Big 12 Weekly Five: 08.29.12 EditionPosted by dnspewak on August 29th, 2012
- Because it just wouldn’t be a Big 12 Weekly Five without the dreaded conference realignment talk, new league commissioner Bob Bowlsby said last week he’s happy with 10 teams in the, uh, Big 12, for now. Naming inconsistencies aside, he has a point. Bowlsby told the Kansas City Star that a 10-team league allows for more flexible scheduling, and from a basketball standpoint, the idea of a true regular-season champion is appealing. Ten teams affords the Big 12 the rare opportunity in hoops to allow for home-and-homes with every opponent, so although an expansion may drive more revenue into the Big 12, we’re perfectly content leaving things the way they are.
- Hold on, folks: The Darrell Williams case isn’t over yet. The defense says it has new evidence in the case, and it’ll now try to convince a judge to grant the former Oklahoma State forward a retrial after a jury convicted him of rape this summer. There’s no word on what evidence the defense will present, according to the Associated Press, but Williams’ conviction is beginning to gain national notoriety after staying under the radar throughout the original trial. Reverand Jesse Jackson is now fighting on Williams’ behalf, and his supporters claim the lack of DNA evidence and possibility of misidentification means he got a raw deal. One of the victims in the case doesn’t see it that way, telling the AP that she is “infuriated” and that “they don’t know what happened to me and the other girl.”
- Kansas returned from its trip to Europe with two losses, which seems mildly concerning but probably affects little in the long run. Kansas State lost two games in Brazil, after all, and it’s August, not March. But Bill Self is never one to mince his words, and he ripped his team in an interview with CBS’ Gary Parrish recently. Parrish asked who stood out on the trip. Self’s response? “Really nobody. Nobody really impressed me. Everybody was just OK. [Senior guard] Elijah [Johnson] wasn’t great. [Senior center Jeff] Withey wasn’t great. [Senior guard Travis] Releford wasn’t great. I’d say [freshman forward] Perry [Ellis] showed as much promise as anybody in terms of scoring. But he has a lot to learn.”
- Iowa State has rewarded athletic director Jamie Pollard with a five-year extension, and he’s got Fred Hoiberg to thank in part for that. The deal provides a little more stability to Hoiberg’s staff, who can now work under a solid administration with excellent school support. When Pollard first hired Hoiberg, it wasn’t met with a lot of optimism around the nation. Sure, bringing The Mayor back to Ames fired up the fan base at home, but he had no coaching experience and seemed like a major risk. A disastrous stretch in Big 12 play during his first season didn’t calm any fears, but Hoiberg’s breakout year in 2011-12 made Pollard look like a genius.
- Let’s end this Weekly Five with some kind words for one of the league’s doormats. Laugh at Texas Tech all you want, but as this blog astutely points out, there’s more talent for Billy Gillispie to work with in 2012-13. The assessment is overly optimistic, sure, but there’s reason to believe that Gillispie’s second season could be a significant stepping stone in this rebuilding project. First of all, Tech will have a fresh roster after several transfers this offseason and a giant group of Class of 2012 newcomers. Most importantly, that recruiting class includes several new point guard options, including Josh Gray, who just might be one of the league’s most important freshmen next year. That position plagued the Red Raiders a year ago. Gillispie knew that and immediately went and found new options. Look at the bottom of the article, though, and you’ll really see why Red Raiders fans should feel decent about their situation. Billy Gillispie has done this before. It didn’t work at Kentucky, but he was a proven winner before that — a tough-nosed overachiever with the ability to sap every bit of talent out of his roster. That’s why he’s a perfect fit in Lubbock.