: It would be unfair to say Tyshawn is having a poor season. He’s averaging 15.3 points per game, and has gotten to the charity stripe more than anyone else in the Big 12. But his knack for turning the ball over was most recently apparent in Kansas’s loss last week to Davidson, a game where Taylor turned the ball over five times. He also miscued the ball seven times against Ohio State and 11 times against Duke earlier this season. What is even more surprising is that two years ago Taylor averaged just 1.7 turnovers per game, while this season, his turnover rate is at 4.2 per game. Taylor will need to reclaim his ball control before conference play starts in earnest if Kansas expects to make another deep run in March.
Myck Kabongo: Yes, Kabongo has entered a very difficult situation at Texas. He came in with an abundance of high expectations, with many pundits touting him to be the perfect complement to returnee J’Covan Brown. While Kabongo has played decent basketball, he hasn’t looked comfortable as the Longhorn floor general. Turnovers are one thing, but Kabongo has committed numerous ill-advised fouls and has gotten on Rick Barnes’ bad side as a result. Barnes benched him for the second half of the game against North Carolina, and said of his starters “Four players know discipline. One doesn’t.” It isn’t too difficult to figure out who Barnes was talking about.
Big 12 Attendance: This one’s for all of us. The Big 12 has seen a decrease in attendance this season, with the average attendance at 10,716 this year, compared to last season’s record high 11,214. The Big 12 now ranks fourth in attendance, behind the Big 10, Big East, and SEC. Oklahoma has seen a decrease by almost 2,000 fans per game. With Nebraska and Colorado, the annual basketball whipping boys of the Big 12, now out of the picture, one might have expected to see a rise in average attendance. This complaint could soon be rendered moot, though, with conference play looming. Expect attendance figures to rise once teams begin battling it out for the Big 12 title.
Happy Holidays, fellow Big 12 hoop fanatics.