Big 12 M5: 10.23.13 EditionPosted by Kory Carpenter on October 23rd, 2013
- Maybe it was because of the comments that Marcus Smart made about Andrew Wiggins, maybe it was because he actually believed it, or maybe it was because he was just trying to quell any war of words that may have been brewing, but Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford had nothing but praise for Kansas heading into the season, and he was not shy about claiming the Jayhawks are still the team to beat, even with Marcus Smart leading the Cowboys this year. “Winning a Big 12 Championship is something that we strive to do. It’s something we talk about, but we fully grasp that Kansas is still a team to beat.”
- One team that has flown under the radar this pre-season has been Kansas State, who had a disappointing exit in last season’s NCAA Tournament after losing to #13 seed La Salle in the Round of 64. As Blair Kerkhoff of The Kansas City Star points out here, the last six years of Kansas State basketball have had a go-to guy heading into the season, from Michael Beasley to Jacob Pullen to Rodney McGruder. Now, 6’7″ senior wing Shane Southwell thinks he can be the next guy to star for the Wildcats. He averaged 8.4 points last season and needs to bump that number up into double digits to make Kansas State competitive in the top-heavy Big 12 this season.
- Speaking of the top-heavy Big 12, maybe you have heard that there is a pretty good team practicing in Lawrence. Kansas coach Bill Self is no stranger to talent or expectations, and this team has as much of both as any team he has coached in his career, especially after Andrew Wiggins announced his plans to play at Kansas this year before bolting for the NBA. Self is quick to squash the comparisons to all-time greats, but admits he has a once-a-decade (or better) talent on his hands. “He’s not LeBron,” He told Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. “He’s not Durant. He’s not Wilt. He’s Andrew. And Andrew will impact our college game and our program in a huge, huge, huge way.”
- It’s clearly a 2-team race at the top of the Big 12 this season, but it appears to be wide open after that. With the departures of Amath M’Baye, Romero Osby, and Sam Grooms, senior forward Cameron Clark has slowly become a leader for the Sooners and head coach Lon Kruger. “Everbody listens to him,” sophomore Buddy Hield told Ryan Aber of The Oklahoman at Big 12 Media Day yesterday. “When he’s got something to say, everybody shuts up.”
- With scoring on the decline, the NCAA has been trying to alter little things here and there to fix things recently, and this season’s new emphasis on hand-checking could do just that. It might take a while for teams to adjust, however. “We’ve had two scrimmages where we’ve had Big 12 refs,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg told The Des Moines Register‘s Randy Peterson. “In one of our scrimmages, we were in the double bonus at the 10-minute mark.” Eventually, the new rules should bring forth cleaner games and more offense, and everyone should love that. But November and December could give us slow, drawn-out whistlefests as teams try to adjust.