Big 12 M5: 01.20.14 EditionPosted by Kory Carpenter on January 20th, 2014
- Kansas head coach Bill Self seemed to know of Joel Embiid‘s gifts before the rest of us, so the recent success of the freshman center from Cameroon isn’t surprising to him. “I told Joel as soon as he stepped foot on campus, ‘You’re going to be the No. 1 pick [in the NBA Draft],” Self told Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal-World after Embiid scored 13 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and had eight blocks in the Jayhawks’ 80-78 win over Oklahoma State Saturday.
- Before the season, Baylor looked like a potential candidate to knock Kansas off the Big 12 crown. Four games into Big 12 play, however, the Bears are 1-3 and face a red-hot Jayhawks team tonight in Allen Fieldhouse. Baylor lost at home to Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon, 66-64, and the Bears are suddenly in a must-win situation if they have any hopes of winning the Big 12 this season.
- It’s easy to look at Oklahoma State’s comeback and near-victory over Kansas in a hostile gym Saturday and agree with Bill Self and Marcus Smart. “It’s a moral victory for us, but we should have just played like that from the tip-off,” Smart said. “I would say if they play well… when they make shots like that, they can beat anybody in the country,” said Self. The problem is that the Cowboys still have little to no post presence after losing Michael Cobbins for the season. Can they beat anyone on a given night? Sure. But can they win four or six consecutive games against quality competition to make the Final Four or win the national championship? Don’t count on it.
- Like Baylor, Iowa State was supposed to challenge for a Big 12 conference title this season. Also like the Bears, the Cyclones have underwhelmed early and now sit at 2-3 in Big 12 play. They’ve been turning the ball over at a high clip lately and it has cost them. “We were going before we let the play develop,” head coach Fred Hoiberg said after losing to Texas Saturday. “We ran into each other on one occasion.” The Cyclones have this week off before welcoming Kansas State to Hilton Coliseum on Saturday.
- Speaking of which, Kansas State has played well at home this season, but the Wildcats face a tough stretch of road games coming up. “We have a stretch where we have to see if we can stay in the top of the heap by winning on the road,” head coach Bruce Weber told Ken Corbitt of the Topeka-Capital Journal. “How do you do that? You have to guard, you have to rebound, and you have to be solid on offense.” The Wildcats are 4-1 in the Big 12 and have a chance to separate themselves from underachieving teams like Baylor and Iowa State in the next week or two.