Big 12 Morning Five: 02.17.11 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on February 17th, 2012

  1. Jeff Withey has arrived. From his early days as a transfer from Arizona and a project at the center position, Withey has now emerged late this winter as a terrific second option to Thomas Robinson in the frontcourt. It’s been an interesting transformation to watch, especially because he became lost in the shuffle behind the Morris twins last season. Once a stud recruit out of high school, Withey has finally learned to play at this level. This won’t be the last article we read about him.
  2. Take this one, for example, which compares Withey to Jeremy Lin. That’s pretty high praise, but it’s not all that far off the mark. Sure, Lin’s production has been historic, but Withey’s also somewhat of a feel-good story out of nowhere. Plus, according to the article, they apparently once appeared in the same building in California six years ago. Unfortunately for Withey, they never actually met, but he’s getting his own Linsanity treatment at Kansas. “Walking on campus, everybody wants to talk to you,” WIthey said. “You definitely try to stay humble.”
  3. Just one more Kansas article to pass along here: how many different awards could this Kansas team win? Thomas Robinson just might be the Player of the Year, Tyshawn Taylor‘s in the conversation for all kinds of accolades, Bill Self could win Coach of the Year, and Withey is making a name for himself as well. Self is the most interesting case here. He even admitted himself before the season he was concerned about the talent level on this team, but do we give him credit for, say, Robinson’s emergence as a POY candidate?
  4. For any Missouri fans still reading through all the Jayhawk talk, here’s a look at the Tigers move to the SEC from a financial standpoint. Apparently, Missouri still needs to pay its exit fees though that should not be a problem here in the near future. The most intriguing part of the article is the Big 12’s benefit from the Tigers despite their departure. If Missouri makes a deep run in the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and brings in major revenue, the conference will see that money even after it leaves for the SEC. That’s not a bad deal for the Big 12… not at all.
  5. Rick Barnes has established a winning program at Texas by making 13 straight NCAA Tournaments. His 2011-12 team has overcome a roadblock to put itself in position for another at-large bid, but the Longhorns haven’t won in typical Barnes fashion. For starters, they’re playing their best basketball late instead of early. More strikingly, this team is different because, frankly, it does not have major NBA-ready talent on the roster. Sure, Myck Kabongo, J’Covan Brown, and a few others have serious pro potential somewhere down the line, but T.J. Ford isn’t walking through the door.
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