Big 12 M5: 11.19.14 Edition

Posted by Nate Kotisso on November 19th, 2014

morning5_big12

  1. If you had the fortitude to sit through the afternoon games of yesterday’s marathon, perhaps you caught Baylor get by Frank Martin and an improved South Carolina team in Columbia. Redshirt freshman Johnathan Motley was the clear player of the game with 17 points and five rebounds, but what was most impressive for Baylor was its ability to win the game despite committing more turnovers and getting outrebounded by the Gamecocks. Games like these during the first week of the season are difficult to gauge, so while this was a true road game on an opponent’s home floor, the Gamecocks aren’t expected to make much noise in the SEC this year. It’s certainly a positive that the Bears won a game away from Waco, but let’s hold off on buying in just yet because a) we’re two games into the season; and b) the top half of the league is still better than Baylor. Steady as she goes, Bears fans.
  2. While the football team has stolen most of the headlines this fall, TCU still very much has a men’s basketball program. I’m not sure how many people were aware of this, but the Horned Frogs throttled Washington State (and new head coach Ernie Kent) by a score of 81-54 on Monday night. It is more than a little shocking that TCU put another Power Five team out to pasture, but this one was decided long before the final buzzer sounded. Using Baylor-South Carolina as a template, we’re not expecting TCU to contend for an at-large bid or anything this season, but perhaps we’re finally seeing just how competitive the Horned Frogs can look when they aren’t dealing with a rash of injuries.
  3. Here was a quote from Georges Niang following Iowa State’s season-opening win last Friday: “I think we played real well offensively, but it’s a little disappointing what we did defensively.” Apparently the Cyclones took those words to heart and put the defensive clamps on Georgia State’s high-powered offense on Monday night, winning 81-58. The Panthers shot 39.1 percent from the field for the game including a paltry 15-of-48 (31.3 percent) effort from the skilled guard trio of R.J. Hunter, Ryan Harrow and Kevin Ware. Niang himself struggled offensively (3-of-12) while Monte Morris (19 points, nine assists, zero turnovers) played his best overall game as a collegian. And remember, Iowa State is still missing Matt Thomas, Abdel Nader and two-time JuCo All-American Jameel McKay until December. Good grief.
  4. A big question going into this season surrounded the starting point guard position for Kansas State, but perhaps it’s possible that there are two answers to that question. Jevon Thomas has started the first two games of the season, performing admirably with 14 assists against only five turnovers, after showing flashes as a capable passer last year. Nigel Johnson (eight assists, two turnovers) has impressed as well. Whether Thomas or Johnson are in the lineup, the Wildcats shouldn’t have to worry too much about finding ways to get the ball to their top scorers in Marcus Foster and Justin Edwards. If you’re Bruce Weber, those are the kinds of dilemmas you want to have as a head coach.
  5. Four-star point guard Payton Pritchard gave a verbal commitment to Lon Kruger and Oklahoma on Tuesday. As quickly as he has been able to take the program from struggling to thriving, Pritchard is technically the highest-rated high school prospect to pledge to the Sooners in Kruger’s short tenure. This news is only the cherry on top for Oklahoma, as the Sooners also get Houston transfer TaShawn Thomas in his first game in crimson and cream against Creighton tonight in Omaha. Let that marinate for a bit.
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Big 12 Season Preview: Kansas State Wildcats

Posted by Nate Kotisso on November 3rd, 2014

Throughout the preseason, the Big 12 microsite will preview each of the league’s 10 teams, from worst to first. Today: Kansas State. 

Kansas State

Looking back at last season, I’m sure most Kansas State fans would say they were somewhat satisfied with how the year turned out. The roster faced major turnover as guys who had shared a Big 12 regular season title the year before either graduated or transferred out of Manhattan. The Wildcats were young and it showed early in non-conference play, with losses to Northern Colorado and Charlotte to go along with Georgetown. Once they returned to the mainland from the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, however, the Wildcats found a star point guard, reeled off 10 wins a row, won all but one of their home conference games, and wound up facing Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament. With seven of their nine rotation players back, Kansas State has the opportunity to disrupt conference hierarchy again and perhaps look forward to a March worth remembering.

A big season could be on the way for Bruce Weber and the Wildcats. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

A big season could be on the way for Bruce Weber and the Wildcats. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Strengths: The star point guard is, of course, sophomore guard Marcus Foster. Foster’s rise last season was almost impossible to predict, but there he was knocking down jumpers and bulldozing through traffic to get to the cup. If that doesn’t sound appetizing enough, throw in transfer Justin Edwards — who put up some big numbers at Maine (16.7 PPG in 2012-13) — and you’ve got a lethal duo of guards who can go toe-to-toe against any backcourt in the Big 12. Another advantage this season is greater depth at the forward positions. Most starting lineups last year featured the 6’7″ Thomas Gipson playing the power forward slot. Not so this season. Help comes in the form of 6’11” Stephen Hurt, a JuCo transfer who spent last season at Northwest Florida State College. Hurt began his college career at Lipscomb, where he won the Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year award by averaging 11.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in 2012-13. Brandon Bolden, a 6’11” transfer from Georgetown, will also be eligible this season to provide more frontcourt depth.

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Big 12 M5: 01.07.14 Edition

Posted by Nate Kotisso on January 7th, 2014

morning5_big12

  1. Some interesting news came out after the San Diego State-Kansas game on Sunday. Bill Self revealed to reporters that Naadir Tharpe had sprained his left ankle during practice on Wednesday and tried to gut it out against the Aztecs. “He was trying to put himself in a position to where he could play,” Self said. “He went a little bit halfcourt yesterday and felt good, but even with that you are nicked up and don’t have a rhythm. He took a couple ill-advised shots when we had a chance to come back, tie or take the lead.” While Tharpe didn’t have the best shooting game (2-of-10), he did have five assists and no turnovers in 34 minutes against SDSU’s suffocating defense. Still, the Jayhawks need Tharpe to be healthy in their hopes of capturing another Big 12 title.
  2. Yes, Oklahoma State is going through some stuff at the moment. NewsOK lays out the three things the Cowboys have to do to maintain their status as potential Big 12 champs and national title contenders. First, how do they replace Michael Cobbins? Sophomore Kamari Murphy is assuming Cobbins’ spot in the lineup but who will assume Murphy’s role as first big man off the bench? Then there’s the Stevie Clark situation. There’s nothing new to report here but having him around could continue to cause a distraction for the Cowboys. Finally, OSU’s free throw shooting hasn’t been the best. Their 71.7 percent mark is good for 105th in the nation. That includes Marcus Smart, who is shooting almost 10 percentage points (67.8 percent) lower than he did last year (77.7 percent). So yeah, they’ve got some work to do.
  3. Iowa State has a top 10 battle with Baylor coming up, but before then, DeAndre Kane is taking some more hardware home this week. Kane was named Big 12 POW for the second straight week, headlined by a 16-point, eight-rebound and 12-assist performance versus Northern Illinois. Kansas State’s Marcus Foster won Big 12 Newcomer of the Week after averaging 16.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in wins over George Washington and Oklahoma State last week. It was Foster’s first award of any kind this season while Kane has two NOWs in addition to the two POWs.
  4. Foster’s teammate and fellow point guard Jevon Thomas wasn’t allowed to practice until about two weeks ago due to NCAA rules. After his first practice, Bruce Weber said of him: “He almost passed out. He was lying on the floor, saying his body was cramping.” Fast forward to today and three games under his belt, Thomas seems to be adjusting well to college basketball. In relief of Marcus Foster, Thomas has 15 assists and only two turnovers. He’s a part of the reason the Wildcats went from a 2-3 start to a nine-game winning streak and Top 25 ranking in a two-month span.
  5. There’s a little game on tonight that will have implications atop the Big 12 horse race. Baylor takes on Iowa State for the 12th time in Ames tonight and are still searching for their first ever win there. The intrigue in this match-up lies in their contrasting styles. Iowa State likes to run up and down the floor and shoot the lights out, while Baylor is more akin to a half-court offense and big men who box out well. The Cyclones and Bears will meet tonight at 7:00 PM ET on ESPN2.
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Big 12 M5: 01.02.14 Edition

Posted by Taylor Erickson on January 2nd, 2014

morning5_big12

  1.  For Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford, 2014 is off to a terrible start. On Monday night, the Cowboys lost starting forward Michael Cobbins to a season-ending Achilles injury, and on Wednesday morning, freshman point guard Stevie Clark was arrested for possession of marijuana. Clark is the back-up for superstar Marcus Smart, and has already been subject to a suspension earlier in the season for disciplinary reasons. Losing both Cobbins and Clark could have a serious impact on Oklahoma State’s depth and in the long run may impact their ability to challenge for a conference title.
  2. In Tuesday’s Morning 5, we discussed the potential impact freshman guard Jevon Thomas could have for Kansas State after gaining eligibility with the conclusion of the first semester. Tuesday afternoon, Thomas made his debut in Bramlage Coliseum and contributed six assists and no turnovers against George Washington. Thomas failed to score in the contest, but Weber believes he’ll continue to grow into his new role. Kansas State kicks off their Big 12 schedule on Saturday with a home visit from Oklahoma State, and there may not be a better time to see the Cowboys with the aforementioned problems they’re going through. Expect Bramlage to be rocking as the Wildcats will look to continue their winning streak.
  3. Iowa State has jumped out to 12-0 record to start the season, but slow starts in games is something that could plague the Cyclones in league play as Bobby LaGesse of the Ames Tribune examines in part of his New Year’s resolution piece. The Cyclones have had to rely on strong play late in games for a number of their victories, perhaps most notably against Iowa in Ames earlier in the year. Iowa State will be tested early in Big 12 play with visits from Baylor and Kansas in a span of three games in January.
  4. Speaking of Iowa State and Kansas, Rob Dauster of NBCSports.com lists the showdown between these two schools that took place last season in his Top 10 College Basketball Games in 2013. That game was won by Kansas, 108-96, in overtime in a game where Elijah Johnson scored 39 points to lead Kansas. Iowa State fans will remember the questionable foul calls, or lack there of, late in the game that allowed Johnson to get to the free throw line to tie the game. When Kansas goes to Ames on January 13, you can bet Fred Hoiberg and company will have revenge on their mind.
  5. As painful as that outcome was for Iowa State faithful, Kansas fans will be reminded of having their hearts ripped out by Trey Burke last year in the NCAA tournament as Burke’s shot was listed by YahooSports.com as one of the top 5 moments in college basketball in 2013. As if you needed any further salt in the wound, here’s a reminder that the Jayhawks led by 11 points with less than four minutes to play before costly turnovers down the stretch and one magnificent shot from Burke ultimately ended Kansas’ March run.
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Big 12 M5: New Year’s Eve Edition

Posted by Taylor Erickson on December 31st, 2013

morning5_big12

  1. If there was any question about Iowa State’s depth heading into the season, those concerns should be alleviated by now as DeAndre Kane became the fifth different Cyclone to win Big 12 Player of the Week honors this season. This marks the first time in conference history that a school has had five different players win player of the week honors in the same season. Kane averaged 19 points and 8 rebounds per game in route to MVP honors as Iowa State won the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii last week. Kane is just the most recent example of head coach Fred Hoiberg playing the transfer market perfectly in the offseason, and has been a huge reason why Iowa State is undefeated to this point.
  2. When watching Kansas play up to this point in the season, the lack of consistent three point shooting has been a glaring hole for the Jayhawks, and a reason so many Kansas opponents have chosen to play zone defense against Bill Self’s squad. Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star dove deeper into Kansas’ three-point shooting, pointing out that just 18.8% of their scoring has come from behind the three-point line. Of the last 20 Final Four teams, 19 of them have all averaged at least 20% of their points from deep, with UConn’s 2009 team being the only squad to fall under that mark. Interestingly enough, the combination of Andrew Wiggins, Wayne Selden, and Naadir Tharpe have all shot above 33% from three for the season, while freshmen Frank Mason, Conner Frankamp, and Brennan Greene, are averaging a poor 23% from deep. For Kansas to make a deep run in March, they will need a solid shooter to emerge from the group of Greene, Frankamp, or Andrew White.
  3. Oklahoma State has rolled through the non conference portion of their schedule with just one blemish in a rematch loss to Memphis in the Old Spice Classic. Buried under the great start for the Cowboys is the difficulties they’ve had rebounding the basketball. As NBCSports.com discussed in their New Year’s resolution series, Oklahoma State is 147th in offensive rebounding and 179th in defensive rebounding this season. While Travis Ford’s team has athletes all over the floor, they lack the size down low to really match up with some of the bigger teams they see. It will be interesting to see how this factors in during the Big 12 conference season.
  4. As I finish discussing Oklahoma State’s rebounding problems, news breaks tonight that the Cowboys may have lost starting forward Michael Cobbins for a considerable amount of time in a blowout win over Robert Morris on Monday night.  Cobbins spent the second half watching the game from behind the bench using crutches and wearing a boot, and head coach Travis Ford said after the game that the injury “doesn’t look good.” Oklahoma State can slide LeBryan Nash to the four spot with Kamari Murphy at the center position, but at 6’8″, Murphy will give up significant size to most teams in the Big 12.
  5. The departure of former Kansas State standout point guard Angel Rodriguez in the offseason left a void in the Wildcats roster, and undoubtedly had a significant impact on K-State’s slow start out of the gate this season. For Wildcat fans, there’s hope that freshman point guard Jevon Thomas can add a dynamic that they have been lacking two months into this season. Thomas became eligible with the conclusion of the first semester, and says his emphasis will be on the defensive impact as he makes his debut in Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday afternoon.
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Around The Blogosphere: July 27, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on July 27th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com. We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

General News

  • When Jim Calhoun says he doesn’t want to see anyone get fired, he probably means he wants to see Jeff Hathaway get fired: An update on the ongoing turmoil at UConn. (The UConn Blog)
  • Vitale ranks Louisville ninth: “Dick Vitale, in his infinite wisdom, has pegged the 2011-2012 Louisville Cardinals as the 9th-best team in the country.” (Card Chronicle)
  • World University Games 2011 — USA Announces Training Roster: “Late last week USA Basketball identified the 22 college players who will tryout for the USA World University Games men’s team, the training sessions to begin July 29 in Colorado Springs, CO. Two, Tu Holloway of Xavier and Jordan Taylor of Wisconsin have declined their invitations as of late last week. The twelve who are selected will represent the USA and should depart for Shenzhen, China, site of this year’s games, on August 8.” (Villanova by the Numbers)
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Recruiting Rumor Mill: 11.01.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 1st, 2010

Although we have been mentioning that some of the recruiting buzz might start slowing down we still saw one big-time recruit commit this week and another back out of his prior commitment.

  • First we will go with the big commitment as Memphis picked up its first commitment of the recruiting season (shocking, right?) when local product and reality TV star Adonis Thomas committed to play for the Tigers. Josh Pastner utilized former Memphis star Penny Hardaway to appeal to Thomas during a video segment aired during their version of Midnight Madness. Thomas announced his decision on ESPNU, which is quite frankly less dramatic than we imagined for a player who went on ESPNU to announce his finalists.
  • Now for the less joyous news (if you’re a fan of the team that previously had a commitment) we will head to Texas where Rick Barnes lost a commitment from highly coveted Canadian (via Findlay Prep) point guard recruit Myck Kabongo who has not provided a definitive answer as to why he has reneged on his earlier promise. As of now he says that he is still considering Texas along with Syracuse, Duke, Kentucky, and North Carolina. There has been some talk about Austin Rivers and Kabongo wanting to team up (anybody getting visions of college poor man’s LeBron-Wade in Cameron?), but we will probably have to wait until Spring to find out as Kabongo says he is 60% certain that he’ll sign in the late period. [Ed. Note: Where do these guys come up with these percentages?]

    Kabongo is on the market again

  • Stanford picked up a huge commitment this week when the received a verbal commitment from top 10 point guard prospect Chasson Randle, who decided to head to Palo Alto after considering Illinois and Purdue citing the combination of academics (4.0 high school GPA) and athletics.
  • Indiana might still be waiting on Cody Zeller to decide on where he wants to go, but they were able to pick up a commitment from Hanner Perea, a power forward in the class of 2012 that many recruiting experts consider the most explosive big man in the class. Some of you may remember Perea as being the focal point of Baylor‘s current cell phone/text message scandal, but we have a feeling you might forget that when you see how athletic he is (additional video after the jump).
  • [Ed. Note: Both videos–this and the one after the jump–are of Perea as a sophomore.]

  • Bruce Weber may have missed out on Randle and Anthony Davis, two of the top players in the state of Illinois, but he was able to get a commitment from Mike Shaw, a 6’8″ forward who many expect to improve significantly in college.
  • Last week we noted the apparent hesitance of Jahii Carson to officially sign with Arizona State, but now it appears like he will sign with the Sun Devils during November.
  • Duke lost a commitment from Tyler Adams, a 6’9″ center who the Blue Devils had been interested in to help them add depth on the inside. The decision might surprise some, but not those who have followed the process closely. As RTC interview subject Dave Telep notes the two sides had grown apart to the point that Adams attended Midnight Madness at Georgetown, which is never a good sign for a Duke commit. According to Telep, the two current leaders for Adams are Georgetown and Mississippi State.
  • Speaking of Mississippi State they picked up a big commitment from Rodney Hood, one of the top small forwards in this year’s class, who opted to stay in his home state instead of going to a long list of potential suitors. With Arkansas picking up an outstanding class, Georgia starting to corner the market on in-state recruits, Kentucky being Kentucky, and other schools landing several solid recruits could the SEC be turning the corner and becoming a solid conference again? Read the rest of this entry »
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