Grading the Big 12’s 2011-12 Season: Top Half

Posted by rtmsf on April 6th, 2012

Yesterday we gave you our season grades for the bottom half of the Big 12. Today we bring you the top half.

5. Kansas State (22-11, 10-8)

McGruder Led a Surprising K-State Team This Season


Despite all of the personnel question marks and the graduation of star Jacob Pullen, you had the sense Frank Martin would figure something out. He certainly did, as his team weathered a mid-season swoon to finish strong and reach another NCAA Tournament. Martin may have left for South Carolina after the season, but his final Kansas State team fought hard in 2011-12 despite a load of adversity. A December championship at the Diamond Head Classic helped the Wildcats enter the Top 25 before Big 12 play, but poor offensive execution and a lack of consistency on the defensive end doomed the Wildcats during the winter. They weren’t playing like Martin’s teams usually did. They weren’t tough, and it showed, starting 1-3 in Big 12 play and dropping four home games in Manhattan. Oklahoma swept them. Things were getting ugly, and they hit rock bottom after a home loss to Kansas on Big Monday on February 13. That’s when Martin turned this thing around and solidified an NCAA Tournament berth. The Wildcats got back to the basics: defense, rebounding and delivering a knockout punch to opponents. Rodney McGruder stepped up his play as the team’s star, helping it win four of five games to close the season, including road wins at Baylor and Missouri. The controversial suspension of Jamar Samuels left Kansas State without its best forward in an NCAA Third Round game against Syracuse, but it’s impressive that this team even reached that point. With McGruder presumably returning next year, first-year coach Bruce Weber will have a lot to work with. Angel Rodriguez should be even better as a sophomore, and Will Spradling and Jordan Henriquez should grow, too.

4. Iowa State (23-11, 12-6) 


The Transfer Effect worked to Iowa State’s benefit this year. In December, we wrote a piece questioning Fred Hoiberg’s recruiting tactics, as he’d brought in four Division I transfers this season. It took a while for everybody to get acclimated, resulting in a couple of losses to Drake and Northern Iowa during an inconsistent non-conference stretch. But once league play began, this team took off. Royce White took the nation by storm with his wild hair and versatile play, showing an ability to run the Cyclones’ offense as a sort of point-forward. He emerged as one of the most fascinating and entertaining players to watch in college basketball, but the team around him helped add to the fun. These guys shot lights-out from beyond the arc, including senior Scott Christopherson, who finished with the highest three-point percentage in the Big 12 (45.5%) for players with more than four attempts per game. Hoiberg added a fresh energy to this program, leading ISU to a victory over Connecticut in the NCAA Tournament. His team even briefly competed against Kentucky before falling apart late in that matchup. There was no fairy-tale March run for The Mayor, but given time, his program may eventually reach those heights. The 2011-12 season marked a major turning point for the Cyclones.

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Grading the Big 12’s 2011-12 Season: Bottom Half

Posted by dnspewak on April 5th, 2012

With the 2011-12 campaign now just a memory, it’s difficult to actually remember all of the drama and agony the Big 12 experienced during the last five months. Kansas’ thrilling loss to Duke in the Maui Invitational seems like ages ago, as does the Jayhawks’ first loss to Kentucky at Madison Square Garden. Remember when Missouri and Baylor were only a few of the remaining unbeaten teams in college basketball? Or when Texas found a way to lose game after game in the most heartbreaking fashion? These memories are hard to digest, but you’ll probably never forget the Border War drama between Kansas and Missouri, nor will you forget Iowa State’s rise thanks to the brilliant play of Royce White. The Big 12 kept playing until the final game of the 2011-12 season, ending with Kansas’ loss to Kentucky in the title game on Monday. And with the conclusion of this wild campaign, the final grades are in. Kansas earns an A+. Big surprise. Texas A&M earns an F. Big surprise, too, but for different reasons. The other eight teams settled into a grade somewhere between those two extremes.

We’ll cover the bottom half of the league today, and the top half tomorrow.

10. Texas Tech (8-23, 1-17)

Gillispie's First Year in Lubbock Wasn't Great


The Red Raiders get a free pass in Billy Gillispie‘s first season. Playing almost exclusively with newcomers, Texas Tech had no chance this year. Robert Lewandowski was the only senior on the roster, but not even he could lead this team to any sort of success. Their inexperience was just too much to overcome. The Red Raiders were plagued by turnovers all season and they never got consistent point guard play. Jordan Tolbert emerged as the leading scorer in the frontcourt, and he played the most consistent basketball on the team from November through February. Still, even after a last-place finish, Texas Tech should not worry about the state of this program. Gillispie’s success at UTEP and Texas A&M proves he can win in this state, and he’ll have almost everybody back next season.

9. Texas A&M (14-18, 4-14)


Sorry, A&M. You fail. Picked in the pre-season to win the Big 12, the Aggies suffered through a nightmare year, though there are extenuating circumstances to consider here. Coach Billy Kennedy learned of a Parkinson’s diagnosis in the fall, which kept him sidelined for fall practice and away from his team during critical teaching moments. As a first-year coach, Kennedy never had the chance to establish himself to his new players. Adding to the woes, many of those players missed time themselves with injuries. Star wing Khris Middleton had surgery on his knee in November and sat out part of Big 12 play. Point guard Dash Harris missed a handful of games, too, and his backup Jamal Branch transferred before conference play. Kourtney Roberson played only nine games before his season ended due to injury as well. As the troubles mounted, the losses began to pile up. The Aggies simply could not score because of all the roster turnover and the lack of creators on the offensive end. We thought this team could muscle its way to a Big 12 title by playing with the principles former coach Mark Turgeon instilled, but that never happened. Now, Kennedy must revamp this program and forget about the 2011-12 nightmare.

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Big 12 Morning Five: 03.22.12 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on March 22nd, 2012

  1. Fred Hoiberg may have led his team to an NCAA Tournament victory this season, but he can now brag about another impressive feat–sending a player to the NBA. Royce White declared for the NBA Draft yesterday and says he will sign with an agent soon. Yes, it’s certainly a blow to Hoiberg’s 2012-13 roster. But considering his team finished with just three Big 12 victories in his first season, qualifying for the Big Dance and sending a star to the pros is another sign that Hoiberg has the ball rolling with Ames. Look out, recruiting trail: The Mayor is here, and he’s building quite a college resume.
  2. J’Covan Brown also joined White by announcing he will skip his senior season. This one hurts for Rick Barnes. If point guard Myck Kabongo also follows suit, Barnes may need to rebuild again with more young parts in 2012-13. If Kabongo comes back, though, he could be one of the league’s better point guards, and he could serve as the catalyst for a Longhorns squad ready to take a leap and build off this year’s NCAA Tournament appearance.
  3. Fans in St. Louis better be ready for Thomas Robinson in the Midwest Regional, because he’s on a mission to earn Kansas a national championship. Robinson is already a Naismith finalist, but the NCAA Tournament is where legends are made. He has the ability– “he tries too hard,” coach Bill Self said. Now, it’s time for him to showcase his talents as he will inevitably head to the NBA where he belongs.
  4. It’s hard to believe, but Baylor‘s Brady Heslip used to be, well, a little chunky. Let teammate Quincy Miller tell the story: “I saw the pictures of him when he was fat. He had a couple of extra chins.” Now, though, he’s lost 24 pounds, and it’s certainly helped him on the court. The interesting thing about this story is Heslip does not fit the traditional mold of a player who needs to shed weight. Normally, you think of Dexter Pittman-type centers who need to lose 70 pounds and remake their bodies. In Heslip’s case, all he needed was to cut out a little junk food. Looks like it worked.
  5. It’s NCAA Tournament time, but it’s never too early to look to next season. That’s when TCU will join the conference along with West Virginia. After an 18-15 season, the Horned Frogs are feeling confident about their modest success and the future of their program in the Big 12. TCU hadn’t made the post-season since 2005, so this year’s CBI appearance is at least something to build on.
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Morning Five: 03.22.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on March 22nd, 2012

  1. This time the courtship did not last long as Shaka Smart announced yesterday that he would not become the next coach at Illinois and would remain the head coach at VCU. While Smart did not rule out moving on to another job we cannot imagine another opening much better than Illinois, which frankly is an overrated position, coming open during the offseason. Now Illinois will have to move onto another candidate. Two of the more interesting candidates we have heard mentioned are Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton and Duke assistant Chris Collins.
  2. If you watched Iowa State‘s brief NCAA Tournament appearance, Royce White‘s announcement that he will be entering the NBA Draft and hiring an agent should not be a surprise. Despite dealing with well-chronicled psychiatric problems, White emerged as a potential lottery pick who more than stood his own against four likely top ten picks in the first two rounds. We assume that with the millions invested in White by a NBA team they will also spend the requisite money to ensure that he continues to get the medical attention that he needs.
  3. The exodus may have started in Storrs where Alex Oriakhi announced yesterday that he will be transferring from Connecticut. Oriakhi, who struggled through much of the season after seeing his playing time cut drastically with the late arrival of Andre Drummond, had voiced his displeasure with how things were handled in Storrs earlier in the season. Now he will be looking for a new place to complete his college career. Oriakhi, who has one year of eligibility remaining, could be available to play next year if Connecticut’s NCAA Tournament ban is upheld, but would have to sit out a year if they are eligible to participate.
  4. After a brief hiatus while preparing for the opening week of the NCAA Tournament, Luke Winn is back with his weekly power rankings. As you might expect Winn’s analysis is more focused for the Sweet Sixteen with a look at how they match up with their opponent. The one figure that might be the most noteworthy is his analysis of fouls against Cody Zeller and Anthony Davis, which is particularly relevant because Indiana‘s 74-73 win is one of the few games this year where Davis was in foul trouble.
  5. According to reports Villanova junior Maalik Wayns will sign with an agent. When Wayns declared last week without signing with an agent we barely paid attention because we assumed that Wayns would learn that he was by no means guaranteed a spot on a NBA roster. While we cannot comment fully on the situation because we do not know if Wayns has an urgent financial/family reason for turning pro, but if he does not then all we can say is that it is a really bad decision.
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This is Why We Warned You About Iowa State

Posted by dnspewak on March 16th, 2012

In the midst of discussion about Jim Calhoun’s future and the untapped potential of the defending champion Connecticut Huskies, it seems that everybody forgot about Iowa State. Right on cue, the forgotten Cyclones advanced to the second (or is it third?) round with a 77-64 victory on Thursday. Of course, we already told you yesterday the Cyclones could potentially spell danger in the NCAA Tournament. Although we would like to take credit for that prediction, it really was not a brilliant call by any means. Facing a team that underachieved all year long, Fred Hoiberg‘s overachieving bunch of transfer misfits embarrassed UConn in the first half, leading by as many as 22 points. Scott Christopherson couldn’t miss, and the team as a whole looked tougher, more mature and more focused than the young Huskies.

Anthony Davis & Kentucky Should Be Weary Of Royce White & The Cyclones

That hot start helped Iowa State withstand a rally by Connecticut. In the end, this was a statement victory for Iowa State. A statement that Hoiberg is no flash in the pan in 2011-12; that these guys can surely give Kentucky a game on Saturday. It’s hard to remember this Iowa State team actually finished third in the Big 12, considering absolutely nobody gave it a chance to knock off the defending champs. Yet after just minutes, the Cyclones wiped the floor with the big, bad Huskies of the Big East, eventually outrebounding them by 19 and holding them to 37.5 percent from the floor.

That turns our attention to Saturday. As you have heard at least a dozen times on CBS or a Turner affiliate in the past, say, 10 minutes, Kentucky can block shots. Lots of them. Anthony Davis is really good, and so is Terrance Jones. And as you’ve heard a million times, the key to beating a team with those kinds of shot-blockers is to burn them from the outside. That’s exactly what Iowa State can do. Forget Royce White. A stud, for sure, but Christopherson, Chris Allen and Tyrus McGee will need to shoulder the load from the perimeter.

Iowa State already knocked off Kansas at home this year, so it’s no stranger to defeating the nation’s top teams. If it rebounds as well as it did against UConn, we may have a ballgame.

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ATB: Big Dance Day One Roundup — Two Upsets, Top Four Seeds Roll, Defending Champs Are Gone…

Posted by EJacoby on March 16th, 2012

Tonight’s Lede – It’s madness, baby!!! The real start of the NCAA Tournament arrived on Thursday afternoon, as did the collective drop of productivity from employees across the country. March Madness brings the best sick days, mobile apps, and computer split screens out of us, in the pursuit of tracking our brackets and following our favorite teams throughout the day. This Thursday is always special; the mark of the most exciting postseason in sports, and this year was no different. Despite the lack of buzzer-beaters and major upsets, day one was still a fantastic day of college basketball with plenty of key storylines. More fascinating finishes and thrilling games are surely on the way, but let’s take a look at all the action from the first half of the round of 64…

Your Watercooler Moment. #12 VCU Pulls Another Shaka.

Wichita State Was Devastated After Shaka Smart's Boys Pulled Another Upset (US Presswire)

It was just last year when Shaka Smart’s VCU Rams pulled off one of the all-time great Cinderella runs in NCAA Tournament history, winning five games as a #11 seed to go from the First Four to the Final Four in the 2011 Big Dance. In 2012, things were expected to be different — VCU is no longer a sleeper, the Rams were stuck with an even worse seed, and they had to take on a fellow strong mid-major team with Sweet Sixteen aspirations of their own. But the VCU boys did it again, or at least completed stage one of another improbable run. The #12 seed Rams defeated #5 Wichita State in a thrilling game, 62-59, for the biggest upset of day one. VCU jumped to a quick advantage and led by nine at halftime, but a late run by the Shockers gave WSU the lead with about two minutes to play. Bradford Burgess, the lone returning starter from last year’s Final Four team, answered with the biggest shot of the night — a three from the corner that would give VCU a lead that it did not relinquish. Joe Ragland and Toure’ Murry did their best to keep Wichita State’s dreams alive, but VCU was not to be denied on this day. Burgess finished with 16 points, five boards, four assists, and two steals in the win, which sends VCU to a date with #4 Indiana on Saturday.

Also Worth Chatting About. #16 UNC Asheville Nearly Makes History. #16 seeds were 0-108 all-time in the NCAA Tournament coming into Thursday, but nobody told the Bulldogs, a senior-laden team that was fired up to take on a reeling Orange team after word that their center Fab Melo would be ineligible for the Tournament. Without Melo, Syracuse was completely out of sorts, though the player’s absence was no excuse for the rest of the team to play so poorly on both ends. ‘Cuse survived and will move on to Saturday while putting this game behind them, but the story was UNC Asheville’s incredible effort to nearly win this game. The Bulldogs led by four points at halftime and hung tough for the entire 40 minutes despite leading scorer Matt Dickey only shooting 1-13 with five points! Asheville got 18 points from J.P. Primm and all of the team box score statistics were very similar in this game, but Syracuse’s late-game execution proved to be too much. Plenty of fans and media members will say that poor officiating was a large factor in the outcome, as UNCA may have gotten jobbed on several calls in the final four minutes. There was one undoubtedly awful call against Asheville that should have resulted in a Syracuse turnover, but blaming the loss on the referees is not something coach Eddie Biedenbach would do. It was a valiant effort by the Bulldogs that just came short, ending in a seven point win for Cuse. The Orange survive to play #8 Kansas State in the next round on Saturday.

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Rushed Reaction: #8 Iowa State 77, #9 Connecticut 64

Posted by jstevrtc on March 15th, 2012

Three Key Takeaways.

  1. Pardon Our Cliches… If you watched this game, you saw exactly what we did, in terms of the most important takeaway from this game. Connecticut’s roster oozed with talent. Kentucky fans stuck around for this game because they feared seeing UConn again, and for good reason. UConn had enough NBA talent on that roster to frustrate Kentucky. Both Kentucky- and non-Kentucky fans knew it. It was evident in the Big East tournament last week, even in the close loss to Syracuse. All they needed to play like that is motivation. You would think that, this being the NCAA Tournament and all, motivation would be the last of a talented roster’s problems. So here it comes: Connecticut had more talented individuals. Iowa State, from tip to buzzer, was the better team.
  2. Whither Jim Calhoun? Given his health problems and frequent absences from games this season, will it be back to Storrs next year, or will that loss be how he departs the scene? Twitter buzzed with this question in the dying moments of this game, and the speculation will continue until he puts paid to the question with a definitive statement. And we wouldn’t expect that until after the tournament is over. He would not address the issue in the post-game.
  3. Royce White Won the Key Battle. You would never have thought such a sentence would have ever been written a while back when White made that strange exit from Tubby Smith’s Minnesota squad, but the matchup everyone was watching tonight was White versus (sometimes) whiz-kid Andre Drummond. The latter was virtually non-existent (two points, three rebounds) save for four blocks, and his head was clearly elsewhere all night. White wasn’t exactly himself for the first 30 minutes or so, but took over on both ends of the floor late, just like a leader should. He ended with 15/11 on 6-10 shooting, and a new legion of  believers, we’d say.

Star of the Game. White impressed us with his leadership late in the proceedings, especially when Ryan Boatright shrank the ISU lead down to six with a 5-0 run of his own making. Aside from that, though, the most important part of this game was the opening punch landed by Cyclone guards Scott Christopherson and Chris Allen, outhustling the Huskies’ backcourt, getting into the lane easily, and propelling ISU out to an early 20-point lead. Connecticut never really recovered except for the small run in the second half that amounted to little. Those guards deserve some of the SOTG credit.

Quotable. Jim Calhoun: “They played 40 minutes. We played sporadically.” Completely true. It would be interesting to put some of these Huskies on a polygraph and ask them if they’re just a little bit glad this season is over. We don’t think they totally mind this. Calhoun tried to dilute it by saying, “If Connecticut wins 20-25 games a year and goes to the NCAA Tournament, we’ll always be happy,” but that is not the Connecticut standard. It’s been a tough season, and Calhoun admitted as much, and we think it’s one the program is glad to see the back of.

Sights & Sounds. As mentioned, most Kentucky fans stayed for this one. No question the added fan support was appreciated by Iowa State. We, uh, wouldn’t count on that come Saturday. Great motivational tactic for the Cyclones, right? We can already hear Fred Hoiberg and the ISU coaches whispering in their players’ ears, “They stayed to root for you because they thought you were the weaker team. Make them regret they cheered for you.”

What’s Next? Obviously, Iowa State gets Kentucky in the marquee game on Saturday night. Royce White has the last word, speaking about Kentucky: “You see them every night on ESPN. They have a great team, they’re number one for a reason. Great coach, great tradition, great program there, Kentucky basketball. We’re gonna go back and watch some film, and we’re gonna try and figure out their strengths and weaknesses, just like every other team has tried. I’m sure our coaches will come up with a solid game plan just like they have all year long.” He does not sound intimidated.

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Water Cooler Talk: How Will the Big 12 Fare in the NCAAs?

Posted by dnspewak on March 15th, 2012

With the Madness kicking off Thursday, every workplace and classroom in America will buzz with NCAA Tournament talk, regardless of whether your co-workers or classmates have watched even a single game of college basketball this season. RTC Big 12 writers Clark Williams and Danny Spewak have watched a lot of basketball — too much, in fact — and they’ve got a take on how this edition of March Madness should go down in the Big 12.

Danny: Can’t wait to get started here. Let’s get right into it — Clark, who’s the ripest for an upset of the top three in the Big 12? Missouri, Kansas or Baylor?

Both Of Us Think Scott Drew's Baylor Squad Is the Most Vulnerable of the Big Three

Clark: When you think of the First Round of the tournament, you immediately think of upsets. They are what make the Tournament immediately great (assuming it was not your team that was just upset). Baylor, Missouri, and Kansas are all seeded highly enough to where a loss Thursday or Friday would be considered a colossal upset. Of the three, though, I’d say Baylor is most at risk for an early exit. While Missouri is going to play against a fired-up Norfolk State, and Kansas against former McDonald’s All-American Ray McCallum,  I think both teams will get past those teams unscathed. Baylor, however, has to play a sharpshooting squad from South Dakota State, and if Bad Baylor shows up, they could be heading home to Waco much earlier than anticipated.

Danny: Yeah, Baylor is probably most vulnerable because it has played a little inconsistently at times during Big 12 play. It’s not as though the Bears have a ton of bad losses, though, and Perry Jones played like a man in the Big 12 Tournament. I don’t think Missouri’s got much to worry about with Norfolk State, and I only think Kansas has to worry because it is playing such a solid opponent. I’m not worried about Kansas necessarily, just that it’s facing a team with high-major talent Friday. This Detroit team was tabbed by many to win the Horizon League, and we’ve all heard the story of coach’s son Ray McCallum and the future pro Eli Holman at center. The Jayhawks will probably win by 20, but you never know if the bad memories of Bucknell/Bradley/Northern Iowa/VCU will become a self-fulfilling prophecy if the game gets close.

Clark: OK, Danny, how about Texas? Your thoughts on the Longhorns?

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SEC NCAA Tournament Primer: Thursday/Saturday Games

Posted by EMoyer on March 15th, 2012

On Thursday, Kentucky and Vanderbilt open their NCAA Tournament runs facing Western Kentucky and Harvard, respectively. Here we preview the Thursday/Saturday possibilities for the Wildcats and Commodores.

SEC NCAA Tournament Thursday/Saturday Capsules

SOUTH Region 

  • #1 Kentucky: Championship Appearances: 53; Record 107-47; Best Finish: Champion – 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998; How Qualified: At-Large, SEC; Last Appearance: 2011 – L, National Semifinal
  • #16 Western Kentucky: Championship Appearances: 22; Record 19-22; Best Finish: Third Place – 1971; How Qualified: Automatic Bid, Sun Belt Conference; Last Appearance: 2009 – L, Second Round
  • #8 Iowa State: Championship Appearances: 14; Record 12-13; Best Finish: Final Four  – 1944; How Qualified: At Large, Big 12; Last Appearance: 2005 – L, Second Round
  • #9 Connecticut: Championship Appearances: 47; Record 35-43; Best Finish: Champion – 1999, 2004, 2011; How Qualified: At Large, Big East; Last Appearance: 2011 – Champion
All-Time Meetings
  • Kentucky vs Western Kentucky: Kentucky leads 3-2; Last Meeting: Nov. 15, 2001 (Western Kentucky 64, Kentucky 52)
  • Kentucky vs Iowa State: Kentucky leads 2-0; Last Meeting: Mar. 22, 1992 (Kentucky 106, Iowa State 98)
  • Kentucky vs Connecticut: Connecticut leads 3-1; Last Meeting: April 2, 2011 (Connecticut 56, Kentucky 55)
A Starting 5 of the Top Players Kentucky Could Face
  • Derrick Gordon, Western Kentucky, Fr., G: Gordon has amassed 400 points in his first year as a Hilltopper. Only two freshmen have scored more points in Western Kentucky history (Courtney Lee, 467;  Ralph Crosthwaite, 437). He is on pace to become the first Hilltopper freshman to pace the team in scoring and he will be the first in five years to lead in rebounding.
  • Chris Allen, Iowa State, Sr., G: Allen leads the team with 72 3-point field goals and he has played in the most NCAA Tournament games (14) in this year’s 68-team field. Allen played in two Final Fours for Michigan State (2009, 2010.
  • Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut, So., G: Lamb earned First-Team All-Big East honors and the NABC District I Player of the Year after leading the Huskies in scoring at 17.1 points per game.
  • Royce White, Iowa State, So., F: White is the only player in the nation to lead his team in scoring (13.1), rebounding (9.2), assists (5.1), steals (1.2) and blocks (0.9). He is on the verge of posting top-10 single seasons in assists and rebounds in Cyclone history. He is one of 12 players in the county to post a triple-double this season.
  • Andre Drummond, Connecticut, Fr., C: Drummond has tallied 10 double-doubles this season, a UConn freshman record under Coach Jim Calhoun. He won four Big East Rookie of the Week honors, and leads the team in rebounding (7.7) and blocks (2.7).
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Big 12 Key Questions: NCAA Tournament

Posted by dnspewak on March 14th, 2012

Despite hiding relatively under the radar for most of the regular season, 60% of the Big 12 will represent the league in the NCAA Tournament this week. Texas was the last team to cement its at-large bid, knocking off Iowa State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament to secure an 11 seed. Here’s a team-by-team look at the burning questions this weekend (apologies in advance for that Jim Rome reference):


Will its lack of size eventually be its downfall? The Tigers have proven this season that they are capable of overcoming a thin frontcourt. If it was really such an issue, they would not have won a Big 12 Tournament title and finished with 30 victories. Still, when Frank Haith‘s team runs into a team with dominant bigs, it will simply have less room for error. A foul-ridden game by either Ricardo Ratliffe or Steve Moore could end Missouri’s season.

Can Frank Haith Continue To Highlight Missouri's Strengths & Hide Its Weaknesses?


Will it overlook Detroit? Hard to say. The idea of “overlooking” anyone in the NCAA Tournament is a little trite, but the Jayhawks actually did draw a scary matchup in this instance. Nobody’s going to doubt Bill Self with all of his Big 12 titles and a national title to his name, but you have to take the good with the bad. He has suffered four fairly enormous upsets during his tenure: Bucknell (2005) Bradley (2006), Northern Iowa (2010), and VCU (2011). Will the trend continue? Probably not, but Detroit is a team that has high-major talent and underachieved in the regular season. Remember, they were a trendy pick to win the Horizon over the two-time national runner-ups.

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