Big 12 Alley-Oops and Airballs is a weekly article examining what’s hot and what’s not in Big 12 basketball.
A lot can change in ten weeks of basketball. Pundits who wrote off Missouri after the loss of forward Laurence Bowers are eating their crow. Texas A&M has gone from Big 12 championship contender to a conference bottom dweller, playing with the offensive ability of my 1998 YMCA team. And at the same time, many things haven’t changed. Kansas is still unstoppable at Allen Fieldhouse, Frank Martin is still fiery, and J’Covan Brown continues to score almost all of his team’s points. Hard to believe, but Selection Sunday is only seven weeks away.
- A Fear of Phog’s: Monday night’s marquee matchup of Baylor at Kansas proved that no matter how the Jayhawks roster is shaped up, they will always be the favorite when playing in front of the raucous crowd of Allen Fieldhouse. The previously undefeated Baylor Bears were the latest team to learn this, as they fell 92-74 in front of a revved-up group of Jayhawk faithful. Kansas has not lost since the Davidson debacle in Kansas City, and looks to continue its eight-game winning streak this weekend in Austin.
- Top 7 Heaven: Yes, I’m biased, but I truly believe the Big 12 is getting overlooked in the “best conference” discussion. The Big 12 has the most schools in the Top 10. In fact, they have three schools in the Top 7, with Missouri, Baylor and Kansas. All three teams have players on the Wooden Award finalists list (Marcus Denmon of Missouri, Perry Jones of Baylor, and Thomas Robinson from Kansas), and all appear to have the necessary utensils for a deep tournament run come March.
- National Love: On Monday, A&M and Missouri squared off on ESPN in the late afternoon. Later that night, Kansas hosted Baylor in a highly anticipated matchup, one that had college basketball pundits examining it all weekend. Every source of media you go to, you’ll see the college basketball experts writing about Kansas, Missouri and Baylor. This weekend is another highly anticipated ESPN matchup, when #5 Missouri visits #3 Baylor. Heck, even A&M is getting love on ESPN, being mentioned as the 2011-12’s biggest disappointment. Too soon?
- Oklahoma State: While some folks are still saying it is not time to write off the Oklahoma State Cowboys, I’m going to go ahead and do so, especially after Saturday’s embarrassing 106-65 loss to Baylor. I don’t see the Cowboys finishing .500 in conference play.
- Texas’ Postseason Streak: The Texas Longhorns, who haven’t been left out of the field of
64 6568 since the 1997-98 season, are in jeopardy of not dancing. While I’m ready to give up on the Pokes from Stillwater, I think Texas still has an opportunity and the ability to continue their dance marathon. However, they will need to learn to not rely on J’Covan Brown so heavily, and if Myck Kabongo and the other burnt orange youngsters are going to mature their game this season, now is the time to do so.