Big 12 Saturday Preview

Posted by Kory Carpenter on February 1st, 2014

All 10 Big 12 teams are in action today, but we’re going to look at the three games with conference championship and NCAA Tournament implications. We’ll start with the nine-time defending conference champs, who travel to Austin.

Kansas (16-4, 7-0) at Texas (16-4, 5-2), 3:00 P.M. CST, ESPN

Oklahoma State Used a Strong Second Half to Beat Texas

Texas Hopes to Avoid a Foul Situation on Saturday

Try finding anyone who thought today’s game between Kansas and Texas would mean so much in the Big 12 regular season race. The Longhorns are the most surprising team in the conference this season and, barring a late-season meltdown, will make the NCAA Tournament after missing out last season. Kansas is looking to lock up their 10th Big 12 regular season title in a row with a win. It won’t be official, but a win would give the Jayhawks at least a three-game lead on everyone else with 10 games left. Not to mention 5 games remaining against TCU, West Virginia, and Texas Tech. It will be a story of offense vs defense as Kansas comes into the game with the #4 offense on kenpom.com while Texas is #20 in defense. The Longhorns are only three-point underdogs in this one and have been playing great lately, winning five straight. They’ve also been off since last Saturday, so expect them to be fresh and make this one close. Don’t be surprised if they hand Kansas its first conference loss today.

Oklahoma (17-4, 6-2) at Iowa State (15-4, 3-4) 3:00 P.M. CST, ESPN3

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Big 12 M5: 01.24.14 Edition

Posted by Kory Carpenter on January 24th, 2014

morning5_big12

  1. As Bill Self points out and Jesse Newell of the Topeka Capital-Journal expands upon hereKansas has one of the best offenses in the country but there is still room for improvement. “Although[the offense] has been good, it hasn’t been like what it can be, and so I’m not too excited,” Self told Newell recently. Self is right. The Jayhawks were going to have a really good offense this season because Self is one of the best coaches in the country and the roster is stacked with future pros, but turnovers could be their downfall in March.
  2. Sports Illustrated‘s Chris Johnson has a good piece about Texas head coach Rick Barnes and the defense his team has been playing this season. It has kept them in the hunt for an NCAA Tournament bid and cooled the seat Barnes was sitting on. As Johnson points out, the Longhorns are allowing just 0.81 points per possession in their halfcourt defense this season. They don’t have enough offensive firepower to consistently outscore teams, but they can hang with anybody in the league with a defense like that.
  3. We may be getting closer to a resolution in the twisting, turning saga of Bubu Palo and the school’s efforts to keep him off the team. The Iowa Supreme Court has denied the Board of Regents’ request for an immediate stay on a ruling that reinstated Palo to the Cyclones while an appeal with the district court is settled. The details are somewhat complicated, but this latest development means that for now, Palo is formally a member of the team. It’s worth pointing out that head coach Fred Hoiberg is under no obligation to work him back into Iowa State’s plans, even as the team has suffered a funk of late. Still, while Palo isn’t considered a dynamic player on the court, the evolution of his case could mean big things in determining whether membership on a college sports team is a privilege or a right, and which entities have the authority to make such a determination.
  4. Videos of seldom-used players messing around in their gyms and hitting trick shots aren’t anything new, but Oklahoma walk-on James Fraschilla brings something different to the table. Fraschilla brings in a few special guests for his latest clip, including teammate Ryan Spangler and Sooner quarterback Trevor Knight. Most importantly, Fraschilla wraps up the video with a suggestion that viewers contribute to Hayden’s Hope, a charity started by ESPN personality Dari Nowkah which raises awareness for pediatric organ donation. It’s always nice to see students doing good, and we definitely encourage our readers to check out the video for yourself and give whatever you can to the cause.
  5. As the adage goes, shooters are gonna shoot. That was the key for Terry Henderson, who helped West Virginia snap a three-game losing skid on Wednesday by scoring 28 points to escape against Texas Tech. The Mountaineers will look for Henderson to bring the hot hand with him to Stillwater when West Virginia takes on Oklahoma State tomorrow afternoon. WVU needs a marquee win in the worst way, and Henderson will need his teammates just as much as they need him.
Share this story

Big 12 M5: 01.23.14 Edition

Posted by Kory Carpenter on January 23rd, 2014

morning5_big12

  1. It seems like every year now Baylor has the look of a team that can challenge for the Big 12 regular season title. And every year the Bears fall off somewhere around this time. They were ranked No. 7 in the country not too long ago but are now losers of three straight. “It’s the No. 1-ranked conference in the country, so it’s a grind,” head coach Scott Drew told John Werner of the Waco Tribune. “We’re five games into it and we’re on the upward swing, so hopefully we can keep that going.” The Bears’ next chance to get out of its current rut comes Saturday at home against Texas.
  2. John Helsley of The Oklahoman asks a good question about Oklahoma State here: Is a six-day layoff after Saturday’s loss at Kansas a good or bad thing? He makes compelling cases for both answers, but we won’t know what the correct one is until the Cowboys play West Virginia at home on Saturday. The Pokes are in a Saturday-Monday rotation for their next five games, so perhaps a routine will do Oklahoma State some good.
  3. As Kyle Ringo of Yahoo! Sports points out, not many people expected Texas to be playing as well as the Longhorns are this season. Rick Barnes lost just about all the talent he had from last year’s team, and that group of Longhorns wasn’t a great team anyway. But here they are a year later, sitting at 15-4, 4-2 in Big 12 play, and in a good position to make the NCAA Tournament this season. But will they keep it up?
  4. Kansas State was in sole possession of second place in the Big 12 not very long ago. But then Tuesday’s game at Texas happened, and the Wildcats are suddenly tied with three other schools in that spot. Texas forward Jonathan Holmes nailed a last-second three-pointer to give the Longhorns a 67-64 win and a tie for second place. Like Sean Keeler of FoxSportsKansasCity.com said, “Gotta let it go.” There’s no shame in losing a close game on the road, but come Selection Sunday, Tuesday’s loss could be one that the Wildcats point to as one that cost them on the seed line.
  5. Bill Self likes toughness. He has noted that his favorite picture is from the 2008 Final Four against North Carolina, a snapshot where two Jayhawks (Darrell Arthur and Darnell Jackson) dive on the floor for a loose ball with both hands while the Tar Heels’ players brace themselves for the fall. So it’s no surprise that he loved Wayne Selden‘s dive into the stands to save a loose ball  — and eventually getting an assist — on Monday night against Baylor. “He gives us an air of toughness,” Self told Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. “Certainly when he’s going after the ball like that, we become a much better team because it’s contagious.”
Share this story

Big 12 M5: 01.22.14 Edition

Posted by Kory Carpenter on January 22nd, 2014

morning5_big12

  1. It’s true that Kansas has enough talent to win the national championship with subpar point guard play, but accomplishing such a feat would be really, really difficult. There are future NBA lottery picks all over the court for the Jayhawks, but junior point guard Naadir Tharpe may be more important than all of them come March. “The guys are looking to him as kind of a rock out there,” head coach Bill Self recently told Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. “Which maybe we weren’t doing early in the season. He’s getting his point across.” If Tharpe can sustain his recent steady play, it will go a long way towards Kansas making another deep tournament run.
  2. As John Shinn of the Tahlequa Daily Press points out, Oklahoma’s defense has picked up lately and it is showing in the win column. As an example, the Sooners gave up just 64 points in a two-point win over Baylor last Saturday. Oklahoma is 3-2 in the Big 12, and while the Sooners don’t look to be contenders for the conference regular season title, continued defensive intensity could give them a chance to win a game or two in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
  3. After losing three straight games over the course of a week-plus, the Iowa State players decided to have a good ol’ fashioned players-only meeting on Saturday. “It was just going over some film from the last couple games, seeing what we’ve been doing wrong and what we can actually work on as a unit,” Georges Niang told Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register. The schedule doesn’t ease up anytime soon, however, as the Cyclones’ next four games are against Kansas State, Kansas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
  4. It’s hard to argue with David Ubben of FoxSports.com about his piece on Marcus Smart earning a reputation as a flopper. Smart likes to flop. He loves to flop, actually. And as Ubben points out, he is too talented to flop. Flopping is for players who don’t otherwise have the skills to stay on the court. Smart is a lottery pick, but he looks ridiculous feigning that he was fouled excessively. After Wayne Selden’s phantom elbow to the face was scrutinized with the repetition of the Zapruder film, it will be interesting to see whether officials crack down on Smart’s acting jobs.
  5. Before the start of the 2011-12 season, Bob Huggins was asked about all the potential travel nightmares in the Big 12. The closest road trip in conference play was to Iowa State, a cool 871 miles away. Now, it’s not certain that those road trips (or more accurately, long jet trips) have affected the Mountaineers in a season and a half in the Big 12, but they have certainly struggled. This season, they have beaten TCU and Texas Tech but are a paltry 0-3 against the rest of the conference, and their tournament hopes appear to rest on making a surprise run through the Big 12 Tournament.
Share this story

Big 12 M5: 01.21.14 Edition

Posted by Kory Carpenter on January 21st, 2014

morning5_big12

  1. Ken Corbitt of the Topeka Capital-Journal has a good stat here about how well the Kansas State defense has played recently. The Wildcats are 14-4 overall, 4-1 in Big 12 play, and are #22 in the national rankings after beating West Virginia by 22 points on Saturday. Head coach Bruce Weber probably summed it up best when he told Corbitt: “If you guard people, it gives you a chance to win.”
  2. Last season wasn’t a fluke for West Virginia, it seems. The Mountaineers are firmly in the Big 12 cellar with Texas Tech and TCU after losing their last three games. They are 10-8 on the season and haven’t beaten anyone of note, unless you count the two aforementioned teams. Other than that, West Virginia is 0-7 against power conference schools this season.
  3. There is a reason Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith is considered a pretty good coach. His Red Raiders knocked off a ranked Baylor squad last week and have a decent chance to even up their Big 12 record at 3-3 on Wednesday when they travel to West Virginia. “We haven’t always played with the intelligence we should,” Smith told Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News. “But the majority of them have been through things, and the experience of playing in the Big 12 has been a big help.”
  4. Kansas freshman center Joel Embiid went from an unknown player from Cameroon to the potential No. 1 overall pick in next summer’s NBA Draft in the span of about 12 months. Even Self, who told Embiid he would be the top pick one day, didn’t think it would be so soon. “You’re going to be the No. 1 pick,” Self told Embiid (courtesy of Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star) “Now, it may not be this year, but you will be a No. 1 pick.” Self is right. It may not be this year. But don’t bet against it at this point. Embiid contributed 12 points, four rebounds, and a block in last night’s 78-68 win over Baylor. 
  5. If Oklahoma wants to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament and make a run in March, freshman guard Jordan Woodard playing well would go a long way toward that goal. As Ryan Aber of The Oklahoman points out, Woodard had a four to one assist-to-turnover ratio in the Sooners’ 66-64 win over Baylor on Saturday. “I think he knows that we have confidence in him,” sophomore forward Ryan Spangler told Aber.
Share this story

Big 12 M5: 01.20.14 Edition

Posted by Kory Carpenter on January 20th, 2014

morning5_big12

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
Share this story

Sports Illustrated’s Magic 8 and Where the Big 12 Stands

Posted by Kory Carpenter on January 15th, 2014

Luke Winn over at SI.com came out with his annual “Magic 8” article on Tuesday, giving us the group of eight schools from which the eventual national champion will hail. This year’s teams? Arizona, Wisconsin, Syracuse, Kentucky, Kansas, Florida, Iowa State, and Michigan State. Winn’s reasoning is rather simple: “Title teams always — not sometimes, always — have high-efficiency profiles on kenpom.com,” he said. Top 25 rankings are virtually meaningless. It’s hard to go wrong when trusting advanced metric profiles, though, and Winn has a pretty solid list of title contenders. Notably, two contenders — Kansas and Iowa State — could rise from the Big 12.

The Big 12 Comprises a Quarter of This Year's Magic 8

The Big 12 Comprises a Quarter of This Year’s Magic 8

Winn had this to say about the Jayhawks: “Embiid’s rim protection and Wiggins’ rebounding against Iowa State on Monday were incredible, and if they continue on this trajectory, they’ll have a title-caliber defense.” In their last two games, Kansas has held Kansas State and Iowa State to under one point per possession (0.94 and 0.89, respectively), and the Jayhawks by no coincidence have started looking like a Final Four-caliber team. Bill Self’s defense this year still isn’t up to the standards of his other teams or previous national champions, though. As Winn notes, the last 11 national champions have had on average a national defensive efficiency ranking of 8.5, and Kansas currently ranks 19th. If that number holds up, this would be the worst defensive team Self has coached at Kansas since 2004-05, when they finished the season as the 25th best defensive unit in the nation. As Winn said, it will come down to whether the Jayhawks can continue on their recent upward defensive trajectory. They have an elite shot-blocking presence down low in Joel Embiid, and length on the perimeter in Wiggins and Wayne Selden; they can become an elite defensive team, but they still have work to do to get there.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Four Takeaways From Kansas’ Win Over Oklahoma

Posted by Kory Carpenter on January 9th, 2014

It’s true that a team’s conference opener is never a “must-win game,” but the road to Kansas’ 10th straight Big 12 championship would have gotten a lot tougher had the Jayhawks lost at Oklahoma Wednesday evening. The Sooners aren’t bad at all, but with the next four Kansas games coming against Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Baylor, the Jayhawks’ hole in the conference race would have felt much bigger than 0-1. Alas, Kansas escaped with a 90-83 victory in Norman, improving to 10-4 on the year and showing some glimpses of their potential in March. Here are four key takeaways from last night’s win.

Wayne Selden had everything working against the Sooners. (AP)

Wayne Selden had everything working against the Sooners. (AP)

  1. Wayne Selden scored in double-figures for just the fifth time this season, finishing with a career-high 24 points and showing us why he is a projected first round draft pick in June. He was 5-of-10 from three-point range, and while it appeared to be a flukish shooting night (his three-point shooting on the season is at 37.5 percent), it should give him plenty of confidence going forward. The Jayhawks desperately need consistent long-range shooting to open up the lane for its drivers and big men, and Selden is as good a candidate as any. Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story

Big 12 M5: 12.20.13 Edition

Posted by Kory Carpenter on December 20th, 2013

morning5_big12

  1. Of course it is too early for bracketology to mean anything at this point, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to consider. Jerry Palm at CBSSports.com unveiled his latest version on Wednesday and six of the 10 Big 12 teams made the list. And while it looks like those six teams will eventually all make the Big Dance, it’s obvious that Palm’s prediction is what would happen if the season ended today. That’s because Kansas is a #5 seed, Oklahoma State topped the conference as a #2 seed, followed by #3 Baylor, #4 Iowa State, #9 Texas, and #12 Oklahoma.
  2. Texas had its biggest win of the season on Wednesday night against #14 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, improving their record to 10-1. And as C.L. Brown at ESPN.com points out, the Longhorns seemed to think they had plenty of doubters leading into Wednesday. And they were right. The schedule was weak up until that point, but Texas showed everyone that they could be serious contenders in the Big 12 by notching the huge road win. A win over #5 Michigan State Saturday would further cement that notion.
  3. Gary Parrish updated his Top 25 (And One) rankings on Thursday and the Big 12 is in pretty good shape. Baylor (#7), Oklahoma State (#8), Kansas (#13), and Iowa State (#16) made the cut this time around. Baylor and Iowa State should have no trouble winning their final five combined non-conference games, setting up a potential blockbuster top 10 match-up on January 7 in Ames.
  4. Kansas point guard Naadir Tharpe bounced back nicely after his demotion a few games into the season, returning to the starting lineup against New Mexico Saturday and finishing with nine assists and eight points in 37 minutes. He hasn’t been the most consistent or best point guard during his career, but he’s the only realistic option for this team if they intend on playing deep in March. Frank Mason, while talented, is still only a freshman and is learning how to effectively distribute the ball.
  5. If Texas Tech players had listened to their head coach, Tubby Smith, they might have completed their comeback against LSU Wednesday night in Lubbock. The Red Raiders shot just 36.4 percent from the field but had a chance to win the game with 10 seconds left. Robert Turner missed a last-second three-pointer to win the game giving LSU the victory, 71-69.. “It wasn’t drawn up that way,” Smith told Krista Pirtle. “But it was my fault. They didn’t practice it today, but we’ll practice it tomorrow.”
Share this story

Big 12 M5: 12.19.13 Edition

Posted by KoryCarpenter on December 19th, 2013

morning5_big12

  1. The headline says it all here in a story from Ken Corbitt of the Topeka Capital-Journal. Kansas State could make a statement with a win over #21 Gonzaga Saturday in Wichita. The Wildcats are 7-3 and beat Ole Miss at home earlier in the season, but they don’t look like an NCAA Tournament team right now and Shane Southwell is right. He called the game against Gonzaga a chance at a “tournament resume win,” and with a tough Big 12 schedule ahead, the Wildcats need all the help they can get.
  2. Not unlike dozens of other academic cases each season, West Virginia forward Jonathan Holton is waiting in limbo to see if he will be cleared to play this season. Head coach Bob Huggins originally said Holton would redshirt if the matter wasn’t resolved in a timely fashion, but Allan Taylor of West Virginia Metro News reported that Huggins is leaving the door open for Holton to play this season. Holton averaged 17.5 PPG and 14.1 RPG at junior college last season, so his promise is significant.
  3. Bill Self believes Memphis transfer and senior forward Tarik Black will break out of his funk soon after averaging a measly 2.8 PPG and 2.4 MPG so far this season. He began the year in the Jayhawks’ starting lineup but eventually lost the job to rising star Joel Embiid. Black can, however, become a valuable third big man if he improves over the next few months, and we’re not one to typically question Self on his prognostications about talent development.
  4. Oklahoma State led lowly Delaware State 30-16 at halftime Tuesday night, thanks to Delaware State’s strategy to hold the ball as long as possible to limit possessions. It worked for 20 minutes, but the Cowboys turned things up in the second half and eventually won, 75-43. Travis Ford’s halftime message, as told to John Helsley of the Oklahoman: “Guys, I don’t have a problem with your effort, but you’re not playing the way we’re capable of playing.” Thirty points against Delaware State at halftime? Talk about an understatement. 
  5. You’ve probably seen this clip by now, but it’s worth posting for the few readers who haven’t yet caught. It’s Southern Illinois head coach and former Kansas staffer Barry Hinson unloading on his team after another disappointing loss Tuesday. There are too many great phrases here to pick just one for you. Hinson spent nine seasons as the head coach at Missouri State before working as the Director of Basketball Operations at Kansas from 2010-12.
Share this story

Big 12 M5: 12.18.13 Edition

Posted by Kory Carpenter on December 18th, 2013

morning5_big12
  1. If anyone knows what North Carolina head coach Roy Williams is going through with respect to the suspensions of Leslie McDonald and P.J. Hairston, it is Texas head coach Rick Barnes. Last season, Texas guard Myck Kabongo was held out for the first 23 games of the season for a violation of NCAA rules, but it wasn’t until December 21 until Barnes even knew if Kabongo would play at all. This season, Williams and North Carolina sit in a similar state of semi-permanent limbo waiting for rulings on McDonald and Hairston. What exactly is the NCAA waiting on?
  2. Bill Self called his team’s passing so far this season “awful,” and he isn’t wrong. The Jayhawks have trouble in that department but thinks they are getting better as time goes on. “We’ve always played inside-out. I think we’ve been less effective doing that this year,” he told Jesse Newell of the Topeka Capital-Journal. Perhaps most frustrating for Self is that he has two guys — Naadir Tharpe and Wayne Selden — who can make as sweet of passes as you’ll see any player in the country make, but they’ll turn around and fail to make a simple post entry pass on the next play. Frustrating, indeed.
  3. Oklahoma is 10-1 this season and senior forward Tyler Neal has been one of the reasons for the Sooners’ early success. At 6’7”, Neal has played all over the court this season, wherever head coach Lon Kruger needs him. “I’ve always kind of had that thought process that the more positions you can play — the more you can help the team and when guys go down whatever happens, foul trouble or whatever — the more you can be out there,” he told Ryan Aber of The Oklahoman. Neal is averaging 6.2 PPG and 3.6 RPG for the Sooners thus far this year.
  4. If you’re a fan of West Virginia sports, you will have some downtime this month. The Mountaineers’ football team is done for the year, and as Dave Hickman of the Charleston Gazette points out, the basketball team plays just two games in a 20-day period. WVU beat Marshall in a nice win on Saturday, it plays Purdue on Sunday, and then Bob Huggins’ team has another week off before playing William and Mary on December 29.
  5. Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall wants to play Kansas. Bill Self, on the other hand, doesn’t want to play Wichita State. Marshall told reporters recently that he offered Kansas a three-game series with sites rotating between Lawrence, Kansas City, and Wichita. Bill Self said he’s never heard from Marshall on the subject. You can tell the two sides won’t be playing anytime soon. The Shockers got another impressive win last night on the road at Alabama and improved to 11-0. They are ranked #11 in the country and would give Kansas a great game, but playing Wichita State doesn’t make sense for Kansas right now and likely won’t make sense as long as Self is coaching.
Share this story

Making Big 12 Teams Better Before the Trade Deadline

Posted by Kory Carpenter (@Kory_Carpenter) on December 17th, 2013

When you consider high school recruiting and player transfers, college basketball already has its own form of free agency. But what if college hoops adopted another NBA mainstay and began trading its players back and forth, and what if the trade deadline was December 31, right before conference play begins? Here are a few such hypothetical trades that could help Big 12 teams improve heading into January. And no, Kansas State fans — you can’t trade Bruce Weber.

1. Texas forward Prince Ibeh for Oklahoma State guard Stevie Clark: The Longhorns are 160th in the country in three point shooting percentage at 34.0 percent. They have guards that can score off the dribble and have gotten good production out of big men Cameron Ridley and Jonathan Holmes, so sending Ibeh to Oklahoma State wouldn’t kill their frontcourt. Stevie Clark would immediately become their best perimeter three-point shooter and would help spread the floor with his 43 percent shooting from deep. Oklahoma State has enough scoring potential in its backcourt already with Marcus Smart, Phil Forte, Markel Brown and Le’Bryan Nash, and Ibeh would be the only player in the rotation over 6’8”, helping a small frontcourt match up against the bigger teams in the Big 12.

Stevie Clark

Stevie Clark Would Help the Longhorns’ Backcourt Significantly (NewsOK.com)

2. Oklahoma forward Ryan Spangler and guard Jordan Woodard  for West Virginia guard Juwan Staten. West Virginia is in the bottom half of the Big 12 in rebounds per game, rebound margin, defensive rebounds, rebounding percentage, and blocked shots. Spangler would give them 9.0 RPG, 1.4 BPG, and a 65.6 percent shooting rate, making him the Mountaineers’ best post player. And while Woodard isn’t on the same level as Staten, he is still averaging 11.9 PPG and 4.9 APG and would complement fellow guard Eron Harris well. For Oklahoma, the Sooners would then have three of the top seven scorers in the Big 12 in Cameron Clark, Buddy Hield, and Staten, which would represent a go-for-broke type of deal for the Sooners. Losing Spangler would kill any interior presence they had, but it would make them one of the best perimeter teams in the league. They already play faster than all but seven teams in the country, so why not add another high-scoring guard, push the tempo even more, and see what happens?

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story