Big 12 Morning Five: 01.17.12 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on January 17th, 2012

  1. Cameron Clark had a productive freshman season for Oklahoma leading many (like yours truly) to believe he would break out as a sophomore this year. He hasn’t reached star status yet, but Clark is starting to emerge as of late. The 6’6” guard scored 10 points in a win over Kansas State, and his coaches and teammates say they are starting to see him play with more and more confidence as the year progresses. Romero Osby even says Clark is one of the best players on the floor every time he plays a game, which is high praise coming from one of the Big 12’s best rebounders. And here’s an interesting fact: Clark averages 13.1 points per game during Oklahoma wins and just 6.3 points per game in losses. Sounds like he’s a forgotten piece of Lon Kruger‘s team.
  2. In another part of the state, Oklahoma State is trying to find a way to recover from a 40-point beatdown by Baylor this weekend. But at least one writer says we shouldn’t give up the on the Cowboys just yet. No, Oklahoma State won’t compete for a Big 12 title with all of the injuries and transfers it has dealt with so far, but the guy has a point. This team is still 2-2 in the league, and if LeBryan Nash ever emerges as a star, this team could finally find a way to score consistently. This team is already fairly solid defensively, so just a little boost from Nash, Keiton Page and perhaps another option could help Travis Ford at least salvage a post-season berth and winning league record.
  3. Texas is a mainstay in the NCAA tournament. In fact, Rick Barnes has never missed the Big Dance since arriving in Austin 13 seasons ago. That streak may end this season, unless Texas can find a way to finish above .500 in the Big 12 and knock off a few quality opponents. The young Longhorns are still getting inconsistent production out of Myck Kabongo, but you have to think he and the rest of the freshmen on this team will step up to help J’Covan Brown one of these days. Luckily, Texas will still has several contests with Baylor, Kansas, and Missouri looming so it has a chance to improve its resume before March.
  4. After Kansas State‘s loss to Baylor, Frank Martin did not throw his hands in the air and simply attribute the loss to playing against a great team. Instead, he punished a few players (like Angel Rodriguez) by making them run stairs while the rest of the team watched tape. Martin then relegated Rodriguez to the bench against Oklahoma, a game it lost in Norman by nine points– though it was uglier than that margin would suggest. Although Martin’s tactics seem like a little much, the man knows what he’s doing. Last season, after his pre-season top-25 team hit a free-fall in the middle of the season, Martin rallied that group and recovered just fine. Although the 1-3 record in the Big 12 doesn’t look very good, Martin will find a way to turn things around.
  5. The NBA comparisons for Royce White are ridiculous. Fred Hoiberg says he’s Kevin Garnett; Frank Haith says he’s Magic Johnson. And now, Travis Ford says he’s Jamal Mashburn. Ford says White is one of the best ball-handling forwards he’s see in the Big 12, and the guy certainly deserves every accolade opposing coaches give him. But this is starting to get a little wild. Why not let him establish himself instead of placing him on a pedestal next to NBA greats? At least White has a sense of humor about all of this. Remember, he did say that Haith’s comparison to Magic was “outrageous.”
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