Big 12 Morning Five: 12.28.11 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on December 28th, 2011

  1. The news broke yesterday that point guard Reger Dowell has transferred out of the Oklahoma State program, leaving coach Travis Ford with just one true point on the roster (Cezar Guerrero). Today, a Tulsa newspaper astutely pointed out that this particular recruiting class has now lost six of seven newcomers — only Matt Pilgrim actually finished his career under Ford. That’s the kind of stuff that can set a program back years and result in mass firings. Luckily for Ford, he’s not at that point yet. He still has a star in LeBryan Nash to build around, and he’s enjoyed a decent amount of success since arriving at OSU. Right now, though, he needs Guerrero and senior Keiton Page to run this team in the backcourt. Ford built this team around athleticism because that is his preferred style of play, but someone’s just got to get Nash, J.P. Olukemi and Markel Brown the ball in the open court.
  2. Ben McLemore isn’t playing this season for Kansas because of eligibility issues, but he made headlines earlier this month for a “minor in possession of alcohol” charge. Police found him in November engaging in some extracurricular activities, but he never told his teammates or coaching staff that he’d been charged with anything. His trial has now been delayed, which means we won’t get closure on this case for quite some time. McLemore is expected to practice with the team later this season, so we’ll have to see how this delay affects his time on the court.
  3. It’s that time of the week again: breaking down the numbers for the Texas Longhorns. Last week, the young Longhorns unraveled against North Carolina, but this article actually shows us that UT did a decent job on the offensive glass. That’s at least one positive for Rick Barnes, but there wasn’t anything pretty on the offensive end. Texas’ “true shooting percentage” was low, and the writer claims it was due to UNC’s pressure defense and UT’s inability to run any of its stuff on the offensive end. After losing five starters, these roadblocks aren’t surprising. Freshman point guard Myck Kabongo has to take the reins for this team, and he’s still trying to find his way in his first season in Austin. Until he breaks out of his shell, this team may not improve much. He’s that important.
  4. Texas’s problems are nothing compared to Texas Tech. Billy Gillispie says he’s just trying to get his team better on every possession, and it’s an understatement to say the Red Raiders have struggled in his first season. TTU improved to 6-5 with a win over Cal State Bakersfield last night, but it also just lost to a good Oral Roberts team last weekend by 16 points, thanks in large part to the team’s inability to hold onto the basketball. One of Gillispie’s pre-game quotes was especially telling: “Messages don’t usually work, I don’t think.” Gillispie is a fiery guy, but even he isn’t trying to make some grand statement with any kind of showmanship this season. He knows he has a young team building in progress, and we’ll have to see if he can work his magic in Big 12 play.
  5. Frank Haith has certainly worked a little magic at Missouri, and ESPN’s Andy Katz even listed the Tigers as the 6th most impressive team in the nation. MU got national headlines for romping both Notre Dame and California in the CBE Classic, and it is still undefeated after holding off a surging Illinois comeback last week. Still, we have to see if this team can win on the road before we give Missouri any awards. This team finished 1-7 on the road in conference play last season, getting a lone win in Ames against cellar dwellar Iowa State. When Missouri faces off with a solid Old Dominion program on Friday night in Norfolk, Haith’s team can answer a lot of those pesky “road warrior” questions.
dnspewak (343 Posts)

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