Tag:Big 12
Posted on: March 11, 2011 12:02 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 12:04 am

Big 12 without clear favorite heading into semis

While the final two games of the day weren’t very exciting, the Big 12 still had its moments on Thursday. It might have been overshadowed in the early afternoon by the Big East and Kemba Walker’s buzzer shot, but there was a near-upset and a bubble team punching its ticket. The remaining field seems wide open.

Oklahoma State looked to continue its run through the conference tournament against top-seeded Kansas, and nearly pulled it out. The Jayhawks needed a late run and a missed heave at the buzzer from J.P. Olukemi to escape. In the 4-5 game, Colorado received 52 points from Alec Burks and Cory Higgins to beat Kansas State for the third time and put itself in good position for an at-large bid.

Texas received a reprieve by getting Oklahoma in the quarterfinals after the Sooners upset Baylor, and the Longhorns took advantage. They led by as many as 25 in the first half and cruised the rest of the way. In the nightcap, Texas A&M got off to a great start against Missouri and shot nearly 58 percent from the field on the night. Missouri still struggles to win away from home.

Updated Big 12 Tournament Bracket

Kansas (1) vs. Colorado (5): Kansas looked less than impressive in its win over Oklahoma State on Thursday and will now face a Colorado team that is playing its best basketball at the right time. Alec Burks and Cory Higgins are capable of filling it up offensively, although Kansas has the wing defenders to create problems. Kansas State struggled to defend both. Offensively, the Buffaloes will have draw fouls and score around the rim. On the other side, Colorado struggles to defend the 3-point arc – Kansas can take advantage. Moreover, the Buffs have no one to defend Marcus Morris.

Texas (2) vs. Texas A&M (3): Neither team had much trouble dispatching of its quarterfinal opponent, but Friday’s battle should be a little tougher. Texas handled A&M both times the two teams played each other this season, winning the two games by a combined 41 points. If A&M is to avenge its earlier losses, it will need to get to the free-throw line and try to get the Longhorns’ bigs in foul trouble. Defensively, it has to keep Texas off the glass. If Texas controls the interior and stifles A&M’s offense, it could be another long night for the Aggies.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted by Jeff Borzello

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Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 10, 2011 12:45 am

Big 12 quarterfinals feature juicy storylines

The Big 12 Conference tournament came into Wednesday with more storylines than any league besides the Big East. While a few questions were answered, plenty of interesting action remains.

Nebraska and Oklahoma State kicked things off with a back-and-forth battle that ended with the Cowboys on top, 53-52. Nebraska had the ball on the final possession, but Lance Jeter turned it over in the lane and the Cornhuskers didn’t get a shot off. In a must-win situation, Colorado overcame a late deficit by going on a 13-3 run to pull out a two-point victory. Alec Burks finished with 29 points, 15 rebounds and six assists.

Baylor, playing without a suspended Perry Jones, needed to make a run to the Big 12 title game in order to have a shot at an at-large bid. The Bears were blown out by Oklahoma, 84-67, and will be relegated to the NIT. In the nightcap, Missouri finally found a way to win away from home – but it wasn’t easy. Texas Tech went on a 10-2 run to cut the Tigers’ lead to two with fewer than two minutes left, but Missouri came up with a couple of clutch defensive plays to escape.

Updated Big 12 tournament bracket

Kansas (1) vs. Oklahoma State (9): When these two teams met in late February, Kansas manhandled the Cowboys, 92-65. Can Oklahoma State hold its own against a hot Kansas team?

Kansas State (4) vs. Colorado (5): A very interesting battle. Kansas State has won six in a row, while Colorado could lock up an NCAA tournament bid if it can pull out a win here. The Buffaloes won the first two meetings, by a combined 10 points. In fact, Colorado was the last team to beat the Wildcats, on Feb. 12.

Texas (2) vs. Oklahoma (10): Baylor’s size and length would have given Texas problems. Instead, the Longhorns get a Sooners team that lost eight in a row before winning their last two games.

Texas A&M (3) vs. Missouri (6): Quite the contrast of styles. Missouri likes to get out and run, while A&M would prefer a half-court setting. The two teams participated in a three-overtime classic back in January, with the Aggies pulling out a 91-89 victory. It will be fun to see which team can pick up some momentum heading into the Big Dance.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted by Jeff Borzello

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Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 7, 2011 3:58 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2011 5:05 pm

Will Nebraska win in lame-duck season?

Posted by Eric Angevine

Doc SadlerWhat’s the deal with Nebraska?

As the Cornhuskers prepare to join the Big Ten, there are a few questions that the team may want to answer before they exit the Big 12. Do they have what it takes to compete in an elite conference? Can they win enough in this lame-duck season to keep Doc Sadler employed through the impending move? This is what hoops watchers want to know.

Nebraska is a bit of an enigma. It’s evident that Doc Sadler is an excellent defensive coach. His Huskers are in the national top 25 in almost every category tracked by kenpom.com. That includes a 38.2 opponent shooting percentage inside the arc – the best in the land. Sure, you say, but who have they played?

TCU. Hofstra. Both Dakotas. Half of the SWAC. Nothing too impressive there. However, the Huskers did beat USC and Creighton (in a game they might struggle to win today), and dropped low-scoring grinders to Vanderbilt and Davidson in November for their only losses of the season. There’s something there. But can the current lineup put that potential in motion when it matters?

The glaring problem is that the best player Doc Sadler had to start the season is a Husker no longer. Christian Standhardinger, a 6-foot-8 sophomore who was the clear star of the team, left in December, unhappy with his role. An incredibly efficient scorer and rebounder, the German import never averaged more than 18 minutes per game. His departure leaves the interior offense in the hands of 6-11 sophomore Jorge Brian Diaz. A native of Puerto Rico, Diaz is a slightly better scorer than Standhardinger, but has so far proven to be far less effective on the boards, despite a three-inch height advantage.

This Husker team in general is much bigger than past editions have been, which makes the rebounding issues all the more surprising. The team also boasts 6-10 sophomore Brandon Ubel and junior transfer Andre Almeida, a 6-11, 300-lb. Brazilian. If Sadler can get more production out of either, Nebraska may be able to beat some Big 12 teams they ordinarily wouldn't, but time is running short.

What the team does have is an able distributor in Lance Jeter. The senior averages 2.4 to 1 in assists to turnovers ratio, and has the steady hand to run the team even in hostile environments.

Doc has yet to make inroads into Big Ten recruiting hotbeds yet, though he has stated in the past that he will begin to look that way. Next year's crop of freshmen are all wing players again, so Sadler really needs to see what he can get out of his big men. Otherwise, it's back to the junior college ranks again - a stopgap measure that the Huskers have employed frequently to little effect.

The odds are not in Sadler's favor at this point. If the Huskers end up below .500 in conference play, don't be surprised if Nebraska's AD decides to enter a new conference with a new coach.

Photo: AP

Posted on: December 28, 2010 4:12 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2010 5:48 pm

Big 12 recap: Six of one, half dozen of the other

Posted by Eric Angevine

There are three distinct parts to a college basketball season: Non-conference, league play and postseason. We’ve just finished the non-con battles for the most part, so it makes sense to look at how some of our top conferences fared. Matt Jones did it yesterday with his look at the SEC’s rough start , and I’ll check out the Big 12 today.

Kansas Jayhawks (11-0)

When KU’s non-con schedule was announced, Memphis looked like the best matchup, talent-wise, for the Big 12 bullies. In practice, however, the Pac-10 teams on the slate wreaked the most havoc. UCLA put up the toughest fight, nearly ending an Allen Fieldhouse home-court winning streak that went all the way back to Billy Gillispie’s days at Texas A&M. A week later, USC almost spoiled Josh Selby’s debut behind a strong effort from their own new arrival, Jio Fontan. The Jayhawks have four more games before conference play starts, with a trip to Michigan looming as the main roadblock to an undefeated first half of the regular season.

Baylor Bears (8-3)

The Bears were doing just fine until they went to Hawaii for Christmas, with only a close loss to Gonzaga on their record. Then Washington State and Florida State each took a chunk out of Baylor’s hide at the Diamond Head Classic, preying on A.J. Walton’s tendency to turn the ball over. Baylor has a ‘big three’ of LaceDarius Dunn, Perry Jones and the underrated Quincy Acy, so if they can get the ballhandling chores squared away, this will all be a blip on the radar come March.

Texas Longhorns (10-2)

The Longhorns were patient with freshman combo guard Cory Joseph (right) in early-season losses to Pitt and USC, and the confidence he’s gained since has really paid off. Joseph hit the game-winner in UT’s win over North Carolina, and played nearly turnover-free ball at the Breslin Center to help beat Michigan State. Where the Longhorns have really matured is on the defensive end. They boast the nation’s best defensive eFG%, which means they are extremely difficult to score on from any spot on the floor.

Texas A&M Aggies (11-1)

The Aggies lost to Boston College in November, and haven’t looked back since. Their non-con schedule hasn’t been particularly tough, but a close win over defensive buzzsaw Temple and recent victories over Washington and Arkansas showed A&M can win ugly when necessary. Outstanding effort on the boards has been the calling card of Mark Turgeon’s team thus far.

Missouri Tigers (10-1)

The Tigers’ version of Forty Minutes of Hell has been well-tested thus far. A high-scoring OT affair with Georgetown is the team’s only loss, and it’s balanced by wins over Vandy and Illinois. Slow and steady Old Dominion is the final big test before Mike Anderson's (left) team begins the Big 12 season with a double header featuring less-than-terrifying lame duck leaguemates Colorado and Nebraska. Point guard injuries haven’t slowed the Tiger running game at all, but the big men need to get more efficient at cleaning up the misses.

Kansas State Wildcats (10-3)

Senior leadership got a new definition when Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly were suspended for accepting free clothing from a Manhattan (KS) store. The three losses were to Duke, Florida and UNLV, so it’s hardly time to panic, but a high turnover rate and a baffling inability to hit free throws are major areas of concern for a team that was once considered Final Four caliber.

The Rest

Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-2)

Oklahoma State Cowboys (11-1)

Iowa State Cyclones (11-2)

Colorado Buffaloes (8-4)

Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-6)

Oklahoma Sooners (6-6)

If there’s a member of this group that could surprise, it’s the Cowboys. Travis Ford’s  team has a couple of nice senior bulldogs in Marshall Moses and Matt Pilgrim, and they’ve been pretty efficient on both ends of the floor. The only problem is that they haven’t played anyone yet, so they’ll get their first major test against Gonzaga on New Year’s Eve.

Nebraska had a weak offensive attack before Christian Standhardinger decided to depart the team, and now things could regress. Colorado is… Colorado. What else needs to be said? Iowa State has lost to much-reduced versions of Northern Iowa and Cal as they work to rebuild under Fred “The Mayor” Hoiberg. Texas Tech has lost to teams large and small across the state of Texas, and seem likely to endure a brutal beating when they face New Mexico on Wednesday. The best thing Jeff Capel can say in defense of his Sooners is that they haven’t lost at the Lloyd Noble Center yet. Yet.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Big 12
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