Big 12 M5: 01.03.14 Edition

Posted by Taylor Erickson on January 3rd, 2014

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  1.  With the recent injury to Oklahoma State forward Michael Cobbins, Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com questions whether the Cowboys still have a shot at winning the Big 12 regular season title. Cobbins’ departure means sophomore Kamari Murphy will be forced to pick up some of the slack left by Cobbins on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Oklahoma State has the ability to play small forward LeBryan Nash at the four spot, but with Nash at 6’7″ and Murphy standing at 6’8″, a team that has struggled in both offensive and defensive rebounding becomes even smaller against some of the bigger frontcourts in the Big 12.
  2. Iowa State fans had a chance Thursday to honor historic Cyclone coach, Johnny Orr, when his urn was placed in Hilton Coliseum for a public visitation. Orr passed away earlier in the week after suffering complications from a head injury suffered at his residence. It seems only fitting that the success or “Hilton Magic” that Orr introduced to Ames during his tenure as Iowa State head coach seems to be fully restored with the success the school has experienced with head coach Fred Hoiberg at the helm.
  3. The awful start that Kansas State opened the season with in a loss to Northern Colorado appears to be a thing of the past, and Tim Bisel of the Topeka Capital-Journal suggests that Bruce Weber’s Wildcats might just have a say in the Big 12 race after all.  That’s not to suggest that Kansas State will win the conference title, but the Wildcats are dangerous enough to pose a serious threat on a nightly basis for some of the league’s top teams. What’s even more interesting is how similar this season is to that a year ago, where Weber’s squad again struggled out of the gate before tying Kansas for the league regular season title.
  4. If you have watched enough of Kansas this season, you have probably noticed how un-Kansas-like the Jayhawks have been on the defensive end this season. And, if you’re familiar with Bill Self, you can probably guess how well that sits with the Kansas head coach, who said after a win on Monday night against previously undefeated Toledo that his team “is not getting it on that end at all” in regards to his team’s defensive effort. While the young talent at Kansas is as good as any team in the country, it’s becoming increasingly obvious how valuable veteran leadership has been in previous years when it comes to locking down opponents on defense.
  5. Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com released his most recent way-too-early-but-still-intriguing Bracketology update, which features five teams from the Big 12 in Oklahoma State, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, and Texas. The Cowboys as a two seed are the highest seeded team in the league with the Longhorns bringing up the tail end as a 10 seed. What’s perhaps more interesting than those teams that are featured in Lunardi’s bracket are the teams that are for the time being not listed, namely Oklahoma who has jumped out to a 11-2 record after making the NCAA tournament a year ago. If Kansas State maintains the trend they’ve been on as of late, there’s a chance the Big 12 could place as many as seven teams in the Big Dance, but with league play getting started, there’s bound to be some cannibalization among conference foes that could damage some resumes.
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Morning Five: New Year’s Day 2014 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on January 1st, 2014

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  1. We will start off by wishing all of you a Happy New Year. We hope all of you had a great 2013 and that 2014 is even better. Today is a pretty light day in terms of college basketball action as the schools seem to be letting college football have its day in the spotlight. Still there are several interesting games with San Diego State at Colorado State, Boston College at Harvard, and Southern Methodist at Cincinnati being the most intriguing. If you are just killing some time before the games tonight, you should check out our “Best of 2013″ column that takes a look back at some of the best games, moments, and performances of last year.
  2. One team that is not having such a great start to the year is Oklahoma State as they lost Michael Cobbins for the season after he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in the team’s win on Monday. Collins, a junior who was averaging 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game this season, was also the team’s top post defender. Although Cobbins might not seem like a big piece to the Cowboys title aspirations based on his numbers, he plays at a position where the Cowboys lack depth. The job of replacing Cobbins will fall to sophomore Kamari Murphy, who has some experience in the role as he filled in last year when Cobbins injured his toe in the preseason.
  3. The college basketball world lost one of its coaching giants yesterday as former Iowa State and Michigan coach Johnny Orr passed away at the age of 86. It seems ridiculous that we could say that Orr, a coach who made it to a national championship game and two more Elite Eights at Michigan, would be more strongly associated with Iowa State than Michigan, but it is true. Orr, who is the all-time wins leader at both schools, shocked many observers by leaving Michigan to take over at Iowa State, but he is credited with building “Hilton Magic” into what it is today.
  4. We are not sure why there are not more quality college basketball “mailbag” columns. Perhaps it is because everybody is using Twitter as their “mailbag” forum to answer questions. In any event, Mark Titus has an amusing and surprising well-thought-out  mailbag from yesterday (part 1 and part 2). Most of the content is similar to the typical discussion, but it is somewhat interesting to see hear the responses from the perspective of a former college player (ok, who sat on the bench… a lot).
  5. One of the interesting things with the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week selections so far this year is that we don’t think any of them are legitimate threats to win the Player of the Year award. Obviously all of them, like DeAndre Kane this week, are excellent players, but we have not heard of any of the four that have received the honor this year being serious contenders for the end of the year award. Similarly, the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Week honor has been gone to one player (Jabari Parker) who will probably win the honor at the end of the year, but the other three winners including James Young this week do not figure to be in contention for the honor at the of the year. We guess it goes to show you the power of consistency.
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