Big 12 M5: 02.20.13 Edition

Posted by Nate Kotisso on February 20th, 2013

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  1. Thank God it’s Wednesday because on paper, Tuesday gave us an undesirable match-up between bottom-feeders Texas and TCU. Surprisingly enough, it was a pretty good game. Texas came into the contest shooting 40% from the field as a team while committing more turnovers per game (15.5 TOPG) than anyone in the Big 12. Last night the Longhorns shot better than 50% and turned it over just eight times. It’s a night like this that accentuates the importance of a player like Myck Kabongo (seven assists, two turnovers), who played only his third game of the season. Even TCU (13.7 TOPG) had nine TOs in a losing effort. There’s a lesson to be learned from this: You shouldn’t judge a game by the teams playing in it.
  2. This year’s Oklahoma State squad is different than the ones in the recent past. Yes Marcus Smart has something to do with it but much of the Cowboys’ success has relied on winning close games. Four of their games in the current seven-game winning streak have come against probable NCAA Tournament teams and were all won by five points or fewer. How does that compare to years past? In games decided by four points or fewer, OSU went 4-3 in 2011-12 and 5-5 in 2010-11. That’s a good way to separate the men from the boys.
  3. The biggest game on Wednesday night may not be in Stillwater. Baylor and Iowa State are playing for the second time this season with major bubble implications. There’s a lot of talent on both sides but neither team has been able to put it together for an extended stretch. The Cyclones nicked the Bears by eight earlier in conference play, but while their tournament profiles are still lacking, a win in this game would go a long way.
  4. We got an unexpected storyline from Monday’s West Virginia-Kansas State game. Eron Harris, a freshman guard for WVU, was seen crying on the sidelines shortly after fouling out in just eight minutes of action. After checking back into the game, Harris had committed separate technical and personal fouls that sidelined him for the rest of the game. If there’s anything we know for sure, the young man plays with purpose. His increased playing time in conference play has shined a light on his abilities as a scorer. About him crying, wouldn’t you? Yeah it’s been a rough season but in Harris’ mind, he’s trying to do anything he can to come up with a W. So when he receives questionable foul calls and learns that his night is over before it really began, you’d feel helpless. Sometimes in life, people cry when they feel helpless. Nothing wrong with that. Oh, and it seems like he’s over it. 
  5. Not enough can be said about the job Lon Kruger has done this season. It takes a brave man to give his freshmen regular playing time with an already seasoned basketball team in place. Je’lon Hornbeak is an excellent example of this. Kruger took the point guard by trade and moved him out on the wing. So far, so good. Hornbeak is averaging 8.7 points per game in his last three contests since fellow freshman Buddy Hield went down with an injury. Once again: brave, unconventional. Kruger may be on his way to Big 12 Coach of the Year.
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