Big 12 M5: 01.15.13 EditionPosted by KoryCarpenter on January 15th, 2013
- The AP and Coaches Polls were released Monday, and Kansas climbed into the top five (#4 to be exact) in both polls. The Jayhawks jumped Michigan and Arizona this week, who lost to Ohio State and Oregon, respectively. Kansas State continues to climb in both polls as well, jumping to #18 in the Coaches Poll and #16 in the AP. While both teams from Kansas are climbing, the rest of the Big 12 is nowhere to be seen. Oklahoma State has been dropping fast while losing three of their last four games, and Iowa State and Baylor are still a few weeks worth of wins away from making appearances of their own.
- I’ve never been a big Rick Barnes fan. I’ve always thought that Barnes has underachieved with the amount of talent he has had at Texas and has never been held accountable because Texas fans are more worried about the third-string quarterback than the basketball team. But C.J. Moore of Basketball Prospectus began to change my mind today. It’s an eye-opening piece with plenty of noteworthy statistics. Moore does a solid job of rebuking the claim that Barnes should have advanced further into March during his one season with Kevin Durant on the roster in 2006-07, when the Longhorns lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Maybe Moore is right — maybe Barnes is better than we think.
- A quick update on West Virginia sophomore guard Juwan Staten, who missed Saturday’s game against Kansas State for disciplinary reasons: Bob Huggins said during a teleconference on Monday that Staten will travel with the team for its game at Iowa State on Wednesday night. It is still uncertain whether he will play, though. Huggins seemed to infer that this week’s practices leading up to the game will decide Staten’s fate for that game as the Mountaineers will look to improve to 2-2 in the Big 12. Staten is second on the team with 10.5 PPG and leads the team with 2.9 APG at this point in the season. He played sparingly last week against Texas in logging just 13 minutes, but just the week prior he had 17 points in a home win over Eastern Kentucky.
- Kansas guard Ben McLemore has been getting the most attention of any freshman in the Big 12, but Iowa State freshman forward Georges Niang is quietly putting up impressive numbers for the Cyclones as well. He is third on the team with 11.5 PPG and is shooting 35.5% from beyond the arc. Fred Hoiberg told the Associated Press that he loves Niang’s footwork, and I think he has a high enough basketball I.Q. to mask his athleticism with smarts while he continues to develop his body at Iowa State. He scored 18 points in Saturday’s blowout win over Texas and has scored double figures in six of his last seven games. He has a very European style of game for a big man, shown in last week’s near-upset of Kansas. He drew shot-blocking extraordinaire Jeff Withey out of the paint with his ability to knock down jumpers, opening up the lane for his driving teammates.
- Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com updated his latest bracketology on Monday. The Big 12 received six bids: Kansas (#1 seed), Kansas State (#6), Oklahoma (#7), Oklahoma State (#9), Baylor (#11), and Iowa State (#12). Who would have guessed before the season that Oklahoma would be projected as a higher seed than Oklahoma State and Baylor? There is obviously still a bunch of games to be played, but the Sooners are positioning themselves for a good day on Selection Sunday. On a different note, I wouldn’t want to be a #6 seed paired with Baylor in the first round (Boise State in this particular bracket). The Bears are far from a great team but, as in recent years, they have the talent to win a few games in the NCAA Tournament.