SEC Coaches and RTC Staff Select All-SEC Teams

Posted by KAlmekinder on November 9th, 2012

The college hoops season is underway today and there were still a few preseason lists left to be voted upon. The SEC coaches selected their first and second team all-SEC squads earlier at the SEC Headquarters in Birmingham. Ten different schools were represented in the process, with Tennessee leading with three selections. Arkansas, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Florida were represented with two selections apiece. The results can be found below.

Jeronne Maymon is one of three Volunteers represented on the preseason Coaches’ All-Conference squads.

First-Team All-SEC
Name, School Pos. Ht. Wt. Class Hometown
Trevor Releford, Alabama G 6-0 195 Jr. Kansas City, Mo.
B.J. Young, Arkansas G 6-3 180 So. St. Louis, Mo.
Kenny Boynton, Florida G 6-2 190 Sr. Pompano Beach, Fla.
Patric Young, Florida C 6-9 249 Jr. Jacksonville, Fla.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia G 6-5 205 So. Greenville, Ga.
Nerlens Noel, Kentucky F 6-10 228 Fr. Everett, Mass.
Phil Pressey, Missouri G 5-11 175 Jr. Dallas, Texas
Jeronne Maymon, Tennessee F 6-7 260 Sr. Madison, Wis.
Second-Team All-SEC
Name, School Pos. Ht. Wt. Class Hometown
Marshawn Powell, Arkansas F 6-7 240 Jr. Newport News, Va.
Alex Poythress, Kentucky F 6-7 239 Fr. Clarksville, Tenn.
Johnny O’Bryant III, LSU F 6-9 256 So. Cleveland, Miss.
Reginald Buckner, Ole Miss F 6-9 225 Sr. Memphis, Tenn.
Murphy Holloway, Ole Miss F 6-7 240 Sr. Irmo, S.C.
Trae Golden, Tennessee G 6-1 205 Jr. Powder Springs, Ga.
Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee F 6-8 270 So. Memphis, Tenn.
Elston Turner, Texas A&M G 6-5 212 Sr. Sacramento. Calif.

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Pac-12 M5: The Halloween Edition

Posted by KDanna on October 31st, 2012

  1. Happy Halloween, everyone. Arizona will treat its fans to an exhibition against Humboldt State tonight at the McKale Center. Exhibitions are usually for the die-hards, but probably more than a few casual fans will make their way over to the Tucson campus to catch a glimpse of the third-ranked recruiting class in action for the first time against somebody other than themselves. One question surrounding this class is whether it will be able to live up to the hype better than last year’s class. Remember how highly touted the trio of Nick Johnson, Josiah Turner and Angelo Chol were? All signs point to Grant Jerrett, Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley  and Gabe York as able to deliver in a bigger way this season, but one can never be 100 percent certain until they perform in a game. This contest will also provide Wildcat supporters with a first look at point guard Mark Lyons in an Arizona uniform, as the mercurial senior averaged 15 points per game last year at Xavier. It’s also worth mentioning that the Wildcats lost their exhibition opener last year to Seattle Pacific, but I find it hard to believe that a similar result will be produced against Humboldt State on this night.
  2. The NCAA approved tougher sanctions against those programs and coaches who buck the NCAA law. A couple of the more striking provisions are that NCAA violators who are found to be in “serious breach of conduct” could potentially suffer similar punishments to the one handed out to the Penn State football team (a four-year postseason ban and a $60 million fine). Also, if an assistant coach commits a serious violation, the head coach must be able to prove that he or she was unaware of the assistant’s actions; if not, the head coach could be suspended for anywhere from 10 percent to the entire season. All changes will go into effect starting August 1, 2013. While the coaches who are quoted in the various articles seem to be largely in favor of these tougher sanctions, it obviously still remains to be seen how effective these changes will be. As has been the case throughout history, cheaters will find a way to continue their cheating ways. Hopefully these tougher penalties will accomplish the NCAA’s and everyone’s goal of a markedly cleaner collegiate athletics scene.
  3. Another day, another CBS Sports list. On Tuesday, it was the top 50 shooters in the country, a list that made space for three current Pac-12 players: Washington’s C.J. Wilcox (No. 11), California’s Allen Crabbe (No. 12) and Stanford’s Chasson Randle (No. 41). Additionally, former Husky and current Texas A&M Aggie Elston Turner made the cut at No. 19. No real gripes here, but perhaps Aaron Bright was also deserving of a nod, especially considering his play during the 2012 NIT, a five-game run that earned him NIT Most Outstanding Player honors. What’s noteworthy with this list is that 35 of the 50 players come from non-power conference schools, including representatives from Texas Pan-American and Texas Southern. For those not curious enough to check out the list, former Razorback-turned-Butler Bulldog Rotnei Clarke holds down the top spot.
  4. Earlier this week, ESPN.com’s Eamonn Brennan released his top 10 rebounders in the country, and Colorado’s André Roberson topped the list. We’re probably a little biased here at the Pac-12 microsite because we get to see Roberson play so often, but there’s no faulting Brennan for this selection. Roberson is an elite rebounder thanks to his hops, long arms and overall very high basketball IQ. There were spots during last year’s Pac-12 Tournament where Roberson looked like a future lottery pick, especially when he started to knock down a few threes. He certainly has that kind of upside, and big things are expected again of the only guy in the Pac-12 to average a double-double last season. There were no freshmen in Brennan’s top 10, but Kaleb Tarczewski and Grant Jerrett of Arizona both made his “freshmen to watch” mentions.
  5. Lastly, the Pac-12 announced its talent lineup for the Pac-12 Networks’ men’s basketball coverage for the upcoming season. Headlined by Bill Walton, other analysts include Don MacLean, Ernie Kent, Lenny Wilkens and Detlef Schrempf. The play-by-play lineup doesn’t necessarily include as many big names, but all are very good broadcasters and will not disappoint viewers. The most famous of the play-by-play guys is probably Ted Robinson, a two-time Emmy winner who has done just about every sport imaginable. Overall, it’s a very intriguing lineup of broadcasters and it should keep Pac-12 Networks broadcasts for men’s basketball entertaining.
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Nothing Says Team-Building Like 5 AM Runs With the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets

Posted by Brian Joyce on October 23rd, 2012

Texas A&M welcomes seven newcomers to its team and was picked to finish ninth in its first SEC preseason media poll on Monday, but don’t expect the Aggies to go down without a fight. Coach Billy Kennedy’s squad didn’t usher in the new year with a celebratory “Madness” practice last week, but the Aggies did go straight to work. The team hit the streets of campus to participate in 5 AM workouts with the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, as seen in the video below:

Kennedy knows that A&M has a long way to go to become competitive in the SEC. The Aggies finished at the bottom of the Big 12 last season with a 4-14 conference mark. A big key to A&M’s turnaround will be seniors Ray Turner and Elston Turner, and Kennedy expects a lot from his team leaders this season. “We need those guys to have great years on and off the court from a leadership standpoint,” Kennedy said. “They’ve been solid, but I would like for them to give a little bit more leadership. … You look at our team and those two guys are the only two that have legitimate Division I experience.”

Texas A&M plays an exhibition on November 3 against Incarnate Word and opens up the season on November 9 with Louisiana Tech. The Aggies’ first taste of the SEC will come Wednesday, January 9 against Arkansas in Reed Arena in College Station. Perhaps these early morning bonding and team-building experiences will pay off for this inexperienced group come SEC play.

Brian Joyce is a writer for the SEC microsite and regular contributor for Rush The Court. Follow him on Twitter for more about SEC basketball at bjoyce_hoops.

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SEC M5: 10.22.12 Edition

Posted by DPerry on October 22nd, 2012

  1. After the 2009-10 season, high-scoring Rutgers guard Mike Rosario was one of the top prizes of the transfer market. He committed to play for Billy Donovan at Florida, but largely disappointed in his debut campaign with the Gators. How can he ensure a bounce-back year? Consistency. Says Donovan, “His biggest issue – and No. 1 issue – is inconsistency. And not only on the court; everywhere he’s inconsistent”. With the departures of Bradley Beal and Erving Walker leaving the backcourt thin, Florida can’t afford another season of Rosario providing few minutes and low shooting percentages. Motivating a player through public comments isn’t ideal, but if Rosario takes the message to heart, he has the potential to be a dangerous scoring threat off the Florida bench.
  2. Donovan isn’t the only coach counting on a senior guard to come up big. Skylar McBee was a pleasant surprise in coach Cuonzo Martin’s first season, nearly doubling his minutes and scoring totals, and the Tennessee coach expects his role to expand even more. The Volunteers enter the season with high expectations based primarily on a potentially dominant frontcourt, but Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon will need quality shooting from deep to carve out the kind of space they need. Several candidates will be competing for playing time in the backcourt beside point guard Trae Golden, and McBee’s stroke should earn him a plenty of minutes.
  3. After leading Missouri to a 30-5 record and scooping up multiple national coach of the year awards, you might think Frank Haith would be a little cocky heading into the new season. Think again. In front of a crowd of alumni and boosters last week, Haith did his best to temper expectations, pointing out that the Tigers only return two key contributors from last year’s team. Missouri could struggle early as Haith works to assemble all his new parts, but with All-America candidate Phil Pressey manning the point, don’t be surprised if the adjustment period is brief.
  4. Texas A&M kicked off its season Friday with the annual Maroon & White scrimmage. The Aggie faithful saw freshman point guard J’Mychal Reese put up 15 points in the game, while Elston Turner and Ray Turner chipped in with 14 apiece. Coach Billy Kennedy’s team enters the SEC without a lot of hype, but A&M should be significantly improved from last year. The Turners (no relation) should serve as the two main offensive threats, and if the talented Reese can provide some scoring punch from the point, a finish in the top half of the league is an attainable goal.
  5. Willie Cauley-Stein was the least-hyped member of coach John Calipari’s uber-recruiting class, but after posterizing Nerlens Noel at Midnight Madness, the 7-footer has developed quite a buzz. According to reports, that momentum is carrying over into practice. The former high school wide receiver is showing soft hands and an ability to run the floor. Noel, a more polished defender, will see more playing time, but Cauley-Stein should get his fair share, forming an especially imposing frontline when they’re on the court together.
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SEC Transition Basketball: Texas A&M Aggies

Posted by Brian Joyce on September 6th, 2012

Let’s finish these off this week with the last few of what we’re calling it Transition Basketball, an offseason look at each of the 14 SEC basketball programs. Today’s update: Texas A&M.

State of the Program

Billy Kennedy’s first season in College Station came with high expectations. The Aggies were on a roll, making the NCAA Tournament in the previous five seasons, with junior Khris Middleton back to lead the way along with seniors David Loubeau and Dash Harris. Texas A&M was a consensus top 25 pick in the preseason, and a popular choice to finish in the top echelon of the Big 12 with national powerhouses Kansas, Baylor, and Missouri. However, the popular pick isn’t always the right pick. Mark Turgeon left the cupboard fully stocked with athleticism and experience, but after an 8-1 start, the Aggies fell flat the rest of the way going 6-17 the remainder of the season. Bad fortune struck the Aggies when 6’9″ forward Kourtney Roberson went down in late December with an ankle injury and freshman Jamal Branch decided mid-season that he wanted to transfer to St. Johns. Harris and Middleton were both slowed by injuries. Unfortunately for A&M fans, even with a little luck on their side, it’s not likely the team’s win column will improve drastically in its first season in the SEC.

Kennedy can’t afford another disappointing effort in College Station

Though three key pieces (Middleton, Loubeau, and Harris) from last year are gone, several role players could step up to fill those roles. There is promise down low in 6’9″ forwards Ray Turner (9.1 PPG and 5.5 RPG) and Roberson (4.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG) who is back along with a bill of good health after he was granted a medical hardship for his injury last season. 6’5″ guard Elston Turner scored a solid 13.8 points per game in his first year in College Station and will likely need to score with even more efficiency this year for the Ags to be successful. But is that enough for Kennedy’s club to make significant improvement?

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Checking In On… The Big 12 Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on February 20th, 2012

Steve Fetch is the RTC correspondent for the Big 12. You can also find his musings online at Rock Chalk Talk or on Twitter @fetch9.

Reader’s Take

 

The Week That Was

  • Baylor Falls At Home: Baylor had only lost conference games to Kansas and Missouri, but that changed with a one-point loss at home against Kansas State. Despite Wildcat freshman Angel Rodriguez traveling on an easy layup, Baylor could not win on its last possession when freshman Quincy Miller missed a shot with just seconds left. Baylor didn’t score in the final two minutes of the game, and had a couple of possessions marred by some physical play that went uncalled. The loss drops the Bears into a tie with Iowa State for third in the league.
  • Can The Jayhawks Make A Deep Run?: One of the tenets in picking a national champion is finding a team that is ranked in the KenPom top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency. At this point, only two teams meet these criteria: Kentucky and Kansas. The Jayhawks are tenth in adjusted offense and fourth in adjusted defense, giving them the ability to play with any team in the nation. Though its offense has been concentrated in Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor (and lately Jeff Withey), the Jayhawks have good defenders all over the floor, which is exactly how Bill Self likes it. Considering the perception of Kansas coming into the season after losing the Morris twins, Self’s team has come a long way.
  • A Banner Day In Stillwater: Oklahoma State’s Keiton Page had the game of his career, scoring a career-high 40 points in a win over Texas. Page was efficient from the field, going 4-6 from two and 4-8 from three, but he was fantastic from the line, getting to the charity stripe 20 times and making every last one. Page’s shooting percentages have dropped a bit this year as he’s had to take a more active role in the offense, but Saturday was a reminder of what shooting skill the senior has.

Phil Pressey And The Tigers Keep Their Eyes On The Prize As They Battle Kansas In Lawrence This Saturday. (US Presswire)

Power Rankings

  1. Missouri (25-2, 12-2): Missouri has the best offense in the country (by a good margin), but its defense has been just mediocre. The Tigers are now fourth in the Big 12 in defensive efficiency, and have allowed over a point per possession in five of their last six games. Hosting a Kansas State team that struggles to score should give Frank Haith’s crew an opportunity to tighten up its defense.
  2. Kansas (18-5, 8-2): Kansas has never lost to Texas Tech in Allen Fieldhouse, winning this year’s edition by 33 points. Four Jayhawks scored in double figures, including Conner Teahan, who made three of his five threes, which is a huge key for the Jayhawks if they want to advance far in the NCAA Tournament. Probably the player who most delighted the home crowd, though, was walk-on Jordan Juenemann, who scored a career-high 7 points in the waning minutes. Read the rest of this entry »
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Pac-12 Morning Five: 01.25.12 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on January 25th, 2012

  1. The Faisal Aden Explosion (I’m pretty sure that was a British invasion band, right?) still has Washington State fans buzzing several days later. Back before conference play, Jeff Nusser at CougCenter wrote an excellent piece on the harm that Aden’s bombs-away philosophy on offense was doing to the Cougars’ chance. Yesterday we got his reaction to Aden’s weekend outburst, in which he points out that the player we saw this weekend clearly has stolen the identity of the guy we used to know as Faisal Aden. Or, barring that likelihood, he’s at least changed his game drastically. Going back to the Washington game, Aden has earned trips to the free throw line at a far greater rate and he has dialed back his attempts from behind the three-point line drastically. It will be interesting to see if Aden can keep it up this weekend.
  2. A couple weeks after being dismissed from the Arizona State basketball team, Keala King has landed at Long Beach State. According to his Twitter feed, his first day on campus was yesterday, meaning he should be eligible to play at the end of the fall semester next year for the 49ers, near where he grew up in Southern California.  Given LBSU’s track record of playing any and all comers from anywhere around the country, you haven’t seen the last of King.
  3. In the wake of yet another Pac-12 dismissal, freshman Kareem Storey has taken over as the point guard at Utah. When head coach Larry Krystkowiak dismissed senior point Josh Watkins, he was left with little choice but to hand over the keys to the Ute offense to Storey. And while Storey’s numbers have gone up with the increased playing time (he’s averaging 10.7 points and six assists per game in the three games he has started in Watkins’ absence), Krystkowiak still sees plenty of room for improvement. Nevertheless, the fact that Utah is now spending the rest of this year giving Storey more experience and building him up for next year instead of throwing minutes at a problem child who was going to be gone next year anyway, means this program is officially building for the future now.
  4. Another freshman guard is making a big impact at the other new Pac-12 school this year, as tiny Askia Booker has jumped right into his role as Colorado’s sixth man. Head coach Tad Boyle was the only coach at a power conference school to offer Booker a scholarship, and Booker keeps a chip on his shoulder over that perceived slight with a special grudge held for his hometown school and one of this weekend’s opponents, UCLA. Booker participated in open gym sessions at UCLA and made his interest in playing for the Bruins apparent, but despite helping his team to a state title as a junior, Booker couldn’t turn any heads in Westwood, a decision that looks like yet another questionable personnel decision from Ben Howland’s staff.
  5. Washington is sitting as 12-7 on the season and 5-2 in conference play, numbers that are not sitting well with a lot of Husky fans. At Husky Haul, Jeff Taylor says that despite some of the bad breaks that the Washington program has had to deal with this year, the blame for the Huskies’ mediocrity lies squarely on Lorenzo Romar and some of the bad decisions he has made in previous recruiting classes. Taylor kills Romar for Charles Garcia’s inability to get eligible at Washington, for Elston Turner and Clarence Trent transferring, for not pursuing guys like Jamaal Franklin (who wound up at San Diego State) and Joe Eberhard (who went to Sacramento State). Honestly, there’s obviously some blame to be laid at Romar’s feet (he is, after all, the head coach – the buck stops there), but these several points seem to be stretches, especially when the team’s defensive struggles and chemistry problems seem to be much easier targets. But, it is still an interesting read, and the comments afterward go a long way towards capturing the feeling of frustration in the Husky fan base. And all this for a team that is currently only a half game out of first place in the conference!
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Set Your TiVo: 01.23.12

Posted by Brian Otskey on January 23rd, 2012

Brian Otskey is the Big East correspondent for RTC and a regular contributor. You can find him @botskey on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.

Syracuse has a quick turnaround on the road after losing to Notre Dame on Saturday. Can Cincinnati make it two straight losses for the Orange? Rankings are subject to change with a new RTC Top 25 coming out today.

#1 Syracuse @ Cincinnati – 7:00 PM EST on ESPN (****)

  • After suffering a surprising first loss at Notre Dame on Saturday, Syracuse is back in action 48 hours later on the road against one of the hottest teams in the Big East. Cincinnati would tie Syracuse in the loss column with a win, becoming one of six teams with two losses. How do the Orange avoid that fate? It’s simpler than you might think. Shoot the ball better (34% vs. ND) and defend at a high level. Even without Fab Melo in the lineup, Syracuse has much more depth than Cincinnati. Good guard play out of Scoop Jardine and Dion Waiters will be important for the Orange. Cincinnati will look to slow the pace and make this game a half court battle. Syracuse needs to rebound the ball well and get out and run at every chance. Waiters adds that spark off the bench for Jim Boeheim but Jardine has to take care of the basketball and move the ball well in half court situations.

    With Fab Melo Out, Will Cincinnati Find It Easier In The Paint ?

  • The Bearcats are 5-2 in the Big East and this would obviously be a monumental win for their NCAA Tournament resume. With no Melo, Cincinnati will find it a bit easier to get shots off around the basket as well as to rebound. Cincinnati is ranked a paltry #228 in two-point percentage but Yancy Gates could be the key guy for Mick Cronin. Cincinnati shoots a lot of threes and opportunities will be plentiful against the 2-3 Syracuse zone. If the threes aren’t falling, Gates needs to be there to clean the boards and finish the second opportunities. Without Melo anchoring the paint, Syracuse, already vulnerable on the defensive glass to begin with, could really struggle to keep Gates off the backboards. Sean Kilpatrick shoots 39.4% from deep for a team that gets over a third of its points from beyond the arc. If the Bearcats aren’t shooting the ball well over the zone, it’s lights out for Cincinnati. To get quality shots against the zone, the ball must be moved to the free throw line area. If Cronin rotates players like Kilpatrick back and forth from the three point line to the foul line, Cincinnati should be able to get quite a few open looks.
  • One thing Cincinnati must be careful of is long rebounds off of missed threes. That can lead to easy transition buckets for Waiters and the Orange, increasing the pace to a level Cronin doesn’t want to see. The Bearcats must slow the game down, protect the ball and get back in transition. Cincinnati has not defended all that well in Big East play but it must tonight in order to pull the upset. Keep an eye on the turnover margin. Cincinnati does a fabulous job of ball protection with Cashmere Wright running the point but Syracuse may be the best team in the nation at forcing steals and turnovers to fuel its transition attack. If Cincinnati shoots well and keeps control of the ball, the Bearcats will be in this game to the end with a chance to hand Syracuse its second consecutive loss.
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Big 12 Weekend Primer

Posted by dnspewak on January 21st, 2012

For the second time in less than a week, all eyes will be on the Big 12. Missouri and Baylor, both ranked in the top-five, will square off in Waco on Saturday afternoon in college basketball’s prime matchup. Elsewhere, Oklahoma will look to win its third straight game as it heads to College Station, while Kansas will renew its rivalry with Texas in Austin.

GAME OF THE WEEKEND

  • Missouri at Baylor, Saturday, 1:05 p.m. CT (ESPN)

Baylor Will Look to Celebrate Again When it Hosts Missouri(AP/C. Riedel)

The Ferrell Center will host two top five opponents for the first time on Saturday, and it’s not a stretch to say this may be the most important home game in Baylor history. Now in his ninth season, it’s amazing that Scott Drew has built a program prestigious enough to play a game with this kind of national attention. His Bears have not lost at home this season, and Missouri’s only loss came on the road at Kansas State. The Tigers quieted the critics a bit by winning at Iowa State, but they did not look comfortable in Manhattan and fell out of contention in that game immediately. Kansas State’s physical bigs held Ricardo Ratliffe to just one field goal attempt, forcing him into foul trouble and taking him out of the game entirely. And here’s the bad news for Missouri: The Bears’ big men are even more athletically intimidating. Ratliffe and Steve Moore are the only two scholarship forwards on this Missouri roster, but they’ll have to somehow deal with Perry Jones, Quincy Miller and Quincy Acy, not to mention players like Cory Jefferson and Anthony Jones off the bench. If you’re counting, that’s five players taller than 6’7”, and most of them can dunk like they’re playing with a Fisher Price basket. The Tigers simply cannot compete with that kind of size. Perhaps we’ll see a lot of 2-3 zone out of Frank Haith, something he’s not opposed to doing. In fact, Missouri has zoned opponents on many occasions this season, and it’s been effective at times. The problem is, Baylor has the guards this year to deal with any kind of defense. Brady Heslip can burn teams who pay too much attention to the paint, and Pierre Jackson has changed the entire dynamic of this team with his ballhandling, penetration and passing skills. If Heslip can knock down some shots and Baylor dominates the paint, this game could be over by halftime. However, the Bears have trouble holding on to the ball sometimes, and they also did not play very well defensively in a loss to Kansas on Monday. Also, while Missouri may not have played very well in Manhattan, Waco is hardly the same environment. Yes, it’s an enormous game this weekeend. The crowd will not be weak, not by any means. But they don’t make many places like Bramlage Coliseum, and MU has never played well there. It won in Ames, and it should not be taken lightly on the road at the Ferrell Center.

The key individual matchup is… Missouri’s guards against Baylor’s forwards. Missouri is mismatched with every single team it plays. That’s just what happens when you start four guards. Against Baylor, though, that mismatched is magnified. The Bears start Jones, Acy and Miller on the frontline, and they almost always have three bigs on the floor at the same time. Missouri rarely even has both Ratliffe and Moore in the game at the same time. In fact, it’s be physically impossible for the Tigers to play three forwards unless they inserted walk-on Andy Rosburg or former football player Andrew Jones, and that’s not going to happen. But Missouri has compensated all year for this lack of size. On Saturday, it’ll be especially important for Marcus Denmon to try to take advantage of his favorable matchup with his quickness. It’s also important for the Tigers to rebound well as a team and make up for their lack of size with extra effort and energy on the boards.

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Ten For Ten: Impressions of Each Big 12 Team From Its Opener

Posted by dnspewak on January 5th, 2012

Congratulations, Big 12 teams. You’ve all now played one-eighteenth of your conference schedule. For the next two months, you will suffer through hard-fought battles week after week until this wild league sorts itself out. After one game, it’s impossible to tell what exactly will happen from now until the first weekend in March. But each Big 12 opener at least gave us a little insight into this crazy conference. In alphabetical order, here’s what you need to know about Opening Week:

  1. Baylor has not played flawless basketball this season, but don’t exactly take that as a criticism. The Bears are undefeated and off to the best start in school history, and yet they still have a lot of room for improvement. Although it handled Texas A&M from start to finish in Waco on Monday, Scott Drew’s team still finished with 16 turnovers and shot just 2-12 from beyond the arc. Guard play in particular was a problem: Pierre Jackson finished with seven turnovers, and Brady Heslip did not score. And yet the Bears’ 61-52 victory was hardly in doubt until a modest comeback by the Aggies at the very end of the game. Perry Jones, who did not play well in a win over Mississippi State on national television last week, redeemed himself with a double-double as BU’s frontcourt overpowered the normally physical Aggies. The guards will make the difference this season for Drew, and though they struggled in the Big 12 opener, that trend should not continue. Jackson, Heslip, A.J. Walton and Gary Franklin are an underrated group.
  2. Iowa State is not a pushover this season. These guys can really shoot the heck out of the basketball, and they won their first Big 12 opener in five seasons by knocking off Texas 77-71 on Wednesday night. Yes, the Longhorns have problems of their own– more on that later– but Fred Hoiberg‘s team defended well, played with outstanding energy and got every shot it wanted on the offensive end. Iowa State made 10-of-21 three-pointers, and not a single trey came from Scott Christopherson, one of the top three-point shooters in Big 12 history from a percentage standpoint. Chris Babb and Anthony Booker combined to make eight of those shots, but forward Royce White controlled this game by getting to the free throw line and posing a matchup problem for UT. The Longhorns are small on the front line, and White exploited them by using his quickness. He announced to the Big 12 that he will not be easy to defend this winter.

    Bill Self's Team Made a Statement On Wednesday Night

  3. Kansas looked like a Big 12 champion again by spanking Kansas State at the Phog on Wednesday night. Sure, the Jayhawks cooled off after building an early 18-point lead, and the Wildcats jumped back into the game in the second half. By the end of the contest, though, KU had run away with this rivalry by beating Frank Martin at his own game. Kansas State thought it could rattle the Jayhawks with its high-pressure style and tenacious rebounding, but Thomas Robinson proved once again that he’s not afraid of anybody. Forget the loss to Davidson. Tyshawn Taylor may turn the ball over too much, and the offense may not always look crisp, but Bill Self‘s team will defend and it will not back down from a challenge. 17 offensive rebounds and a +24 margin on the boards against a Frank Martin team is proof of that. Read the rest of this entry »
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Conference Report Card: Big 12

Posted by Brian Goodman on April 25th, 2011


 

 

Brian Goodman is an RTC editor and contributor.

Year In Review

Before the start of the season, pollsters bought into Kansas State as the sexy pick to take the Big 12 in 2011 on the heels of an Elite Eight appearance in 2010. The Big 12 was not overly impressive in non-conference play, as the Wildcats fell hard to Duke in a de facto home game in Kansas City, and Missouri did the same against Georgetown in one of the more thrilling matchups of the early season.

As league play began, the preseason #3 Wildcats disappointed, starting 2-5, and the usual stalwarts of the Big 12, Kansas and Texas, rose to the top. After topping the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse in January, the Longhorns looked to be in the driver’s seat, especially after Kansas was blindsided at Bramlage Coliseum to give Texas a two-game lead. However, Rick Barnes‘ team suffered another late-season collapse, going 2-3 to finish the regular season while the Jayhawks dusted off the competition to pull ahead to take their seventh straight conference crown.

Elsewhere in the conference, the Wildcats bounced back to end the season in third place. The middle of the conference wasn’t settled until the latter stages of the season with Missouri falling lat and Texas A&MColorado and Nebraska treading water. Baylor underachieved, given the talented personnel in Waco, and Oklahoma State never really looked in sync. OklahomaTexas Tech and Iowa State all had awful seasons to finish at the bottom of the standings.

In the conference tournament final, Kansas played its best basketball of the season, topping Texas to gain some revenge entering the Big Dance. Colorado was snubbed on Selection Sunday despite beating Kansas State three times, but the Big 12 still managed to get five teams into the NCAA Tournament. However, only the Jayhawks made it out of opening weekend alive, and they fell short of expectations as they lost to Shaka Smart and the Rams’ reign of BCS destruction.

KU's front line of Thomas Robinson (left) and the Morris twins evolved into a strength, and the Jayhawks struggled most when they weren't utilized on offense. (AP/Jamie Squire)

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Morning Five: 05.25.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on May 25th, 2010

  1. Some transfer news from the weekend…  Two of the bigger names in college basketball from a celebrity perspective are leaving their respective schools.  Guard Jeff Jordan (MJ’s son, in case you hadn’t heard) is leaving Illinois for his senior season a mere year after he quit the team and returned the first time.  We’re not sure what exactly the deal is with the somewhat indecisive Jordan, but the word is that he’s looking for more PT than the fourteen minutes per game he received last year for the Illini.  The other big transfer name belongs to Percy Miller, aka Lil Romeo, the hip-hop star who presumably sold a lot more albums than he scored points (5) in his two-year USC Trojan career.  The subject of one of RTC’s first-ever posts (#3 actually), it’s not clear whether he will try to continue playing college basketball elsewhere or give it up completely.
  2. Moving to players that actually matter at this level, former Washington guard Elston Turner will re-surface at Texas A&M beginning in 2011-12 and LSU star guard Bo Spencer will be ineligible for the fall semester next season as a result of academic problems.  Turner will have two years of eligibility in College Station, while Spencer will have an opportunity to return to his team next winter if he can get his books in order.
  3. The final notable piece of news with players leaving is that Florida’s Nimrod Tishman is leaving the Gator program after only one year in Gainesville.  He is returning to Israel to play professionally, causing mass lamentations throughout the SEC fanbases from Fayetteville to Columbia.
  4. Is the one-year renewable scholarship a bigger problem than we, or anyone, knows?  If you buy USA Today’s report that over 20% of athletes on the 65 NCAA teams leave the program in a given year, it just might be.  We’d never really given it much thought other than when a new coach comes into town and runs everyone off (see: Calipari, John), but maybe we should start paying attention to this a little more.
  5. We always thought something didn’t smell quite right with the universally-liked and respected Tyler Smith being caught with a firearm in a rental car on New Year’s Day.  Smith finally came out and said that he purchased the gun based on death threats that he was receiving about his three-year old son.  He didn’t go into details as to whom was making the threats or why they would be making them, but he’s now back in Tennessee after playing professionally in Turkey for a few months and waiting to see if his name is called next month in the NBA Draft.
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