Big 12 M5: 01.28.14 Edition
Posted by Taylor Erickson on January 28th, 2014
- Early in the non-conference portion of the season, it looked like Kansas State was destined for a difficult season in year two of Bruce Weber’s reign as head coach in Manhattan. After losing talented players like Rodney McGruder and Angel Rodriguez from a season ago, many believe Shane Southwell would be the one to fill the scoring void. Absent from any top 100 recruiting list was Marcus Foster, a freshman guard from Texas. In an article on Bleacher Report Monday, Foster told Southwell last fall he thought he could score around six points a game this year for the Wildcats. Southwell set the talented newcomer straight, explaining that he could average at least 13 or 14 this year. That claim appears to be spot on as Foster has averaged exactly fourteen points a game and has been a huge reason why Kansas State has far exceeded most expectations this season.
- In yesterday’s Big 12 Morning Five, we discussed Marcus Smart‘s antics on Saturday in reference to an article in the Tulsa World. Smart issued an apology via Twitter saying Saturday was not one of his prouder moments and he lost his composure, something that wouldn’t happen again. A trio of ESPN college basketball writers discussed on Monday whether an apology from Smart was necessary heading into the Bedlam rivalry at Oklahoma last night. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget just how young some of these players are and that like everyone else, they’re subject to mistakes from time to time. Moving forward, for Oklahoma State to truly maximize their potential, Smart has to avoid falling into a similar frustration as he’s simply too valuable to the success in Stillwater.
- For Kansas, the magic number to claiming a 10th straight Big 12 title is ironically enough now 10. That means that some combination of Kansas wins and/or losses by those teams sitting at second place equaling the number 10 is what the Jayhawks would need to win or share another conference title. The Kansas City Star took a look at remaining schedules among the league’s elite in an effort to handicap the race for the conference title. While there is still the entire month of February to be played, after Oklahoma State’s loss at Oklahoma last night, if Kansas beats Iowa State at home at Texas on the road this week, this one might be all but over.
- For as good as Baylor was early in the non-conference portion of the season, the Bears have been equally as bad as of late. Neutral site wins over Colorado and Kentucky seem like a thing of the past for a team that has started 1-5 in league play. For Scott Drew, he’s using last season’s downfall where Baylor started 5-1 and finished 9-9 as an example for how quickly things can change in college basketball. And, as Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News explained, Tuesday’s home game against West Virginia is about as must-win as it can get for Scott Drew and company this early in the season.
- Andrew Wiggins‘ best offensive output of the season came Saturday night in Fort Worth as the Jayhawks avenged the shocking loss they suffered a season ago at the hands of TCU. Wiggins scored 19 points in the first half and finished with 27 for the game, and did a much better job of attacking the rim drawing 10 free throw attempts for the game. Given his athletic ability, this is something that should be a staple in Wiggins’ offensive diet, but could Bill Self do a little more to make it easier for his star player to get to the rim? In a post on the Kansas SB Nation site, Self’s offensive spacing (or lack there of) is discussed in more detail and shows just how difficult it is at times for Wiggins to get to the basket. Perhaps as the season rolls on we will see more isolation calls for the talented guard because when he’s at his best attacking the rim, Kansas becomes that much more difficult to contain.