Big 12 M5: 01.04.13 EditionPosted by dnspewak on January 4th, 2013
- It’s not too often you see Baylor on the bad side of recruiting news, but Scott Drew’s 2014 class took a hit when Leron Black announced his de-commitment from the Bears this week. Black, a 6’7” forward from Memphis, originally made a pledge to Drew in September, but he said he rushed the decision, so now he’s re-opened his options to just about every other major program in college basketball. Interestingly, Black was Drew’s only 2014 commitment, but there’s no reason to think he’ll shun Baylor entirely at this point. It’s just that the Bears have some competition now.
- Jason King always knows the ins and outs of the Big 12, so here’s a nice read on the state of the league heading into conference play this weekend. No surprises with Kansas atop the conference, but King makes a notable argument hidden in the middle of his article. He said he “wouldn’t be surprised if [Iowa State] finished as high as second in the Big 12 standings.” Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Lost among Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Baylor, it’s easy to forget that Fred Hoiberg’s three losses all came away from home to good competition, including UNLV and Cincinnati. The Cyclones slammed BYU, too, and they’re getting much better play from point guard Korie Lucious after a difficult start to his Iowa State career. We need to see more from ISU before picking it above any of the aforementioned contenders, but it’s clearly a step above the bottom-dwellers and has serious potential.
- Iowa State’s non-conference season may not have gotten much attention, but that’s because nothing significant really happened. It wasn’t terrible, and it wasn’t great, either, so nobody said a word. That’s not the case for West Virginia, which actually has the worst record in the league at this point and had to suffer through a nationally-televised debacle at Gonzaga to start its season. According to at least one website, however, maybe the Mountaineers are OK after all. That article points out that West Virginia’s RPI ranks seventh in the Big 12 and its strength of schedule is fourth. Of course, nobody’s going to hang a banner for ranking seventh out of 10 teams in a league, and Bob Huggins’ team has no wins of note unless you think beating Virginia Tech by a point on a game-winner by Juwan Staten is notable. The Hokies subsequently lost by 36 to Colorado State and 26 to BYU, so that should tell you something. Yes, the Mountaineers are indeed in bad shape, and they’ll need a terrific Big 12 season to make up for it. Not just good — that won’t cut it. They need to be world-beaters.
- Did Myck Kabongo get a fair shake in the court of public opinion? After reading this well-done piece, we’re not so sure. For weeks, every media outlet has painted Kabongo as some sort of liar to the NCAA, and that’s why he originally received a season-long ban from the governing body. After more facts emerged and the NCAA amended his suspension to 23 games, it’s apparent now that Kabongo lied, but not to the NCAA. He lied to Texas officials. Is that as bad as lying to the authority? We’ll let you decide that. Either way, the fact that most jumped to the conclusion that Kabongo lied to investigators shows that not everybody knew the real story at the start of this whole ordeal.
- Bill Self is a basketball coach. Nothing’s ever good enough for basketball coaches. So while we gush about Kansas’ defense, Self isn’t impressed. Here’s the full quote for your enjoyment: “I’ve watched us play (on film). People are saying too much about our defense. It’s not that good. It’s not… Of all the possessions we have defensively in a game, I guarantee you, 50 percent are bad possessions compared to 50 percent good possessions. The result may end up good because they may miss a shot or they may fumble the ball or make a bad pass or something that doesn’t have much to do with us. I think the biggest area of improvement for us would have to be the defensive end.” And there you have it. Pretty harsh words for the team allowing the fifth-lowest field goal percentage in all of college basketball.