Big 12 Mount Rushmore

Posted by dnspewak on February 22nd, 2012

When Missouri and Texas A&M bolt for the SEC in July, the departure will mark the Big 12′s first shift since its inception in 1996. For the most part, the past 15 seasons have belonged to Kansas, which has captured the only National Championship during this time period and has also won or shared 11 regular-season championships. The Jayhawks’ dominance extends all the way through the old Big Eight’s history, too. Naturally, we’ve selected two Jayhawks as the most influential figures. Perhaps it’s unfair to place so much KU emphasis on our four Mount Rushmore selections, and yes, it’s probably unfair to ignore the rest of the league as a result. However, we made our selections with an eye toward postseason success and long-term legacy. Frankly, no other Big 12 program can even come close to Kansas in either of those departments, so its players and coaches simply must be included.

Here’s our Big 12 Mount Rushmore:

Wayman Tisdale: The late Tisdale was more than just a basketball player. He was a musician, a man who publicly fought cancer for two years, and most importantly, a man remembered for being one of the most genuine people in sports. The forward had a productive NBA career, but he thoroughly dominated the Big Eight for three seasons at Oklahoma. As a freshman, sophomore and junior, Tisdale took home Big Eight Player of the Year honors, and he was unique in that he made such an immediate impact early in his career. Unlike most freshmen at that time, Tisdale didn’t need time to acclimate himself to the college game. He was a one-and-done kind of player who stayed and dominated the nation for three seasons. Frightening.

Danny Manning: These days, Manning roams the Kansas sidelines as a towering, hard-to-miss assistant coach. Two decades ago, though, Manning’s Jayhawks soared through the 1988 NCAA Tournament as a six-seed, shocking the nation by knocking off #1 Oklahoma in the title game in Kansas City. To this day, even fans who never watched Larry Brown’s team play still refer to that squad as “Danny and the Miracles.” Manning may have scored the most points in Big Eight history, but we’ll remember him for the way he lit up the scoreboard in those six games in March.

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Living in the Past, Part Two: The Big 12 Ten Years Ago

Posted by cwilliams on November 2nd, 2011

Last Friday, I began my exploration of the state of Big 12 basketball ten years ago. I examined Kansas, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, and Missouri. Today, I’ll finish the piece by examining the 2001-02 seasons of the remaining Big 12 teams.

Oklahoma

Hollis Price Had OU On Top of the Hoops Heap Ten Years Ago (AP)

Today, Oklahoma basketball is struggling after consecutive years of underachieving. But ten years ago, Oklahoma’s basketball program reached its pinnacle, winning the Big 12 Tournament and appearing in the school’s fourth Final Four. The Sooners were led by dynamic guard Hollis Price, who at the time was widely considered the best basketball player to come from the Sooner State since Wayman Tisdale. The 2001-02 Sooners started the season with a 13-game winning streak, and finished it with a 12-game winning streak before falling to upstart Indiana in the 2002 Final Four.

Oklahoma State

The Oklahoma State teams of the early 2000s seemed to always teeter on the line of greatness, but never seemed able to reach it until its 2003-04 breakout season where the Pokes went all the way to the Final Four. Unfortunately, the 2001-02 Cowboy team didn’t have the same essential pieces as that Final Four team. The team started out very hot, winning its first 13 games and moving up to #5 in the nation by Christmas Day. Things became difficult for the Cowboys once they entered conference play, though, and Eddie Sutton’s team never seemed to find its stride. For three weeks, OSU followed two consecutive conference wins with two consecutive conference losses. The team fizzled in the postseason, losing in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament to Texas Tech, and proceeding to get knocked out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by Cinderella Kent State.

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