Big 12 M5: 10.24.13 EditionPosted by Kory Carpenter on October 24th, 2013
- While Travis Ford and Marcus Smart continue to talk about the budding rivalry with Kansas and Andrew Wiggins, Wiggins seems more worried about not wearing his ankle braces in the shower. Ok, not quite. But the heralded freshman and likely No. 1 pick in next summer’s draft appears to be as down to earth as someone can be in his situation, saying things like, “You can’t take any plays off,” to Gary Bedore of the Lawrence-Journal World at Big 12 Media Day. “The person you are guarding may be as good as you.” Probably not, in Wiggins’ case. But we get the point.
Not unlike coaches in any sport, Fred Hoiberg is looking for anything he can use for motivation heading into this season. This week, he found it in a USA Today Big 12 poll. After seeing his Cyclones picked by one voter to finish 10th in the 10-team Big 12, Hoiberg pounced on the opportunity. “That is the one ranking I showed our guys,” Hoiberg said at Big 12 Media Day on Tuesday. “That is the thing I like about being picked low, and then you try to go out and prove people wrong.”
Jeff Borzello of CBSSports.com unveiled his top 30 freshmen heading into the season, and we’ll jsut skip over Andrew Wiggins, of course, landing the top spot. Wiggins was joined by Kansas teammates Wayne Selden (#7) and Joel Embiid (#9) but only one other Big 12 player made the final cut: Iowa State guard Matt Thomas at #25. Here is what Borzello had to say about the 6’3″ shooting guard from Onalaska, Wisconsin: “The Cyclones led the nation in 3-pointers per game last season, but their entire perimeter group is gone. That’s where Thomas steps in. He was one of the best shooters in the country.”
- Good coaches are able to change their style of play if needed to fit their personnel, and that is exactly what Bob Huggins will try to do this season at West Virginia. The Mountaineers went 6-12 in the Big 12 last season (13-19 overall), and lost their highest scoring big man in Deniz Kilicli. “We’ve gone from, I think, trying to ineffectively throw it inside to where we’re going to be more of a perimeter team,” Huggins told Mike Casazza of the Charleston (W.V.) Daily Mail at Big 12 Media Day. After last season’s debacle, the change of play is worth a shot.
- With the 2014 Final Four being played in the Big 12’s backyard at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Final Four officials spent some time at Big 12 Media Day in Kansas City this week to discuss the event. Dallas Cowboys executive Charlotte Anderson said she expects 80,000 people to attend each game, a new record for the event. She didn’t, however, estimate how many fans will be able to see the court from their seats. The only other question is whether a Big 12 team can get there — Kansas and Oklahoma State certainly will have a reasonable shot.