Big 12 M5: 12.27.13 Edition

Posted by Taylor Erickson on December 27th, 2013

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  1. A quick look at Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency rankings, and you’d find Kansas at #13 nationally, which makes sense given how Bill Self’s teams usually guard. If you really dig into the numbers like Jesse Newel of the Topeka Capitol-Journal did, though, you would find that Kansas ranks sixth in the nation in free throw defense. Anyone familiar with college basketball would quickly recognize that there’s really no such thing, as the metric is more or less determined by how well opponents shoot from the free throw line. So far, Kansas opponents have made only 62.0 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe versus the NCAA average of 69.3 percent. So perhaps Self and company have been a bit lucky so far this season as they continue to work to mold a young squad into the defensive team (beyond the free throw line) we’re used to seeing.
  2. Iowa State continued its hot play during the non-conference portion of its schedule after beating Boise State in the Diamond Head Classic title game in Hawaii on Christmas night. The showing in this tournament further cements the Cyclones’ spot among the nation’s best teams, bumping their RPI to fourth best in the NCAA. What this win also also does, as Randy Peterson explains, is to continue the discussion regarding Fred Hoiberg‘s future as a coaching candidate for many NBA positions. It’s obvious Hoiberg is a star in Ames, but fans should enjoy the time he’s around because it’s hard to foresee a lucky GM eventually luring in The Mayor.
  3. After struggling to a 13-19 record in their first Big 12 season a year ago, there was optimism among West Virginia fans that this year’s squad would be much improved. Through 12 games, however, Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers have the exact same record (7-5) as they did through 12 games last season. The difference this year is that most observers feel that this team is much closer to turning the corner and becoming a contender for a postseason spot. That feeling is shared by sophomore guard Eron Harris, who says Huggins’ coaching staff has been easier on the team as they too see how close this team is to putting it all together.
  4. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown might be one of the best-kept secrets in college basketball. On Monday, Brown was honored as the Big 12 player of the week, averaging 18.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in wins over Delaware State and Colorado. For the season, Brown is averaging 16.3 points per game with a sterling offensive rating of 131.1 (54th nationally), and at this rate will make it extremely difficult to keep off the All-Big 12 first team.
  5. While Kansas continues to be the favorite of most to win the Big 12 regular season title, they certainly won’t be without their fair share of opponents challenging for their claim to the league title. As Raphielle Johnson of NBCSports.com points out, Baylor and Iowa State paired with Oklahoma State creates some serious competition along with the Jayhawks at the top. Even the middle tier of the league – teams like Texas, Kansas State, and Oklahoma – appeared to be a bit down coming into this season but have certainly shown that they should not be taken lightly during league play. In the first few months of the season, the Big 12 has made a statement as one of the best conferences in college basketball.
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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