Big 12 Morning Five: 01.30.12 Edition
Posted by dnspewak on January 30th, 2012
- Missouri did not play well in a win over Texas Tech on Saturday. It does not take a basketball genius to figure that out. The Tigers did not shoot well, and they could not pull away from the Big 12’s most inept team. Had the Red Raiders not turned the ball over so many times, they may have actually taken the game to the wire. Still, Missouri is looking on the bright side after picking up the victory. If the Tigers play like this tonight at Texas or next weekend against Kansas, they will get blown out of the building. But against an inferior opponent, Missouri took care of business. Forgive and forget, Frank Haith, and move on to the next one.
- Before Saturday, Iowa State had made steady progress as a program for the past three months. But it lacked that defining, concrete moment– you know, that win that would transform the culture and help boost the Cyclones’ NCAA Tournament resume. Then, Kansas happened. The Cyclones knocked off fifth-ranked Kansas to earn their first signature victory, a moment which coach Fred Hoiberg marked as the return of “Hilton Magic.” It’s a major victory for Iowa State’s NCAA hopes, but as Hoiberg mentioned, it won’t mean a thing if his team does not take care of business from here on out. For now, though, Iowa State can bask in its most significant victory over Hoiberg’s tenure.
- Steven Pledger is back. The Oklahoma guard burst onto the scene in November and December, but opposing Big 12 defenses had done a better job of slowing him down. Then, Pledger scored 30 in a win at Kansas State this weekend, scoring 18 in the first half as he led Oklahoma to just its second league road win in 23 tries. If Pledger continues to star, maybe Lon Kruger‘s team can make a bit of a turnaround here. The Sooners don’t have a terrific resume, but they do own two victories over Kansas State and have the advantage of Kruger’s experience and pedigree.
- Texas A&M did not get off to a good start in Big 12 play, but it is showing signs of life lately. On Saturday, it was the reserves that boosted a win against Oklahoma State. Dealing with injuries to two starters, the Aggies needed one walk-on in particular to save the day. Alex Baird grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists in 21 minutes of playing time despite appearing in only eight previous games during his career. Billy Kennedy even said, “It was one of my better wins,” which is high praise from someone who won a lot of important games at Murray State.
- On a similar note, one Texas Tech walk-on made a big splash this weekend, even in a loss to Missouri. Frustrated with his starters, coach Billy Gillispie put Luke Adams in the game early in the first half, even though he had played only five minutes in the team’s most recent game against Kansas State. Adams knocked down a few of his first attempts from the field, though, and Gillispie stuck with him. In all, Adams played a career-high 36 minutes, scoring eight points with two assists and two rebounds. Adams, an interesting story because he was born deaf and wears cochlear implants, also stands at just 5-foot-9 and hardly looks like he fits in on the basketball court. Still, he found a way to make an impact, rewarding his coach for all of the playing time.