Big 12 Morning Five: 12.30.11 Edition
Posted by dnspewak on December 30th, 2011
- As a walk-on for more than two years, Bubu Palo has been a bargain for Iowa State. Palo emerged as a reliable backup point guard, and it’s not a stretch to say he may be the most underrated role player in the league. Thanks to those contributors, the Cyclones have placed Palo on scholarship, and we can’t think of a more rewarding late holiday present. Palo, who grew up in Ames, learned after the end of the fall semester that he won’t have to pay for school this spring. So far, he’s averaging more than two assists per game in 2011-12, and he’s also a tenacious defender with a knack for doing the little things on the court. That sounds like a scholarship player to us.
- Jeff Goodman at CBS wrote this recap of the Big 12 season so far to prepare us for conference play next week. Interestingly, he chose Baylor above Missouri, not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just that the Tigers have been the trendy pick in the media to win this conference. Right now, it does at least look like a three-team race between BU, MU and Kansas, though it’s impossible to tell how the year will shake out. Texas A&M has struggled even since Khris Middleton returned, but Billy Kennedy should eventually get things rolling in College Station.
- Frank Martin is always great for a sound bite. This time, he made some interesting comments about his team’s offensive play, and he’s actually quite pleased with the way this team has scored. “I get a kick when I read people saying we play bad offense and we’re averaging almost 80 points a game. If we play good offense, how much would we score?” You heard the man: Kansas State can score this year. It’s not just a defensive stalwart. Rodney McGruder is a full-fledged star scorer, and Will Spradling has been the answer at the point. The Wildcats have a ton of different offensive options both in the starting lineup and on the bench, so it’d be a mistake to label this team as a gritty, offensively-challenged group.
- With Indiana and Louisville both losing this week, Missouri is now one of just four unbeaten teams in Division I basketball. How much does that mean exactly? Well, it means almost nothing at this point. The Tigers will play their first true road game of the season tonight at Old Dominion, and we’ll find out if MU has improved in this area after finishing 1-7 on the road in Big 12 play last year. If MU can turn into road warriors, who knows how long this little run could last? To stay undefeated entering a College Gameday showdown with Kansas on February 4, the Tigers would have to win at ODU, Kansas State and Baylor, among others. It’s possible, sure, but the Tigers will probably falter at some point before that game.
- Texas Tech isn’t a good basketball team right now, and people don’t like to watch bad teams lose. That’s why the TTU athletic department is offering one-dollar tickets for an upcoming game against Southeastern Louisiana. That’s not a bad deal, especially if the Red Raiders can score a win against an overmatched opponent. Apparently, this promotion was also in play during a recent win over Cal State Bakersfield, and it’ll be interesting to see how long it lasts. Our guess is the ticket prices will probably rise just a tad once Billy Gillispie turns this program around.
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