Big 12 M5: Valentine’s Day Edition
Posted by dnspewak on February 14th, 2013
- You’ve heard all about Kansas‘ point guard issues. You’ve heard that Elijah Johnson is struggling, and that Naadir Tharpe may be next in line for his starting position. Bottom line is, they’ll both need to play well to help the Jayhawks advance past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. SI‘s Andy Glockner raises the issue as to whether Johnson’s move to point guard has hurt his ability to be a primary scoring threat for this team. Ben McLemore has certainly taken care of that, but he can’t shoulder the load alone. Another interesting thing to point out: Glockner notes that Kansas’ defense actually was its failing during the three-game losing streak. Something tells us Jeff Withey and Bill Self will figure that problem out.
- Coach of the Year awards are mostly a sham. It should be renamed the “Coach of the Most Surprising Team” award, but it’s a fun exercise nonetheless. At this point, two coaches in the state of Oklahoma may be vying for it: Lon Kruger and Travis Ford. If you ask us, the answer has to be Kruger. It’s no surprise that he’s rebuilt this program so quickly, considering his track record, but he’s mixed a good group of freshmen (and transfer Amath B’Mbaye) with a veteran nucleus to form a really solid squad this winter. It hasn’t been easy, but he benched former starters Andrew Fitzgerald and Sam Grooms and found a rotation that worked for him. From here, OU basketball should only continue to increase in relevance.
- So much for West Virginia‘s three-game winning streak. Baylor roughed up the Mountaineers last night, which is evidence that Bob Huggins’ team did not in fact reinvent itself while beating the three worst teams in the league. For the Bears, it’s a sign that they’re perhaps back on track. Brady Heslip finished with six three-pointers, which also bodes well after he uncharacteristically struggled early in the season.
- We’re a little late on this, but Texas Tech isn’t using its losing season as an excuse in recruiting. Interim head coach Chris Walker just hosted Keith Frazier on an official visit during the past two days. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill recruiting visit. Frazier, a five-star shooting guard out of Dallas, has offers from just about everybody. Arizona. Florida. UCLA. Oklahoma State. Missouri. And on and on. It’d be a real coup for Texas Tech to land this guy.
- We’ll end the Morning Five on a sad note, even though it’s Valentine’s Day. Former Kansas basketball player Jack Eskridge died earlier this week at the ripe old age of 89. His career wasn’t all that illustrious — he averaged about seven points a game in the late ’40s — but Eskridge was also an assistant under KU great Phog Allen. And he’s a World War II veteran. Rest in peace, no matter who you root for.
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