Big 12 Alley-Oops and Airballs: Week ElevenPosted by cwilliams on January 26th, 2012
Big 12 Alley-Oops and Airballs is a weekly article examining what’s hot and what’s not in Big 12 basketball.
Despite being self-proclaimed “experts” in the field of college basketball, me and my fellow hoops writers are often wrong. And that’s part of it — first, we predict that Texas A&M will be a threat to win the Big 12; then, we say Missouri’s hopeless without Laurence Bowers; and then, we are proven wrong. That’s part of the job. But whenever predictions pan out correctly, most pundits can’t help but pat themselves on the back. We at RTC Big 12 predicted that, despite the injuries, academic ineligibilities, and the effect of conference realignment, the Big 12 would be one of the best conferences in college basketball. With Missouri at #2 in the nation, Kansas at #6, and Baylor at #8, plus the impressive seasons so far by Iowa State and Kansas State, it appears as if we were spot on with that one.
- That’s Just Nash-ty: Nash has been under a microscope all season, and for good reason. Touted as one of the nation’s most talented freshmen, Le’Bryan was expected to not only compete for Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, but Big 12 Player of the Year too. So, naturally, he’s been a slight disappointment this season. Until last night. Oklahoma State hosted the #2 Missouri Tigers, hot off a huge road win at Baylor, and Le’Bryan went off, dropping 27 on the stunned Tigers.
- Border War Hype: No matter what the records of Kansas and Missouri are, the Border War will always be surrounded by a great deal of hype in the Midwest. But this season, the teams have skyrocketed the polls, now sitting at #2 and #6, respectively. The jawing between the fanbases has reached new highs, which is saying something because these guys already despise each other. Next Saturday, with ESPN’s College Gameday in town, Missouri will host Kansas, in what many are touting to be the Big 12 game of the season.
- Taylor Made: Perhaps Tyshawn Taylor noted the public’s criticism. Or maybe he ignored it and knew his game would naturally come back. Either way, Taylor has been playing some stellar basketball as of late. His turnovers are down, his points are up, and he’s playing like the floor general Kansas needs. When Thomas Robinson and Taylor are in sync, I’m not sure anyone can stop them.
- Overrated is Overrated: Seriously fellow Big 12 students, enough with the “Overrated” chant. I realize this chant isn’t stricken just to the Big 12, but it’s a problem in the Big 12. I heard Kansas fans chanting it after beating Baylor. Even worse, I heard Oklahoma State fans chanting it after beating Missouri, THEN proceeding to rush the court. You can’t have both, Pokes fans. Why would any fan base want to diminish the glory of their victory by basically saying “We just beat a team that isn’t as good as people think!” I’d rather see an “underrated” chant, any day.
- Neinas the Pot-Stirrer: I get it Chuck Neinas, you’re in a tough spot. You’re the interim commissioner for a conference that has been pickpocketed during realignment, and you inherited the mess Dan Beebe created (By the way, follow @fakedanbeebe on Twitter, you won’t be disappointed). But to go out and openly criticize Missouri for being “selfish” during conference realignment while Missouri is still a Big 12 member is dumb. There is no benefit to it, and it only can make things more difficult. Once they are in the SEC, have at ’em. But until then, treat them as you would any other Big 12 team and don’t create further intra-conference conflict.