Big 12 Conference Call: February 9 Edition

Posted by Nate Kotisso on February 9th, 2013

Welcome to another edition of our Big 12 Conference Call! This week has been some kind of something hasn’t it? We have seen TCU take down Kansas in perhaps the biggest upset in the Big 12 era as well as Baylor and Oklahoma’s attempts to play themselves off the tournament bubble. There are bigger questions that loom too. Who has the inside track for Big 12 Coach of the Year? And, if Kansas continues to slide, who will win the Big 12? Today, we’ll hit on those topics and more. 

1. Kory predicted the Jayhawks to fall to Oklahoma State on Saturday and we all know what happened at TCU on Wednesday. Is their Big 12 title hopes in jeopardy?

2. If Kansas doesn’t win the Big 12 title, who will sit atop the conference standings at the end of the year?

3. Imagine yourself on this year’s NCAA Tournament Committee and you’re forced to choose Baylor or Oklahoma to put in the field of 68. Which team would you go with and why?

4. Who do you like to win Big 12 Coach of the Year?

5. Which of the three Texas schools will have the highest finish — UT, Tech or TCU?


An unreal night in the Metroplex. (Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

It was an unbelievable night in the Metroplex. (Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

1. Kory predicted the Jayhawks to fall to Oklahoma State on Saturday and we all know what happened at TCU on Wednesday. Is their Big 12 title hopes in jeopardy?

KC: Absolutely. With the way Kansas had been playing in January, the loss to Oklahoma State was coming. The Cowboys have plenty of talent and nobody was going to go undefeated in the Big 12 this season, anyway. But the loss to TCU -ranked lower in kempom than the likes of Quinnipiac and Yale- is the worst Kansas loss since before Larry Brown was coaching in the 80’s. Point guards Elijah Johnson and Naadir Tharpe shot a combined 5-for-27 with three assists against the Horned Frogs. In his last eight games, Johnson has more turnovers (28) than assists (25). If that doesn’t trouble you, nothing will.

NK: Most definitely. Kory hit the nail on the head — a slip up was bound to happen. To be truthful, I didn’t see one of this magnitude. Their loss to TCU Wednesday has gone down as easily the biggest upset in the Big 12 era in my opinion. The Jayhawks could only win in spite of their point guard problems for so long. And now in a time where a team like Kansas is supposed to separate themselves from the rest of their conference mates, they find themselves in a tighter league race. At least it’s better for the fans of other teams.

DS: They’re in a heck of a lot more jeopardy than they were a week ago, that’s for sure. And yet the Jayhawks still sit tied atop the league with Kansas State, and they own the tiebreaker with that win in Manhattan. So forget the TCU debacle. With half of the Big 12 schedule left to play, Bill Self once again has his team in position to win a regular season title. Kansas has serious issues on the offensive end, and it’s hard to envision this team doing a ton of damage in March, but it’s still the class of the Big 12. With Self’s track record, I’m expecting to see vintage Kansas show up against the Wildcats on Big Monday. But that game in Norman is a tough one this weekend.

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Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 12

Posted by KoryCarpenter on January 28th, 2013

Right when we thought a team might overtake Kansas in the Big 12 standings (or our power rankings, at least), Kansas State went out and lost two in a row last week, first to Kansas at home and then at Iowa State on Saturday. Both were close games with the Wildcats losing by a combined 10 points, but they lost two games on the Jayhawks in the Big 12 race and fell into a third place tie with Iowa State and Oklahoma. Baylor has quietly started 5-1 in conference play, but the easier part of their schedule is now behind them. The Bears have already swept TCU and have another win over Texas Tech in Lubbock (but hey, that’s more than Iowa State can say). And about those Jayhawks — they are due for a loss, aren’t they? They have been winning close games for the last month it seems. We’ve spiced up the rankings this week with a team’s projected NCAA Tournament seed from Bracket Matrix. Instead of picking a random bracketologist’s numbers, how about averaging out a bunch of mock brackets? The guys at Bracket Matrix do that so we don’t have to, and as many people have been saying lately, there looks to be six NCAA Tournament teams from the Big 12 this year.

The Kansas Offense Hasn't Been Pretty In January, But The Defense Has Helped Keep Their Winning Streak Alive.

The Kansas Offense Hasn’t Been Pretty In January, But The Defense Has Helped Keep Its Winning Streak Alive.

1) Kansas (18-1, 6-0 Big 12)
Previous Ranking: 1
Projected NCAA Seed: #1

Last Week: W 59-55 at Kansas State, W 67-54 vs Oklahoma

This Week: Tonight at West Virginia, 8:00 PM CST, Saturday vs Oklahoma State, 3:00 PM

  • Rundown: The Jayhawks have won 17 straight since losing to Michigan State in November but the offense has disappeared in January. They are averaging 62.2 PPG in their last five games, leading to a KenPom Adjusted Offensive Efficiency of #18. And as we pointed out here, teams that finish outside the top #25 in that category rarely make the Final Four.
  • Cause For Concern: The offense, of course. Last season, point guard Tyshawn Taylor was always there to clean up an ugly offensive possession with a drive to the basket. This team has had point guard issues most of the year. Starter Elijah Johnson has been more of an off-guard during his career and backup Naadir Tharpe is trigger-happy. Freshman Ben McLemore averages 16.2 PPG, but with a shooting percentage of 51%, he needs to take over more games than he does. He’s the best player on the team and one of the five best in the country, so an average of 10 shots a game isn’t enough.

2) Baylor (14-5, 5-1)
Previous Ranking: 3
Projected NCAA Seed: #9

Last Week: W 64-54 vs Oklahoma State, W 82-56 at TCU

This Week: Wednesday vs Oklahoma, 6:00 PM, Saturday at Iowa State 7:00 PM

  • Rundown: The days of losing to teams like Charleston and Northwestern look to be behind them, but the schedule certainly picks up the rest of the way. Eight of their last 12 games are against teams projected to make the NCAA Tournament. The emergence of freshman center Isaiah Austin will help, though. Austin has scored double figures in each of his last 10 games going back to December 12.
  • Cause For Concern: We all know what the Bears are by now, a talented, underachieving squad that could fall on its face in the first round of the Tournament or make the Elite Eight. From where they stand now, the worst thing that could happen to Baylor — or any team for that matter — is to land in the #8/#9 game and play a #1 seed in the second round.

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Big 12 M5: 01.16.13 Edition

Posted by KoryCarpenter on January 16th, 2013


  1. It can’t be a good feeling watching your season flash before your eyes, but that’s exactly how Bill Self must have felt when freshman guard Ben McLemore dropped to the floor late in Kansas’ 61-44 win over Baylor Monday night. Gary Bedore of the Lawrence-Journal World reported it was a grade one ankle sprain, and Self said he is hopeful that McLemore will only miss a few days, theoretically giving him enough rest before the Jayhawks’ next game against Texas on Saturday. The 6’5″ guard from St. Louis is averaging 16.4 PPG and 5.4 RPG this season and has shot up NBA Draft boards recently, even being discussed as the possible #1 overall pick in next June’s draft.
  2. Speaking of Bill Self, he will be inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in August, reported Monday. Self grew up in Edmond, Oklahoma, and later played at Oklahoma State from 1982-85. He was named the Oklahoma High School Player of the Year in 1981 and was named to the All-Big 8 Freshman team a year later. He worked under Eddie Sutton from 1986-93 and began his head coaching career in the same state, first at Oral Roberts and then at Tulsa until 2000. He recruited the bulk of the 2004-05 Illinois team that made the national championship game, won the 2008 national championship at Kansas, made another appearance in the title game last season, and is on his way to a ninth consecutive Big 12 regular season championship. Hall of Fame worthy? Yeah.
  3. It’s not as if a coach would ever admit to losing control of his team, but for what it’s worth, Rick Barnes refuted any such claims Monday. “We have a group of guys who want to be good,” Barnes told the Austin American-Statesmen. “They are willing to work. I’m not worried about ever losing them.” They may want to be good, but the Longhorns are far from a good team right now. Barring a big upset, they will be 0-4 in Big 12 play after Saturday’s game against Kansas. Myck Kabongo is still out for nearly another month, and leading scorer Sheldon McClellan played just one minute in Saturday’s 20-point loss to Iowa State.
  4. Kansas State senior guard Angel Rodriguez is good, but his coach just wishes he were more consistent. He is second on the team with 9.5 PPG and leads the Wildcats with 4.4 APG, but he is prone to boneheaded plays, like fouling out 90 feet away from the basket against Oklahoma State, as Kellis Robinett of the Wichita Eagle points out. Bruce Weber insisted to Robinett that Rodriguez can’t play the game like he is by himself on the court. “He’s part of the team,” Weber said. “He’s got to keep it in the system.” Even with his inconsistent play at times, Rodriguez has helped lead the Wildcats to a 13-2 record and #16 overall ranking. They face TCU tonight and Oklahoma on Saturday before a big home game against Kansas next week.
  5. Korie Lucious had his two highest turnover games in the first six weeks of the season, committing seven TOs on opening night to Southern and seven more in a loss to intrastate rival Iowa on December 7. He also had six turnovers in a losing effort to Cincinnati on November 23. The senior guard has settled down since then, turning the ball over more than four times just once since that game against Iowa. Not surprisingly, the Cyclones are a banked three-pointer away from being 6-o since facing the Hawkeyes. “I like the way they flow,” Rick Barnes told the Des Moines Register last Saturday. “They share the ball. They do a lot of good things.” The Cyclones are sixth in the country with 82.5 PPG and 15th with 16.9 APG, both largely credited to improved play from Lucious.
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Big 12 M5: 01.14.13 Edition

Posted by KoryCarpenter on January 14th, 2013


  1. Kansas struggled during the first half against Texas Tech on Saturday in Lubbock, and Lawrence-Journal World columnist Tom Keegan didn’t like the Jayhawks’ energy level in their 60-46 win over the Red Raiders. It was the second straight sluggish game for Kansas, which needed a Ben McLemore banked three-pointer with one second remaining in regulation to force overtime against Iowa State last week, a game the Jayhawks eventual won. And while few people questioned whether Kansas would beat Texas Tech (They led just 27-25 at halftime), it has now been three games in a row where Kansas has either struggled for large parts of the game or has been in danger of losing late. Baylor visits Lawrence tonight, and the Allen Fieldhouse crowd should give Kansas the usual boost it provides for big games. But if not, the Bears have enough talent to take advantage of sloppy play, something you might not be able to say for Texas Tech, Iowa State, or Temple.
  2. I read the headline of this column by John Helsley of the Oklahoman and immediately thought, ‘Oklahoma State has more issues than just struggling on the road,’ and a minute later, I read similar sentiments from Helsley. As he says, the Cowboys have lost 20 of 21 road games in conference play and have begun this season 0-2 on the road after losses at Kansas State and Oklahoma. But it’s becoming more clear each day that the win over then #6 North Carolina State in November was more of a mirage then we thought. The Cowboys rank in the triple-digits nationally in PPG (70.6), RPG (36.7), APG (12), and field goal percentage (44.3). Their roster of talented players like Marcus Smart, Le’Bryan Nash, and Markel Brown is nice, but this isn’t the 1996 Bulls we’re talking about, either. They aren’t incapable of free-falling into irrelevance, and unless their road woes cease to exist, that might be exactly where the Cowboys are headed.
  3. West Virginia lost a close one to Kansas State last week after playing without second-leading scorer Juwan Staten for the second straight game for disciplinary reasons. The Mountaineers are 8-7 and will be lucky to make the NIT this season, so it’s not completely surprising Bob Huggins is having personnel problems. Losing seasons can make for hostile environments sometimes. It’s hard to say whether Staten’s off-the-court problems are one of the reasons the Mountaineers have struggled this season, or the Mountaineers struggling is giving Huggins plenty of opportunities to teach lessons without fear of losing meaningful games. Who knows? We do know one thing, however. The 2012-13 season won’t be a campaign Huggins looks back on with admiration.
  4. It’s still early, and as Tulsa World columnist John E. Hoover points out, Oklahoma has only three wins combined the last three Februarys, but with each win the Sooners are looking more and more like an NCAA Tournament team. The real test will come next month, it seems, but right now Oklahoma is 11-3 with a very winnable game against Texas Tech coming up on Wednesday. With four games remaining against Texas Tech and TCU, it’s not hard to find another eight or nine wins on the regular season schedule, getting them right around the 20-win mark and in a good spot to hear their name called on Selection Sunday.
  5. Texas is 0-3 to start Big 12 play, and regardless of how good you think sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo is, his return on Feb. 13 won’t suddenly erase all the problems the Longhorns are facing right now. They lost to back-to-back overtime games to West Virginia and Baylor to open the conference season and were blown out by Iowa State in Ames on Saturday. The Longhorns can’t score this season. There are literally 300 teams with a better shooting percentage this year (302 to be exact). Not only that but head coach Rick Barnes seems to be having problems with effort. But don’t take my word for it. “He went in, first play of the game, gave up an offensive rebound,” Barnes told the AP about benching Shelden McClellan against Iowa State. “We’re not going to continue to talk about coaching effort.” Horrific shooting. No starting point guard. No effort.
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Texas’ NCAA Tourney Hopes Slipping Before Kabongo’s Return

Posted by dnspewak on January 10th, 2013

Myck Kabongo is not walking through that door. Not until February 13, at least. His Texas team must play eight more games before he returns from his NCAA-mandated  suspension, and by that time there’s a very real possibility the Longhorns could have an overall losing record. Without their star point guard, they’ve managed to reach the midway point of the season with an 8-7 record, fresh off two straight conference losses to open the Big 12 schedule. The hard-fought, overtime loss at Baylor this weekend was excusable.

Last night was not. Texas blew a 10-point lead over West Virginia with less than four minutes to play in regulation, needed a miracle shot by Jonathan Holmes to simply force overtime and then scored three points in the extra period. The Longhorns shot 44 percent from the free throw line, 35 percent from the floor, and had almost twice as many turnovers (14) as assists (8). It’s a good road win for Bob Huggins, whose team needed a boost after its own nightmarish non-conference performance, but let’s not pretend as though Texas’ collapse had nothing to do with this. Without Kabongo, Rick Barnes’ team cannot score. Period. We knew J’Covan Brown wouldn’t be here this year. But Kabongo? He figured to be the heart and soul of this team, the one guy who could create for others and change the dynamic of the offense. Barnes was counting on him to open opportunities for leading returning scorer Sheldon McClellan, blue-chip freshman center Cameron Ridley and the rest of this young squad.

Rick Barnes Is In Danger of Missing the NCAAs for the First Time at Texas

Rick Barnes Is In Danger of Missing the NCAAs for the First Time at Texas

Had Kabongo played last night, there’s no chance Texas would have lost this game on its home floor. There’s no chance it would have blown such a significant lead in the final minutes, and there’s no chance it would have scored three points in an overtime period. When he returns against Iowa State on February 13, this Texas team will transform itself. Kabongo certainly wasn’t perfect a year ago, but this guy changes the game when he steps on the court. His blend of pure athleticism, pure speed and play-making ability is rare for a point guard. Kabongo will have eight games to prove that when his suspension ends in about a month.

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Why it’s a Travesty OU’s Sam Grooms Isn’t Seeing More Time

Posted by dnspewak on January 7th, 2013

When the Big 12 released its 2011-12 All-Conference teams last March, it included a who’s who of elite, nationally-recognized point guards. Tyshawn Taylor of the national runner-up Kansas Jayhawks made the first team. The dynamic Pierre Jackson of Baylor made the second team. Missouri’s Phil Pressey, the league’s leader in assists, made the third team, star Texas freshman Myck Kabongo earned an honorable mention, and the voters even named MU’s Michael Dixon the Sixth Man of the Year.

Why Has Grooms' Time Decreased This Season?

Why Has Grooms’ Time Decreased This Season?

Sam Grooms did not make that list. At all. Not even an honorable mention for the Oklahoma point guard. And when the 2012-13 preseason awards came out this fall, he didn’t make that list, either. Jackson and Kabongo did, but the Big 12’s returning leader in assists was nowhere to be found. Entering this season, it seemed perplexing how much people ignored Grooms and discarded him as a second-rate point guard in this league. Other than Pressey, who moved on to the SEC and was named that league’s preseason Player of the Year, no player in the Big 12 averaged more assists than Grooms a year ago when he dropped six dimes per game. His assist-to-turnover ratio was a stunning 3:1. When Big 12 play heated up, the junior college transfer emerged as a true floor general in spite of his team’s inability to win a basketball game. The statistics tell the entire story. In a five-game stretch last February against the likes of Kansas, Iowa State, Missouri, Texas Tech and Texas, he dished out 43 assists against 11 turnovers and even notched a career-high 17 points against the Tigers. Lon Kruger told a local newspaper Grooms was doing a “terrific job.” Even though Oklahoma’s season ended with a thud with a loss in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament, it was clear Grooms had nothing to do with the Sooners’ slide. On the contrary: He was the bright spot on a 15-16 team. His command for the point guard position and feel for the game was all so promising as Kruger attempted to build for the future. Nobody knew much about Grooms, but we did. I even named him the eighth-best player in the entire conference as he entered his senior year.

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Big 12 M5: 01.04.13 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on January 4th, 2013


  1. It’s not too often you see Baylor on the bad side of recruiting news, but Scott Drew’s 2014 class took a hit when Leron Black announced his de-commitment from the Bears this week. Black, a 6’7” forward from Memphis, originally made a pledge to Drew in September, but he said he rushed the decision, so now he’s re-opened his options to just about every other major program in college basketball. Interestingly, Black was Drew’s only 2014 commitment, but there’s no reason to think he’ll shun Baylor entirely at this point. It’s just that the Bears have some competition now.
  2. Jason King always knows the ins and outs of the Big 12, so here’s a nice read on the state of the league heading into conference play this weekend. No surprises with Kansas atop the conference, but King makes a notable argument hidden in the middle of his article. He said he “wouldn’t be surprised if [Iowa State] finished as high as second in the Big 12 standings.” Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Lost among Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Baylor, it’s easy to forget that Fred Hoiberg’s three losses all came away from home to good competition, including UNLV and Cincinnati. The Cyclones slammed BYU, too, and they’re getting much better play from point guard Korie Lucious after a difficult start to his Iowa State career. We need to see more from ISU before picking it above any of the aforementioned contenders, but it’s clearly a step above the bottom-dwellers and has serious potential.
  3. Iowa State’s non-conference season may not have gotten much attention, but that’s because nothing significant really happened. It wasn’t terrible, and it wasn’t great, either, so nobody said a word. That’s not the case for West Virginia, which actually has the worst record in the league at this point and had to suffer through a nationally-televised debacle at Gonzaga to start its season. According to at least one website, however, maybe the Mountaineers are OK after all. That article points out that West Virginia’s RPI ranks seventh in the Big 12 and its strength of schedule is fourth. Of course, nobody’s going to hang a banner for ranking seventh out of 10 teams in a league, and Bob Huggins’ team has no wins of note unless you think beating Virginia Tech by a point on a game-winner by Juwan Staten is notable. The Hokies subsequently lost by 36 to Colorado State and 26 to BYU, so that should tell you something. Yes, the Mountaineers are indeed in bad shape, and they’ll need a terrific Big 12 season to make up for it. Not just good — that won’t cut it. They need to be world-beaters.
  4. Did Myck Kabongo get a fair shake in the court of public opinion? After reading this well-done piece, we’re not so sure. For weeks, every media outlet has painted Kabongo as some sort of liar to the NCAA, and that’s why he originally received a season-long ban from the governing body. After more facts emerged and the NCAA amended his suspension to 23 games, it’s apparent now that Kabongo lied, but not to the NCAA. He lied to Texas officials. Is that as bad as lying to the authority? We’ll let you decide that. Either way, the fact that most jumped to the conclusion that Kabongo lied to investigators shows that not everybody knew the real story at the start of this whole ordeal.
  5. Bill Self is a basketball coach. Nothing’s ever good enough for basketball coaches. So while we gush about Kansas’ defense, Self isn’t impressed. Here’s the full quote for your enjoyment:  “I’ve watched us play (on film). People are saying too much about our defense. It’s not that good. It’s not… Of all the possessions we have defensively in a game, I guarantee you, 50 percent are bad possessions compared to 50 percent good possessions. The result may end up good because they may miss a shot or they may fumble the ball or make a bad pass or something that doesn’t have much to do with us. I think the biggest area of improvement for us would have to be the defensive end.” And there you have it. Pretty harsh words for the team allowing the fifth-lowest field goal percentage in all of college basketball.
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Morning Five: 01.04.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on January 4th, 2013


  1. Now that non-conference play is essentially done Seth Davis decided to release his annual Buy, Sell, and Hold column. Our microsites are in the process of releasing their responses to Seth’s ratings for the team’s within each conference so be on the lookout for those throughout the day. As for our general overview, as Seth notes he is “bullish” on this year’s field going with 19 “Buys”, 13 “Sells”, and nine “Holds”. We are not exactly sure how the three teams widely considered the best in the country right now (Duke, Indiana, and Louisville) are all listed as a “buy” since that theoretically means that all are being undervalued at this time. We are not sure what kind of market Seth believes in, but it sounds like Seth may not be a disciple of the Chicago school, but instead favors a Zimbabwean model. We wonder what Lanny would have to say about that.
  2. When John Calipari released a series of posts on Wednesday night mentioning something special on Thursday morning we were expecting something ridiculous like the videos he posted of the housing for Kentucky basketball players several months ago. Instead, he  posted a fairly in-depth article about how closely he is monitoring his players. Although this lacks the “wow” factor that we have come to expect from Calipari’s surprises it is an interesting look at the level of detail top programs tend to go through in training there players (we doubt that Calipari is really as far ahead of other coaches as the media would have you believe outside of his social network wizardry).
  3. If you want to see what happens to a coach when his athletic director changes direction on him, check out what happened to Josh Pastner yesterday during his radio interview with Gary Parrish. Recently, Pastner has made multiple comments essentially saying that the rivalry between Memphis and Tennessee was dead and that he didn’t see the need to continue the rivalry. Unfortunately for Pastner, the school and the athletic director had a change of heart and appear to be working on a deal that would extend the rivalry. The result is that Pastner is left having to answer questions for the media about his prior comments. Obviously, Pastner could have handled this much better by simply not being as controversial with his original comments, but it will be interesting to see how Tennessee fans treating him going forward.
  4. Jabari Parker may have kept his recruiting under wraps in terms of letting the media know what was going on, but he did not keep it as “in the family” as he and his father originally stated. According to Parker he also talked to Derrick Rose about the recruiting process and Grant Hill about recovering from his foot injury. While both Rose and Hill are/were great players we are not sure that we would have talked to them about those topics unless we wanted to learn from their mistakes (Rose for the SAT fiasco and Hill for the seemingly unending series of setbacks that curtailed a promising career).
  5. The NCAA has already handed down its ruling in the Myck Kabongo case and although most people have moved on Burnt Orange Nation has a few questions about the entire saga. As they openly admit Kabongo is far from blameless here, but instead takes a look back at the sequence of events that led to the NCAA deciding to suspend Kabongo for a seemingly arbitrary 23 games. As they note the facts in the case do not appear to add up to a suspension of that length particularly since Kabongo allegedly lied to school officials not NCAA officials. While the article’s parent-police analogy may be stretching it a little, it does provide an interesting basis for the argument and serves to raise interesting questions as to how the NCAA made its decision.
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Big 12 Power Rankings: Week Eight

Posted by KoryCarpenter on December 31st, 2012

With schools on Christmas break and a lot of teams giving players a few days off to travel home for the holidays, it was a slow week in the Big 12.  There were only eight games this week, highlighted by Baylor’s 94-87 loss at Gonzaga Friday night. The rest of the schedule was the usual end-of-December no-name games against teams like American and UMKC as teams prepare for the conference season’s start on Saturday. Kansas remains on top of the power rankings for another week after dismantling an overmatched American squad in Allen Fieldhouse Saturday night. The Big 12 microsite staff couldn’t agree on Oklahoma State and Kansas State at No. 2, and the trio of Texas, Oklahoma, and Iowa State were tied for fifth place, so we went to KenPom to settle the score. To reiterate the ranking process, I can’t speak for Danny and Nate but my vote isn’t like a Top 25 ballot where teams are almost automatically moved up or down each week with a win or loss. So Baylor lost to Gonzaga in Spokane. Do I think Iowa State or Oklahoma would have fared any better? If the answer is yes, I vote accordingly. If not, then the Bears might not slip because of the loss. With that out of the way, here is where we stand in week eight:

1) Kansas (11-1, 0-0)
Previous Ranking: 1

With no changes in a slow week in the Big 12, Bill Self's Jayhawks remain at No. 1 in our Power Rankings this week. (Photo credit: AP Photo).

With no changes in a slow week in the Big 12, Bill Self’s Jayhawks remain at No. 1 in our Power Rankings. (Photo credit: AP Photo).

Last Week: W 89-57 vs. American

This Week: Off

  • Rundown: Kansas did what it was supposed to do against American on Saturday in a glorified scrimmage. Bill Self is notorious for vastly improving his teams over the winter break when practice times are less limited, and this year is no different. The Jayhawks have been improving steadily since the close wins over San Jose State and Oregon State at the end of November, winning their last five games by an average of 26.2 PPG.
  • Interesting Stat: Jeff Withey has been so imposing defensively that teams have basically given up trying to score on him lately. In the last five games, Kansas opponents have attempted 23.6 three-pointers per game. And unless you are playing against Reggie Miller and Ray Allen on the perimeter, I think any team would gladly let its opponents shoot that often from deep.

2) Oklahoma State (8-1, 0-0) (KenPom No. 27)
Previous Ranking: 2

Last Week: Off

This Week: Today vs. Gonzaga, 5:00 PM ESPN, Saturday at Kansas State, 12:30 PM

  • Rundown: Gonzaga is 4-0 against the Big 12 this season, looking to make it five wins tonight in Stillwater. Gallagher-Iba Arena should be jumping tonight with the Bulldogs in town, and a Cowboys win would create a definite gap between themselves, Kansas, then everyone else in the conference.
  • Interesting Stat: Even with the talented duo of LeBryan Nash and Marcus Page, the Cowboys have not shot the ball well this year (44.2%), but they are the No.3 adjusted defensive team on Their 81-71 loss to Virginia Tech on December 1 was the only time an opponent has scored over 65 points against them this season. Five teams have failed to reach 50 points against the Cowboys.

3) Kansas State (10-2, 0-0) (KenPom No. 48)
Previous Ranking: 3

Last Week: W 52-44 vs. UMKC

This Week: Today vs. South Dakota State, 1:oo PM, Saturday vs. Oklahoma State, 12:30 PM

  • Rundown: Kansas State struggled against UMKC last week, eventually winning by just 12 points. The Wildcats shot 32.1 % from the field against the Kangaroos, but I will consider it a letdown after beating then No. 8 Florida in Kansas City the week prior. 
  • Interesting Stat: Like Oklahoma State, Kansas State does not shoot the ball well (41.4% on the season) but they still have Frank Martin’s identity. They have grabbed 206 offensive rebounds this season (17.1 ORPG).

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Big 12 M5: 12.27.12 Edition

Posted by KoryCarpenter on December 27th, 2012


  1. If the annual conference realignment fiasco has taught us one thing, it’s that the NCAA doesn’t have as much power as it once did. Coaches and media members have hinted at the idea of the major conferences and schools eventually breaking away and doing things their way, without the dozens — hundreds in basketball’s case — of small schools taking a piece of the pie. When that time draws near, stories like the Myck Kabongo investigation will not help the NCAA’s case. The NCAA is more inconsistent than midwestern weather. One player accepts cash from a booster and gets a 10-game suspension. Another player catches a ride from someone and has to sit out three games. Kabongo took a flight and worked out with NBA personnel and is suspended for 23 games. Some coaches are punished for putting schools on probation. Other coaches bolt to different jobs and win championships at blue bloods without a scratch.
  2. If you want to see what some of your favorite former college players are up to, go watch an NBA D-League game sometime. It’s a great place to pick up some “Where Are They Now” trivia questions. If you can’t stomach that (I wouldn’t blame you) take a look at the end of a college team’s bench and you might recognize a few young coaches who were recent players. Former Oklahoma State guard Keiton Page turned down the chance to play professionally overseas to begin his coaching career on the ground floor. He’s now the Cowboys’ assistant strength and conditioning coach, a title that wouldn’t surprise me if told it was created just for him. He seems to be using the opportunity as an internship for a coaching career, and this opportunity should provide him plenty of experience in the next few years.
  3. Gary Parrish’s Poll Attacks is back this week, and he doesn’t like the fact that Bruce Weber’s Kansas State team is still unranked in the Coaches poll. It’s hard to argue with any of Parrish’s points on the Wildcats, either. I figured they would debut in both polls after beating a top 10 Florida team in Kansas City last Saturday night. They got the 25th spot in the AP Poll, but are still behind New Mexico and North Carolina in the “Others Receiving Votes” category of the Coaches poll. As Parrish points out, it is hard to find a reason to put North Carolina ahead of Kansas State right now. Luckily, we have this tournament at the end of the year to settle things.
  4. Former top-rated recruit Josh Smith seems to have eaten his way out of UCLA. He struggled with his weight during most of his career with the Bruins and looked to be north of 300 pounds most of the time. He left the school not too long ago and is looking to end his career at one of three schools: Georgetown, Washington, and Kansas. Bill Self has been churning out NBA big men for years now and Kansas strength coach Andrea Hudy is one of the best in the country. Self and Hudy (and former assistant Danny Manning, too) turned Marcus and Markieff Morris from skinny reeds to solid NBA scorers. Cole Aldrich went from a clumsy tall guy to a lottery pick, and current center Jeff Withey is only the best defensive player in the country. If anyone can get Smith’s weight down and turn him into a legitimate player who can stay on the court, it is the duo of Self and Hudy.
  5. Luke Meredith of the Washington Times finally noticed what we have been saying here at RTC for a while now: The Big 12 is anything but deep this season. Can Oklahoma State challenge Kansas for the regular season conference title? That is about the only compelling discussion around the league right now. West Virginia and Baylor have underperformed. Texas has, too, but at least the Longhorns have a good reason. Kansas State looks to be good for a few upsets this season but that might be it. None of the middle-of-the-road teams like Iowa State or Oklahoma have surprised anyone either, leaving us with the Jayhawks on track to win their ninth consecutive conference title and roll to another top seed in the NCAA Tournament. Someone feel free to make things interesting.
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