The Big 12, Halloween Style

Posted by Taylor Erickson on October 31st, 2013

Ah, yes, the Halloween holiday is finally upon us. A time of the year when we all seem to be submerged in any type of pumpkin thing we can get our hands on. When most of the country is knee-deep in football season, except at schools like Kansas and Iowa State which have already thrown in the towel and turned the page to basketball. It’s the one time each year adults are allowed to rekindle the flame from childhood and dress themselves in literally anything you can imagine. In the spirit of this festive holiday, let’s take a look around the Big 12, Halloween style.

Trick:  Don’t fall for it, not even for a second. On Wednesday, The Sporting News released a slideshow of college basketball players in costumes they sported as kids many years ago. Scrolling through, you come across a young Brady Heslip, dressed as what would appear to be a lizard of some sort, and yes, he’s even rocking that great head of hair. While a juvenile Heslip appears awfully innocent, make no mistake about it, the grown-up version has a deadly stroke from behind the arc that consistently pains Big 12 foes.

Brady Heslip appears innocent, but will make you pay from behind the arc.

A young, innocent Brady Heslip, now deadly behind the arc. (Sporting News/Heslip family photo)

Treat:  Look at any national college basketball preview, and you’re bound to repeatedly see the names Andrew Wiggins and Marcus Smart. Those of us in the Big 12 will be treated (pun intended) to at least two match-ups between these college superstars, once on January 18 at Allen Fieldhouse, and again on March 1 at Gallagher-Iba Arena. There’s been no shortage of words between the two this preseason, along with head coaches Bill Self and Travis Ford, further magnifying what should be two absolute epic meetings between these schools in Big 12 play. Kansas fans were haunted during the latter half of the 2012-13 season by images of Smart back-flipping his way across James Naismith Court after the Cowboys pulled off the upset in Lawrence.  Here’s to hoping this year will provide plenty of new fireworks.

Trick:  If you’re familiar with the Big 12, chances are that you decided last season that West Virginia’s Mountaineer mascot stakes claim to the “best beard in the Big 12” award. Make no mistake about it, his facial hair is Duck Dynasty-worthy, but a member of Kansas’ cheer squad is throwing a challenge flag in the direction of Morgantown. Don’t know what I’m referring to? Without further ado, we present you with KU’s yell leader, Cedric, or as he’s quickly become known among the KU fanbase, Thor (pictured below), who made his debut during the Jayhawks’ exhibition game on Tuesday night. We could go into further explanation, but the picture really speaks for itself.

KU's cheer squad member challenges the WVU Mountaineer for best beard in the Big 12.

KU’s “Thor” (@KUThorleader) is serious about Kansas basketball.

Treat:  Hilton Magic.  Let’s be honest, outside of Allen Fieldhouse, is there anywhere more difficult to win a game on the road in the Big 12 than Ames? Former Iowa State guard Tyus McGee horrified opposing fan bases in the Big 12 a season ago, but now that he’s gone, you can take a deep breath, right? Think again.  Enter Matt Thomas, a name we’ve mentioned several times already this season and one who will be known by the time March rolls around. For Cyclone fans, Thomas will certainly be a treat to watch sizzle the nets at Hilton Coliseum, and for everyone else in the Big 12, well, maybe not so much.

Treat:  Bob Huggins‘ WVU letter sweater he sported at Big 12 media day was a sight to behold. If you weren’t lucky enough to catch a glimpse of it, we’ve got you covered. But seriously, from the aforementioned sweater to the classic Huggins track suit, is there a coach in the Big 12 who seems to enjoy doing his own thing as much as Huggins?

Bob Huggins letter sweater stole the show at the Big 12 media day.

Bob Huggins’ letterman sweater stole the show at the Big 12 media day.

Treat:  And our last treat of the day goes out to Big 12 fans in general. College basketball is finally here. Gone are the weeknights surfing through the channel guide in search of something the least bit interesting. What lies ahead for this season remains to be seen, but the talent atop the conference will size up with the best across the country, and the individual performances we’re guaranteed to see this season should be remarkable. So go ahead, dig into that candy bowl you plan on handing out this evening and take solace in the fact that your squad will soon be hitting the hardwood for another exciting year.

Taylor Erickson (54 Posts)

Taylor Erickson is a Big 12 contributor for RTC. You can follow him on Twitter @tc_erickson.

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