Big 12 M5: 11.18.15 Edition

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 18th, 2015


  1. The Champions Classic hasn’t been very kind to Kansas over the years, and while last night’s loss to Michigan State was very different than the blowout suffered at the hands of Kentucky last year, it was a frustrating night just the same. While coughing up a double-figure lead is never a good look, especially when a team bricks as many close shots as Kansas did, there are two sides of the coin to analyze here. Michigan State went 5-of-7 from deep over the last eight minutes of the game and 6-of-6 from the line to close it out. Before long, we’ll delve into things like Bill Self‘s suspect in-game adjustments and Wayne Selden‘s continuing struggle to sway his doubters, but it’s okay to give Michigan State a little credit. I promise.
  2. After getting taken to the brink by Colorado during the season opener but still coming away with a win, Iowa State had an easier time with its second opponent on Monday, handling Chicago State by a score of 106-64. Jameel McKay led the way for the Cyclones with a career-high 25 points, but despite his big night, head coach Steve Prohm decided to burn the redshirt of 6’9″ freshman Brady Ernst in order to provide his big man with some help. While Abdel Nader‘s performance in the early going (15.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.5 BPG) suggests that he could be an answer inside, that notion becomes much more questionable once you look at the better teams the Cyclones are going to face when conference play rolls around. The reality is that if Iowa State is going to capitalize on the potential of the most talented roster they’ll have for the next few years, they’ll need better interior defense. Even though it’s tough to gauge how big an impact Ernst will have as a freshman who’s also coming off an ACL tear, prioritizing the short-term potential of the team over the long-term potential of Ernst individually seems like the right move for Prohm to make.
  3. Buddy Hield‘s NPOY campaign is off to a roaring start, as the Sooners’ senior went for 30 points (including some key free throws) in Oklahoma’s impressive season-opening win at Memphis. Hield showed an impressive all-around game by also chipping in eight rebounds, three assists and three steals to go along with his big scoring evening. Another positive development for Lon Kruger‘s team was the contribution from freshman Dante Buford. With Khadeem Latti struggling, Buford came off the bench to haul in eight rebounds and swat a pair of shots, showing the kind of activity around the rim that could make him a solution to Oklahoma’s questions inside.
  4. Baylor point guard Lester Medford had a rough go of it in the Bears’ loss to Oregon, doing very little to inspire confidence that he can fill Kenny Chery’s shoes as a competent floor general. Medford committed six turnovers and shot a rusty 1-of-6 from the floor while the Ducks’ hot shooting was too much for Baylor to overcome. In fairness, playing a good team late at night over 2,000 miles away from your home campus is a tall order for anyone, but this situation will be one to monitor during the first month of the season.
  5. The jury will be out on Kansas State for a while this season, but things are going about as well as can be expected for now. Just three days after dominating Maryland-Eastern Shore, Bruce Weber‘s team beat Ivy League contender Columbia at Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats led comfortably for most of the second half and buried 8-of-10 free throws down the stretch to close out the game. Kansas State’s first big test will come next Tuesday when the Wildcats will play either Northwestern or North Carolina on the second night of the CBE Classic in Kansas City.
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Big 12 M5: Opening Day Edition

Posted by Nate Kotisso on November 8th, 2013


  1. Big 12 and college basketball fans alike: rejoice. Just days before the 2013 edition of the Champions Classic tip-off, ESPN announced that Kansas, Kentucky, Duke and Michigan State will continue the doubleheader series until at least 2016. For the last couple of years (and of course, Tuesday’s blockbuster), the Champions Classic has been the perfect nightcap to an awesome day of college hoops. As far as the next three years will shake out for Kansas, they’ll face Kentucky in 2014, Michigan State in 2015 and Duke in 2016. Did I forget to mention that today’s opening day? The news lately has been prettay, prettay, prettay, prettay good.
  2. Good news on the Oklahoma recruiting front as the Sooners received a commitment from top 150 prospect Dante Buford. A three-star prospect from Arlington Country Day in Florida, Buford commanded offers from the likes of Miami, SMU, USC, Memphis and South Carolina. The news of Buford’s pledge comes two weeks after fellow 2014 big man Khadeem Lattin committed to Lon Kruger’s program despite holding offers from Georgetown, Arizona and Memphis, among many others. The Sooners may be stretched thin for big men this year, but fret not, help is on the way to Norman!
  3. Let’s be honest, expectations for Texas this season aren’t very high. But Burnt Orange Nation argues if the Longhorns are to surprise, it will come down to the play of their four big men. Those players — Cameron Ridley, Jonathan Holmes, Prince Ibeh and Connor Lammert — struggled mightily in certain areas during their freshmen (sophomore for Holmes) campaigns, but the opportunity for growth is still great. Ridley is a physical freak, Holmes led the team in rebounds, Lammert’s shooting ability came to light when he started games late in the year, and Ibeh was second on the team in blocks behind Ridley. If they make serious strides in all of these areas, 2014-15 may look quite a bit better than you think right now.
  4. Kansas freshman Brannen Greene was rushed to Lawrence Memorial Hospital after taking a hit to the midsection during practice. It wasn’t anything serious as Greene was taken there for precautionary reasons and released shortly thereafter. Head coach Bill Self still believes Greene will see action in tonight’s season opener against Louisiana-Monroe. What we learned from this: Self is a tough coach, his players are tough, Kansas is still predicted to win the league, and water is wet. Man they’re so good.
  5. Move over Cameron Crazies: the hottest, coolest and newest student section in college basketball is the Purple Haze at TCU. The TCU Student Basketball Committee announced the name for the student section last week and members of said student section will have opportunities regular students won’t have. Head coach Trent Johnson said “The Haze” (feel free to use the nickname, TCU) will interact and build relationships with players. A point system has also been established that would enable two “Hazers” (you can use that too) who loyally attend home and away games who accumulate the most points will win two tickets to attend the 2014 Final Four at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Sounds like a sweet gig if you can get it.
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