Blog Entry

BIG 12 Preview

Posted on: October 23, 2008 12:01 am
Edited on: October 23, 2008 4:05 pm
 
     What is there to say about the Big 12 other than it never fails its fans to provide an exciting season. Last season the Kansas Jayhawks provided the Big 12 with another National Title in an amazing win over the Memphis Tigers. It seems that there is always a team or two making a run at a national title or at the very least a Final Four appearance. Whether it is Kansas, Texas, or Oklahoma State the Big 12 always provides contenders and big stars. The Big 12 has provided back to back “one-and-done” sensations in Kevin Durant (Texas, 2007) and Michael Beasley (Kansas State, 2008) whose stats were nearly identical in their exemplary play in the NCAA.
     This coming season promises nothing less. The up and coming OU Sooners are the preseason number one and look to prove they can hold on to it with a young talented team. Nipping at OU’s heals would be the Texas Longhorns who played in last year’s Elite Eight. Kansas is and always will be a “big dog” of the Big 12, especially with a National Title last year. As the Big 12 does in every other sport, it will prove this year why it is the most dominant conference in College basketball. This preview will cover all 12 teams and show each team strength, weakness, and potential. NCAA basketball is here and so is the Big 12, ready to provide another exciting season and run after another National Championship.

 

  • BAYLOR- The Baylor Bears had as great a season as they have had in years with a bid to the NCAA tournament last year. The last time Baylor had been in the tournament was in 1988, and they look to return this season with a special star athlete leading the way. Curtis Jerrells is one of the most talented guards in the Big 12. He has led the Bears in scoring for the last three seasons and is only the fifth player in school history who has done so. Head Coach Scott Drew has done a phenomenal job turning this once dying program into the rising star it has become.  Since Drew has taken over in 2003, he has led his Bears to their fourth 20-win season in the history of Baylor Basketball. The Bears have definitely gained attention from the rest of the country, and for that reason they have an unprecedented 25 televised games this season. Baylor brings a strong team as a possible Cinderella to the Big 12 this year.
  • COLORADO- The Colorado Buffaloes look to turn things around this season as they struggled last year with a 12-20 record. The Buffaloes are still trying to build their team to Big 12 like numbers and took steps forward last year by hiring Coach Jeff Bzdelik. This year the Buffaloes bring in a very young and inexperienced team. A surprise star for the Buff’s this year could be the redshirt sophomore Casey Crawford. Crawford transferred to the Buffs from the ACC and spent the entire last year learning the new system that Coach Bzdelik has put in place. The Buffaloes have a lot of work to do to become a contender in the Big 12 but are still young and have plenty of good games ahead this season and seasons to come. Be happy with a .500 season Buffalo fan.
  • IOWA STATE- The Iowa State Cyclones are looking to improve from a 4-12 Conference record. Overall the Cyclones finished last season 14-18. This will be Coach Greg McDermott’s third season with the Cyclones, and he looks to his young talent to step up to the challenge this year. Coach McDermott leads his team with his great attitude and love for his home state of Iowa and Iowa basketball. An exceptional recruit to help the Cyclones to victory this year will be Dominique Buckley, from Detroit Michigan. He was highly touted as a first-team Detroit Free Press all-state pick from Romulus High school in Detroit. This season’s schedule may be just what this young team needs to get ahead, with key games at home such as Drake, OU, and Kansas.
  • KANSAS- The Kansas Jayhawks return this year with some new faces, but just as talented as ever. With an outstanding coach in Bill Self, it would be difficult to see the Jayhawks come out flat this season. The Jayhawks played an outstanding Memphis team last year and achieved an amazing victory in the final minutes of the game, winning the 2008 national championship. The National Champions will try to duplicate last season’s success with great recruits, excellent team play, and great coaching. Sherron Collins returns while being named on the preseason All-Big 12 team and teammate Mario Little has been named Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year. Collins looks to lead the Jayhawks to Big 12 excellence once again. This team will not disappoint this year. They have always been solid and will continue to be.
  • KANSAS STATE- The Kansas State Wildcats enjoyed a successful season last year that was, frankly, a long time coming. Going 21-12 the Wildcats made their first NCAA tourney appearance in 12 years and won their first game in the tourney in an even longer 20 years. It would be very easy to give this credit to the Coach of the team, Frank Martin but it was his first year, and he backed into one of the biggest star players who ever played in the NCAA, Michael Beasley. I would spend more time talking Beasley ball, but he’s no longer there and means zilch to this team this season. Sorry Wildcat fans, time to move on. If you need help to mourn your loss, talk to Texas fans about losing Kevin Durant just a year before. Like with any team that loses a star player, it must remember all hope is not lost because the rest of the team now has the chance to step up. The Wildcats went 10-6 in the Big 12 last season and with this team’s talent they could duplicate a similar record this season.
  • MIZZOU- The Missouri Tigers finished last year going .500 with an even less stellar Big 12 record of 6-10. This year Mizzou will field only two seniors, and Coach Mike Anderson desperately hopes for them to lead his young team to a better season in 08-09. DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons were by no means superstars last season, but at times had showed they were capable of leading and rallying their team. Over the Labor Day weekend Mizzou went to Ontario Canada to play three games, giving the freshman a taste of post High school basketball. Mizzou won all three games. At this point it is difficult to speculate on how this team will perform this season. If Coach Anderson can get his seniors to lead this team it could be a winning season for the Tigers.
  • NEBRASKA- The Nebraska Cornhuskers finished last season with a respectable record of 20-13. When it came to play in the Big 12 however, they did not fare so well finishing 7-9. This year the biggest worry to Husker fans is the lack of the “Big-man” in the post. With the unfortunate loss of top recruit Roburt Sallie, the best option for the Huskers is Alex Chapman, 6-9 redshirt-sophomore, but will be recovering from a knee surgery and will miss early practices. Coach Doc Sadler is assuring fans that it doesn’tmatter what size his players may be, they will score points and lotsof them. Coach Sadler’s only concern that he stated, was that they did not have a big man in the post for defense. This team has the potential to be a high scoring Big 12 sleeper as long as they score quickly and often they will be worthy contenders in the Big 12 this year.
  • OKLAHOMA- The Oklahoma Sooners enter this season ranked number one in the Big 12 preseason poll. With Forward Blake Griffin deciding to stay another year with the Sooners, this team believes it is rightfully the number one team. Blake Griffin led the Sooners in scoring, rebounding, and field goal percentage last season. After injuring both his knees a year ago they still seem to carry lingering pain which he displayed in a few games last year. Coach Jeff Capel believes his team is better prepared than last year, and with their newly found confidence they believe the Big 12 title is in their grasp. Returning, is starting point guard Austin Johnson whom did a good job of moving the ball around and feeding the hungry Griffin in the post. The rest of the Big 12 is looking up at the Sooners right now and will try to knock the big dog off the pedestal.
  • OKLAHOMA STATE- It was a very rough ride for the Oklahoma State Cowboys last season. Another flat season and a loss in the first round of the NIT dictated the “resignation” of Sean Sutton, son of Eddie Sutton. New Coach Travis Ford looks to take the reins of this once very talented program and steer them back to the top of the Big 12 and the NCAA. The Cowboys have an outstanding point guard in Byron Eaton returning. Obi Muonelo will be returning as a junior to help the Cowboys establish dominance once again. On paper, this team has a chance to go far. A coach could not ask to step in to a better team right now. The talent is there, now Coach Ford simply has to bring it together in a winning harmony. Coach Ford has an excellent opportunity to be a hero in the eyes of Cowboy fans in Stillwater Oklahoma.
  • TEXAS- The Texas Longhorns bring back a core group of great athletes. A.J. Abrams returns as the senior leader on the floor. Abrams was a dangerous weapon for the Horns last year with his quick release jumper, breaking Texas record for tre’s made in a single game. Damion James returns as the “glass man”, Justin Mason returns as the “garbage man”, while Gary Johnson will replace the NBA drafted D.J. Augustin. Gary Johnson, after having heart issues, showed Horn fans a lot of toughness and enthusiasm with his play last year. This team went 31-7 overall last year and looks to repeat those numbers if not improve upon them. This year the Longhorns were ranked number two in recruiting (rivals.com) by snagging two top ten players for ’09. Texas won the Big 12 last year but lost to Memphis in the elite eight. Under Coach Rick Barnes this team believes it can once again go deep into the NCAA tournament. Look for Gary Johnson to be a big part of the offense this year and for the Horns to win the Big 12.
  • TEXAS A&M- The Texas A&M Aggies look to start from scratch this year with second year Coach Mark Turgeon. The Aggies lost three key players after last season in Joseph Jones, Dominique Kirk, and DeAndre Jordan. Last year they had an impressive overall record of 25-11 and lost in the second round of the NCAA tourney on a questionable call against UCLA. Coach Turgeon has his work cut out for him, but with the way this school has played the last couple of years the light at the end of the tunnel shouldn’t be too far away. After an underachieving year, Josh Carter will be expected to play to his full potential and lead this team to another solid season.
  • TEXAS TECH- The Red Raiders of Texas Tech lost one of the greatest college basketball coaches to ever coach the game last year. With a dash of nepotism thrown their way, Bobby Knight will not be too far away. Bobby knight turned the team over to his son Pat Knight last year and instead of the mediocre team with a superstar coach, they became a mediocre team with a mediocre coach. Coach Pat Knight has a great deal to prove to fans this year after fans felt they had been left high and dry. The Red Raiders are being picked by some to be a Big 12 sleeper. I do not share their optimism. There are still questions on whom will step up on this team next year. There are still Bob Knight recruits on this team and that in itself will give them a slight edge over other mediocre schools in the area and the Big 12. With the changes being made at the coaching position last year and the coaching style (believe it or not), time will tell if this team can sweep the Big 12 off its feet.

 


Comments

Since: May 20, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2008 7:33 pm
 

BIG 12 Preview

As far as Balbay goes, your guess is as good as mine, He will not be needed to "run the show". He's from Turkey and is ranked as a 3 star recruit by scouts.com. I have said this before, but I will restate. I believe Gary Johnson can and WILL be that guy who can spread the ball around and make things happen. There are plenty of other talented guys on the roster to step up. Damion James is a monster and will likely be gone after this year. After watching him play this season, baring injury, you will see why.

Thanks for the feedback.




Since: May 20, 2008
Posted on: November 4, 2008 7:27 pm
 

BIG 12 Preview

Well, again, you gave me an opinion without any facts to support it. I gave you three people that can and will step up, but your bias blinds you. I don't need to try to convince you though, UT will do that for me.

I appreciate your responses.




Since: Mar 21, 2008
Posted on: November 4, 2008 5:08 pm
 

BIG 12 Preview

Dain,

How good is Balbay, is he going to be able to run the show??? TU has plenty of receivers, but whose going to be the QB and get them the ball???? You can't be the best  without someone running the show. So give it to us, whose to do?




Since: Oct 9, 2008
Posted on: November 4, 2008 11:14 am
 

BIG 12 Preview

Ok last response. We all know that you need an experienced upper classmen PG to lead you deep into the season and in the tournament.  That is why TU went deep in the dance last year, and you sir, this year DO NOT HAVE ONE!!!!!!!



Since: May 20, 2008
Posted on: November 3, 2008 7:08 pm
 

BIG 12 Preview

Bcourt, I am sure you posed the same question after Kevin Durant left. Then D.J. took over. It is hard for me to respond to your question because I don't believe you are objectively looking at the situation. I only say this because of your attempt to fluster the UT fans here by calling them TU. Call them what you want, but Damion James, A.J. Abrams, and Justin Mason are ALL capable of being leaders. I fail to see where it is written that one man must lead a team.

I am interested to hear any reason you believe Damion, A.J., or Justin cannot lead, and by the way, Matt Hill, 6-10 sophomore, is returning as well. I know you believe KU is the best in the Big 12, but there is a reason they are tied with Baylor in the Preseason polls, and yes I said TIED with BAYLOR. They have a lot of new faces and lost their key starters from last year. UT had a better recruiting year than KU did as well, snagging two top ten prospects. Unlike Kansas, UT lost one starter, who was not the leading re-bounder, the leading three-point shooter, or leader in steals.

Again, are you going to say you didn't say the same thing about UT after Durant left? I would ask one more question, although it's rhetorical. Do you think Kevin Durant is better than D.J. Augistin? I would assume the answer is yes. If that assumption is correct, why did UT go farther with Augistin than Durant? The other players perhaps? Who all now have another season of experience under their belt.




Since: Oct 9, 2008
Posted on: November 3, 2008 4:40 pm
 

BIG 12 Preview

I am still failing to see who is going to run TU's offense.  I am sorry you don't like the TU thing, but the truth hurts sometimes. I do believe that Kansas will still be #1 in the conference.  Like North Carolina, Kansas can lose everyone and still beat everyone because of their recruiting power and Bill Self they will win no matter what.



Since: Mar 23, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2008 9:50 pm
 

BIG 12 Preview

As long as Barnes is there the Horns will be fighting for the Big VII title and considered a strong threat in the Dance. I think Augustin like Durant could become a bit of a one man show. With him gone I think the Horns will play more team ball and this will make them a tougher out. HOWEVER, the Hawks will still be the team to beat as they are every year! Look out for Tyshawn Taylor and Mario Little, Mario and Russel reincarnated!!



Since: Mar 8, 2008
Posted on: November 1, 2008 11:00 am
 

BIG 12 Preview

UT should not drop of at all because of the quality of their recruits and front court. By the way, the TU thing is a little gay and shows your bias. You discredit yourself everytime you use it.



Since: Oct 9, 2008
Posted on: October 30, 2008 11:52 am
 

BIG 12 Preview

TU went how Augustin went.  Augustin was the best player on that team, the leader of that team and now he isn't there.  So TU doesn't drop off at all? I find that very hard to believe.  Tell me who is the leader of the team this year and don't say Abrams.  He is a great shooter NOT a leader.



Since: May 20, 2008
Posted on: October 29, 2008 2:04 pm
 

BIG 12 Preview

Bcourt, I appreciate your opinion, but would you mind telling me why you believe a team that played in the elite eight,and lost only one player to the draft last year, is overrated? Matt Hill,6-10 Sophomore, is also returning to the floor after missing last season due to injuries.


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