Big 12 Alley-Oops and Airballs: Week Eleven

Posted by cwilliams on January 26th, 2012

Big 12 Alley-Oops and Airballs is a weekly article examining what’s hot and what’s not in Big 12 basketball.

Despite being self-proclaimed “experts” in the field of college basketball, me and my fellow hoops writers are often wrong. And that’s part of it — first, we predict that Texas A&M will be a threat to win the Big 12; then, we say Missouri’s hopeless without Laurence Bowers; and then, we are proven wrong. That’s part of the job. But whenever predictions pan out correctly, most pundits can’t help but pat themselves on the back. We at RTC Big 12 predicted that, despite the injuries, academic ineligibilities, and the effect of conference realignment, the Big 12 would be one of the best conferences in college basketball. With Missouri at #2 in the nation, Kansas at #6, and Baylor at #8, plus the impressive seasons so far by Iowa State and Kansas State, it appears as if we were spot on with that one.

Nice to Meet You, Mr. Nash. (Washingtonpost.com)

Alley-Oops

  • That’s Just Nash-ty: Nash has been under a microscope all season, and for good reason. Touted as one of the nation’s most talented freshmen, Le’Bryan was expected to not only compete for Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, but Big 12 Player of the Year too. So, naturally, he’s been a slight disappointment this season. Until last night. Oklahoma State hosted the #2 Missouri Tigers, hot off a huge road win at Baylor, and Le’Bryan went off, dropping 27 on the stunned Tigers.
  • Border War Hype:  No matter what the records of Kansas and Missouri are, the Border War will always be surrounded by a great deal of hype in the Midwest. But this season, the teams have skyrocketed the polls, now sitting at #2 and #6, respectively. The jawing between the fanbases has reached new highs, which is saying something because these guys already despise each other. Next Saturday, with ESPN’s College Gameday in town, Missouri will host Kansas, in what many are touting to be the Big 12 game of the season.
  • Taylor Made: Perhaps Tyshawn Taylor noted the public’s criticism. Or maybe he ignored it and knew his game would naturally come back. Either way, Taylor has been playing some stellar basketball as of late. His turnovers are down, his points are up, and he’s playing like the floor general Kansas needs. When Thomas Robinson and Taylor are in sync, I’m not sure anyone can stop them.
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Chuck Neinas, Big 12 Officials Offer Contradicting Statements

Posted by dnspewak on November 3rd, 2011

Chuck Neinas is the commissioner of the Big 12 Conference. The top dog. When he speaks, people listen. And we assume that his statements are the absolute truth.

"Neinas, Neinas, Neinas..." Says the Big 12 (AP/R. Matay)

So when Neinas said at a welcoming reception for West Virginia on Tuesday that the Mountaineers could only join his league if they did so by the 2012-13 season, it raised questions about the school’s ongoing lawsuit with the Big East. West Virginia wants to break its 27-month notification rule with the Big East, but the league isn’t backing down from the terms of its contract with the school. Without getting into all the legal mumbo-jumbo, the point is that WVU isn’t a shoe-in to join the Big 12 next summer. And Neinas said on Tuesday that West Virginia’s failure to join in 2012 would force the league to adjust.

“We needed a 10th member next season to fulfill our TV commitments. There’s an inventory that goes with a contract for TV, so we’ve got to be able to do that.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Big 12 Morning Five: Halloween Edition

Posted by cwilliams on October 31st, 2011

  1. Jayhawk fans received some frightening news on the eve of Halloween (see what I did there?) when Bill Self announced Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson will be suspended for Kansas’ two exhibition games. While Self mentioned they have been “terrific since school began,” he stated they broke a team rule that he had warned carried severe punishment. Kansas will still likely coast in these exhibition games, but in a season where there are more question marks for the Jayhawks than usual, this is not the best way for KU to start its season.
  2. Missouri defeated Missouri Southern 114-68, in the One State, One Spirit Classic, in Joplin, Missouri. But the outcome of the basketball game was the least important aspect of the event. Despite the Tigers winning the actual game, score this one a victory for the entire state. The game provided a two-hour distraction from a community still suffering from a F5 tornado that devastated the entire city. What a way for the Big 12 college hoops season to kick off.
  3. Legendary Oklahoma and Oklahoma State play-by-play announcer  Bob Barry, Sr., passed away on Sunday. Barry began his announcing career at Norman High School, where his unique voice and dynamic personality made him a local legend, and caught the eye of Oklahoma’s head football coach Bud Wilkinson, who eventually hired him for Oklahoma athletics. Barry, Sr., did basketball play-by-play for both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. OU President David Boren stated that Barry was “loved by Oklahomans across the state.” Rest in peace, Mr. Barry, and our thoughts and condolences are with your family.
  4. NewsOK.com has an article up stating that the Big 12 is not yet done with expansion, despite conference commisioner Chuck Neinas stating they were. Also, he goes on to say “don’t count out Louisville to Big 12 just yet”, and calls Neinas’ claim that the Big 12 has not considered expanding to 12 “utter nonsense.” If any of these allegations are true, one thing is for sure: Big 12 basketball would have another fantastic team in its conference.
  5. One of the more cleverly named college basketball websites, searchingforbillyedelin.com, has come out with their Big 12 preview. The article discusses how the Big 12 title is up in the air, and it’s attainability is realistic for almost every Big 12 squad. Also, they discuss how the Big 12′s recruits are getting better and more prestigious each year, especially at Kansas and Texas.
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Morning Five: 09.22.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on September 22nd, 2011

  1. A couple of top prospects made their college choices within the last couple of days and the rich keep getting richer. On Tuesday night, Kentucky opened its account within the 2012 class when 6’4”, 180-pound shooting guard Archie Goodwin tweeted his intent to be a Wildcat. It was Perry Ellis‘ turn on Wednesday, and the 6’8”, 220-pound forward chose Kansas, citing Bill Self’s knack for getting the most out of his Jayhawk bigs as motivation for heading to Lawrence. Goodwin is ranked 13th overall and Ellis is 37th in the ESNPU 100 class of 2012 rankings. Ellis was also the first ranked recruit to commit to Kansas from that class, but it goes without saying that neither program is finished mining its talent.
  2. Oklahoma took some heat for the ultimatum it gave to the Big 12 on Tuesday, claiming that it would stay in the conference if, among other demands, some restrictions were placed on exactly what Texas’ Longhorn Network could show, and if current Big 12 commish Dan Beebe was removed. Nobody (including us) bought it as a good-faith negotiating tactic, but it turns out that OU might be getting at least part of what it wants. Evidently Oklahoma isn’t the only school that would welcome Beebe’s ouster, and the most recent word is that the presidents of the conference’s member institutions are having a conference call (no pun intended) tomorrow that will determine the future of the Big 12, beginning with the removal of Beebe and the installment of former Big 8 commissioner Chuck Neinas as the new boss.
  3. Last week, when people who follow college sports weren’t talking about conference realignment, they were talking about the piece that appeared in The Atlantic by essayist and historian Taylor Branch entitled “The Shame Of College Sports.” The 14,573-word diatribe against the NCAA was lauded by almost everyone as a stinging polemic, to say the least, and an utter rout for Branch. CBS’ Seth Davis, however, took Branch and his essay to task yesterday, charging Branch with basing his whole article on a faulty premise and conveniently leaving out obvious counterpoints. We provided a CliffsNotes version of the Branch essay, and we highly recommend you check out Davis’ response, too, linked above.
  4. Rick Pitino had a chat with ESPN’s Andy Katz yesterday in which the Louisville coach predicted that the Big East would survive Realignment ’11, that the conference would add two service acadamies (football only) by the end of the week, it would still remain one of the strongest basketball conferences in the land, and that he is “happy with Big East basketball.” Pitino has a gift for spin that makes even the most skilled of lobbyists envious, but he’s probably right about the Big East staying strong. Obviously it won’t be what it once was if Syracuse and Pittsburgh follow through with their departures, but as far as basketball power, assuming Rutgers and Connecticut leave and Notre Dame and West Virginia stay, you’d have those two programs plus Louisville, Marquette, Georgetown, Cincinnati, Villanova, and St. John’s, all NCAA Tournament teams last year.
  5. We bet you can win a few bar bets — though your chances of success increase dramatically if you’re outside the state of Michigan — on one of the great riddles in college basketball: who was Michigan State’s only three-time basketball all-American? Hint: he was a point guard. Your sucker will probably pounce at the chance to answer “Magic Johnson!” and expect to relieve you of your cash, but he’d be wrong. Magic was a two-time AA as a Spartan (because he only played two years). It’s a Flintstone named Mateen Cleaves who holds that honor, and today he will be inducted into Michigan State University’s Athletics Hall of Fame. Despite feeling as humbled and honored as you’d expect, the 34-year old Cleaves told Eric Woodyard of the Flint Journal and MLive.com, “It does make me feel old that I’m entering the hall of fame.” No comment.
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