Tag:Texas A&M
Posted on: May 27, 2011 11:30 am
Edited on: May 27, 2011 2:46 pm

Conference Catch-ups: The Big 12

Posted by Jeff Borzello

It may still feel like the Final Four just ended, but for most schools, the offseason is now more than two months old. With that in mind, all of us at the blog are going to take this week to give you what we’re calling “Conference Catch-Ups.” The motive is to recap the biggest storylines in college basketball’s offseason so far, plus keep your appetite whetted in what is the longest offseason in major American sports.

The Big Stories

The Big 12 is now the Big 10 . . . kind of: The Big 12 will have a new look next season, going from 12 teams to 10 as Colorado heads to the Pac-12 and Nebraska goes to the Big Ten. It won’t be too big of a loss for the conference, quality-wise, as neither team was a consistent NCAA tournament contender in recent years. Both teams were in the mix for a bid last season, but fell short down the stretch. Without the two teams, though, the divisional scheduling in which the six teams from the “North” play each other twice and the same in the “South.”

Kansas needs to reload: The Jayhawks are certainly not the same team they were in late March when they lost in the Elite Eight. Twins Marcus and Markieff Morris left early for the NBA, as did freshman guard Josh Selby. In addition, Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed and Mario Little were all seniors. Bill Self does return Tyshawn Taylor on the perimeter and Thomas Robinson down low, but a host of freshmen and inconsistent returnees need to step up immediately.

Turnover in Texas: The Lonestar State will be very different next season. It starts in Texas, where Rick Barnes lost nearly everyone from last year’s NCAA tournament team. Three players left early for the NBA draft, while five players used up their eligibility. Texas A&M will have a new coach in former Murray State head man Billy Kennedy, who replaces Mark Turgeon. Turgeon went east to Maryland. At Texas Tech, Billy Gillispie enters the fold, taking over for Pat Knight after several disappointing seasons in Lubbock. Baylor returns plenty of talent, but needs to replace LaceDarius Dunn, the conference’s all-time leading scorer.

Coaching carousel hits hard: Texas Tech and Texas A&M weren’t the only two schools to undergo coaching changes. At Missouri, Mike Anderson left with the highest winning percentage in school history to coach at Arkansas. In his place, the Tigers brought in Miami (Fl.) head coach Frank Haith. It was a move that raised eyebrows across the college basketball world. Oklahoma also made a move, getting rid of Jeff Capel and replacing him with UNLV head coach Lon Kruger.

Transfer central: Iowa State is going to be a tremendous case study next season. The Cyclones struggled mightily last season, fighting their way to three Big 12 wins. Next year will be different, though. Royce White (Minnesota), Chris Allen (Michigan State), Chris Babb (Penn State) and Anthony Booker (Southern Illinois) are all eligible after sitting out. Fred Hoiberg has plenty of talent in those five; will they be able to coexist?

The Great Unknown

How will Baylor play together? The Bears have some of the best talent in the country, with future lottery picks Perry Jones and incoming freshman Quincy Miller anchoring the frontcourt. Quincy Acy is another extremely athletic frontcourt player, while Anthony Jones brings length and versatility. The perimeter should be bolstered by California transfer Gary Franklin, JC transfer Pierre Jackson and freshman Deuce Bello. On paper, Scott Drew could have the most talent in the Big 12. With that said, Drew also had a loaded roster last season – and didn’t even reach the postseason. If everything comes together, Baylor has the potential to make a deep run in March. If not, the Bears can implode again.

NBA Draft report

The NBA draft only hit two teams in the Big 12, but it decimated both squads. Kansas lost twins Marcus and Markieff Morris, as well as freshman Josh Selby. All three could be first-round picks, but the Morris twins would have anchored another deep run had they returned. Texas went from a top-five team to a borderline NCAA tournament team when Cory Joseph, Tristan Thompson and Jordan Hamilton left for the NBA. 

The biggest surprise return was easily Baylor’s Perry Jones. Jones would have been a lottery pick this season and is also suspended for the first five games in the fall. No one would have batted an eye had Jones entered his name into the draft pool. Alas, he decided to return to Waco. Missouri received good news when Kim English and Laurence Bowers withdrew their names, while Texas A&M was also happy when David Loubeau returned to College Station.



- Will Clyburn (from Utah) to Iowa State

- Amath M’Baye (from Wyoming) to Oklahoma


- Stargell Love (from Baylor)

- Dragan Sekelja (from Baylor) to Florida Atlantic

- Calvin Godfrey (from Iowa State) – dismissed

- Eric McKnight (from Iowa State)

- Royce Woolridge (from Kansas)

- Nick Russell (from Kansas State)

- Juevol Myles (from Kansas State)

- Nick Thompson (from Oklahoma)

- Roger Franklin (from Oklahoma State) to North Texas

- Ray Penn (from Oklahoma State)

- Jarred Shaw (from Oklahoma State) to Utah State

My commentary in 20 words or less

Baylor: The Bears have the most talent in the league; will everyone mesh and play together? Or will they collapse?

Iowa State: Might be the most interesting team in the league – five transfers are eligible. The talent is there.

Kansas: After losing seven players from last season, Bill Self has work to do. Thomas Robinson is ready to take the next step.

Kansas State: They lose the heart and soul of the program in Jacob Pullen. Frank Martin faces a rebuilding year.

Missouri: Mike Anderson didn’t leave the cupboard bare, but it’s not clear how the players will adapt to Frank Haith’s playing style.

Oklahoma: Jeff Capel is gone, but the Sooners have a lot of young pieces. Lon Kruger needs to get consistency from them.

Oklahoma State: There’s a chance freshman LeBryan Nash leads the conference in scoring next season.

Texas: Very little returns from last season; Myck Kabongo leads a deep group of talented freshmen that need to make an impact.

Texas A&M: The Aggies are being overlooked as a conference title contender. Khris Middleton is vastly underrated nationally.

Texas Tech: Completely unpredictable at this point. Red Raiders have a new coach and nine fresh faces entering the fold.

Photos: US Presswire

Posted on: May 15, 2011 8:59 pm

A&M hires Murray State's Billy Kennedy as coach

Posted by Matt Norlander

It is official. Per a press release from the school Sunday night, Texas A&M has hired Murray State coach Billy Kennedy to be Mark Turgeon's successor in College Station. CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish tweeted earlier in the day that the move was imminent.

The university considered a number of candidates in its week-long search, but it apparently came down to Kennedy and Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson, with the former getting the go-ahead from A&M brass, spearheaded by school athletic director Bill Byrne.

The 47-year-old Kennedy was an assistant at Texas A&M two decades ago, but he's made the most inroads while coaching at Murray State, where he took the Racers to the second round of the 2010 NCAA tournament. He was the Ohio Valley Conference coach of the year twice in his five seasons at MSU. He had a 107-53 record there.

"I can't wait to get back to Aggieland," Kennedy said in the school's press release. "Even though I was there for only a short time, I could tell Aggieland is a special place. Aggies have great pride and passion for their school and their athletic programs. I have watched with interest the recent success and the NCAA Tournament appearances the past six years. I look forward to meeting the team and working toward a seventh NCAA bid as well as even deeper tournament runs."

Kennedy's press conference is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Monday afternoon.

And so the dominoes continue to clack. Now Murray State is on the run for a coach, though it's likely the chain reaction will end there, as the Racers could very well promote an assisant in-house or look to hire an assistant from another school.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 14, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: May 14, 2011 1:35 pm

Recruiting Notebook: Griffin is a two-sport star

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Watching Derrick Griffin run the floor and grab alley-oops – over and over and over – you would think he doesn’t even hesitate when going up for a dunk.

Interestingly, the 6-foot-6 forward from Terry (Tex.) does have second thoughts the split-second before he skies over defenders.

“Sometimes, I do get nerves,” Griffin said.

Of course, those thoughts quickly dissipate, turning into a confidence where he knows he can out-leap nearly any opponent.

“Then I just jump,” Griffin said. “If it’s there, I’m going to get it.”

Teamed with two top-10 prospects in twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison, Griffin was the one who stole the show at last weekend’s Nike Baltimore Elite Invitational. He wowed the crowd with one-handed finishes, alley-oops when he rose high above the rim and big-time blocks on the defensive end.

Although he can certainly make an impact at the next level in basketball, Griffin is also a stud football player. As a wide receiver, Griffin reportedly caught 18 touchdown passes, proving to be an impossible match-up with his athleticism and strength.

Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M, Oregon, Kansas and USC have already reached out to the sophomore for both sports.

He has not made up his mind as to which sport he will play in the future, but Griffin knows his development might be better suited for the hardwood.

“If I get taller, I’m going to play basketball,” he said.

Lee to take it to the next level

Britton Lee understands.

The Roman Catholic (Pa.) sophomore knows he’s 5-foot-10 and isn’t yet a pure point guard or a big-time shooter. He knows he has room to improve and has a lot of work to do in order to reach his goals.

“I need to work on my jump shot, need to work on my handle,” Lee said.

With that said, Lee also envisions himself as a major conference player.

“I think I can go high-major,” he said.

For now, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Xavier and Niagara are showing varying levels of interest.

Other Notes:

- The U-16 group of the Team Final AAU program is one of the top groups in the country, although they also play up an age group in a few tournaments. In addition to Lee and high-major prospects Austin Colbert, Rondae Jefferson and Davon Reed, head coach Rob Brown also has plenty of other players at his disposal.

Yosef Yacob, a 6-foot point guard from Archbishop Carroll (Pa.), is hearing from Canisius, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph’s and Drexel. Yacob is long and an effective facilitator.

Johnnie Davis might be undersized at 6-foot-4, but the Neumann-Goretti (Pa.) forward is productive. Davis is hearing from schools like Niagara and George Mason, but also has high-majors like Pittsburgh tracking him.

- At the Nike Baltimore Elite Invitational last weekend, the New Jersey Playaz should have run roughshod over Threat 220. One player wouldn’t let that happen, though: Junius Thomas.

Thomas, a 6-foot-5 forward from Anacostia (D.C.), was outstanding. He blocked shots, finished above the rim, dominated the glass and single-handedly kept an undermanned Threat team in the game. While they eventually lost, Thomas might have been the most impressive player all game.

If he can get his academics in order, he has the potential to be at least a mid-level player. Thomas did mention hearing from St. Bonaventure and Clemson

Photo: iHigh.com 

Posted on: May 11, 2011 10:51 am
Edited on: May 11, 2011 10:59 am

Xavier will back Mack with contract extension

Posted by Eric Angevine

Conventional wisdom says that Xavier is a springboard to bigger and better things for a college coach. Look at a list of the men who have led the program over the past couple of decades: Pete Gillen, Skip Prosser, Thad Matta, Sean Miller and now Chris Mack. The school has done a marvelous job of maintaining early success, becoming one of the most realiable NCAA tourney participants in the nation. The Musketeers have advanced to at least the Sweet 16 in four of the past ten seasons, and last missed the Dance in 2005. That's an enviable record, even for the vast majority of BCS-level programs. Cross-town rival Cincy would LOVE to have that resume.

As great as it has been for Xavier to continually find, develop and send forth the nation's best coaches, you have to figure they'd like to keep one now and again, right? They already know Chris Mack is a hot property, and he's only going into his third season as head man at the Cincinnati stalwart. With the coaching carousel still turning thanks to the late retirement of Gary Williams, the school's administration acted swiftly and wisely to put the matter to rest, agreeing to a seven-year extension that will ostensibly keep Mack in place until 2018.

Of course, they haven't really purchased Mack's services for that full amount of time. Some day, a hot job (hotter than Texas A&M) will come along and Mack will be pulled away. What Xavier has done is made that eventual decision harder. While terms of the deal have not been released, we have to assume they've effectively attempted to price Mack out of the market for anything less than a serious offer from a deep-pocketed BCS school. There are probably all kinds of tricky buyouts and incentives in there that make it easier for Mack to stay unless someone overwhelms him.

"This is the most comprehensive agreement we have ever offered to a head coach at Xavier University and we are pleased to do so," Xavier athletics director Mike Bobinski said in a statement. "Chris (Mack) is much more than just one of the best young coaches in college basketball. We believe he is one of the best coaches in college basketball and that our program will excel both on and off the court under his leadership in the years ahead."

Realistically, this is also good for Mack. He's had two good years at Xavier, but much of that success can be laid at the feet of his predecessors. Mack will benefit from this opportunity to really put his own stamp on the Musketeer program. When that big school comes calling, he'll just be that much more likely to hit the ground running.

In the meantime, Mack has a couple of high-water marks to aim for. Thad Matta took the 7th-seeded Musketeers to the Elite Eight in 2004, and Sean Miller reached the same peak with a No. 3 seed. With Tu Holloway returning for his senior season, and top recruit Dezmine Wells coming in next season, Mack has the pieces he needs to match or exceed the measuring stick set by those other men.

Keeping Chris Mack around, for however long Xavier can do so, is a win-win situation for the coach, the school, the fans and the players.

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 9, 2011 4:00 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2011 9:19 pm

Is Mark Turgeon a good fit for Maryland?

Posted by Matt Norlander

UPDATE, 9:02 p.m. ET: Gary Parrish reporting that Mark Turgeon to Maryland is done and the school is expected to make an announcement before the night is over. Multiple reports confirm the information. With the hire, Texas A&M now has to scramble for a coach as soon as possible. Turgeon is likely to be a good fit with Maryland, and here's why ...

Whenever a Big Six head-coaching job opens up, there's a whirring and stirring in the hours and days that follow. Reporters chase leads, searching for a scoop with the names that get tossed in and out of the hopper. Seemingly innocent bystanders (those would be the coaches) become (wanted) trophies, leaders of to-be-built armies. Even if coaches don't want a job they're rumored to be targeted for, they love and invite the attention, for it builds their profile and, most of the time, ensures they get an extended contract and raise at their current school.

This motion of intensity and anxiety lasts for usually a week, then everyone except the school in question -- and its fans -- move on, subconsciously waiting for the news to break. When it does, reaction is met with a 24-hour shelf life of either approval, underwhelm, abstention or disinterest. Local talk radio tries to build an entire week's programming around it, and more power to them, but largely coaching hires don't have the gasoline to last for extended periods of time. (North Carolina State fans, boast the fact that you are the exception. )

Sometimes coaches get swept away and wooed to a new place within a week (see: Mark Anderson at Arkansas); other times searches take much longer thane expected. (See: Oregon, 2010.)

Five days ago Mark Turgeon was living his life -- I presume peacefully and calmly, as he was apparently on vacation -- prepping for his recruiting period in the coming months and generally enjoying his time in College Station, Texas, where he built up a sturdy program in the past four years at Texas A&M.

Now he's arguably become Target No. 1 for Maryland. At 46 year old and with no ACC ties, this is still a job Turgeon would most likely take if Maryland AD Kevin Anderson offered him a hefty contract. I'm told Turgeon very much likes his team that's assembled for next season, but premier ACC jobs only open up once per decade, really. Also, don't forget the money -- because it's either 1 or 1a when a coach debates leaving -- but toss that cash aspect aside for a minute and consider the dichotomy in recruiting bases. Washington, D.C./Baltimore vs. College Station and all that surrounds it. If Turgeon's been able to keep A&M in the leg race of the Big 12 for the past four years with the talent he inherited/was limited to recruit there, then what could he do at Maryland? That'll be his thinking if he does indeed get into deep talks with the brass at Maryland. The "what kind of player can I get?" mindset is always at the top of a crowded list for a coach when considering relocation.

Plus, Turgeon wants to win a title, and it's conceivable to assume he, like most coaches, think it's so, so, so tough to achieve at A&M. At Maryland, the hoops are lower and fewer.

Would he be the right choice, though? Turgeon could be seen as an underwhelming pick for obvious reasons: he coaches at a nondescript, non-traditional college basketball school in the deep of Texas. He's not a sexy name/candidate, even if he does bear a striking resemblance to Ethan from "Lost." (Fun aside: You could argue that when Maryland began its search for Gary Williams successor, Turgeon "wasn't on" their list.) But fans ultimately, even if they begrudge a perceived alienation in coaching choice in the offseason, don't care at all about a coach's background or personality or style if the team ends up winning. Duh.

Thanks to the fantastic and new coaching resume observing tool from KenPom.com, we can see that Turgeon has never had a losing record as a head coach. That's pretty rare; often times new coaches at BCS schools take on a lot of water in their first year, but Turgeon managed a 25-11 record in 2007-08. He's averaged 22.3 wins in nine seasons and never had less than 24 in Big 12 play. Impressive, obviously. Turgeon has proven himself to be a candidate worthy of inclusion on many an athletic director's list (you can read more about how such lists exists and why here, by the way), and it's probable, even if he doesn't get the Maryland job, he'll be hired somewhere else in the next two years if his teams win 20-plus again.

Considering the candidate list out there -- from what I understand, Chris Mooney and Shaka Smart, two hires that would be considered home runs, are not likely to be swayed from their posts in Richmond -- Turgeon has a track record that stacks up extremely favorably to other realistic options. At this point, unless a mammoth dark horse is lurking in the shadows that none one knows -- or can talk -- about, Maryland can't do too much better than Mark Turgeon, even if he doesn't seem like the Big Hire everyone expects Maryland to make.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 21, 2011 4:47 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 4:53 pm

Better luck next year (seriously)

Posted by Jeff Borzello

This silver lining won’t cheer up any teams that were ousted during the first weekend, but it’s a silver lining nonetheless.

12 of the 16 teams remaining in the NCAA tournament were already home by this time last year, with only Duke, Ohio State, Butler and Kentucky making back-to-back appearances in the regional semifinals.

Part of the fun immediately following the Final Four is the early preseason top 25 rankings that everyone puts out, even though no one has any idea of the players that will go pro or transfer. The following list of five schools is fool proof, though – these teams will still be around for the second weekend next season.

Syracuse: The Orange didn’t live up to expectations in the NCAA tournament, getting bounced by conference foe Marquette in the third round. Jim Boeheim will be back next year, though. They only lose Rick Jackson from the rotation, and also welcome a very good recruiting class. Michael Carter-Williams will prove a legitimate scoring threat from the perimeter, and Rakeem Christmas will provide rebounding and defense. If the young players continue to improve, Syracuse will be fine.

Louisville: The job that Rick Pitino did with this roster was admirable, despite the upset loss to Morehead State. Pitino will bring in more talent next season and will also get some veterans back from injury. Wayne Blackshear and Chane Behanan highlight the recruiting class, while Rakeem Buckles and Jared Swopshire should be healthy. Peyton Siva is primed for a true breakout season, and Kyle Kuric is slowly developing into one of the most underrated players in the Big East.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores had all the pieces for a deep tournament run this season, they just never seemed to put it together when it mattered. If Vanderbilt can finally get past the round of 64, expect a run to at least the Sweet 16 or Elite Eight. Jeff Taylor and John Jenkins could leave Vandy and go to the NBA, but this team is primed for a huge season if they return. Dai-Jon Parker will add more perimeter toughness and Kedren Johnson can handle the ball.

Texas A&M: This team is not pretty or fun to watch, but it’s highly effective and seems to get to the NCAA tournament every year. Next season will be no different, and that could be the year they finally get out of the first weekend. B.J. Holmes is the only personnel loss, but incoming freshman Jamal Branch will step in immediately at the point. Khris Middleton should develop into one of the better scorers in the Big 12, and the Aggies are guaranteed to defend their tails off.

UCLA: If everyone returns, look out. The Bruins have some of the most talent in the country, with NBA prospects littering the roster. Tyler Honeycutt could be the best player in the Pac-10, while Reeves Nelson and Malcolm Lee are also future pros. Josh Smith has to lose weight to become more consistently effective down low, but Ben Howland also welcomes David Wear and Travis Wear, two talented transfers from North Carolina. Point guard play could be the key again.

Keep an eye on these three:

- If Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins return to Georgia, the Bulldogs will have a formidable nucleus to go with stud freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

- Texas’ Jordan Hamilton and Tristan Thompson both said they would return to Austin, but the jury is still out. This is a top-five team if both come back.

- Memphis has a host of young players with NBA aspirations. If the roster remains intact, freshman Adonis Thomas will join a tremendously talented team.

Photo: US Presswire

More NCAA tournament coverage
Posted on: March 11, 2011 12:33 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 1:25 am

Wrapping up a crazy Thursday of action

Posted by Matt Jones

Today was one of the busiest days of the year in college basketball, with all six major tournaments having at least three games each and crazy action all over the nation. It was the type of day that deserves a neat summary in conclusion:

Game of the Day:  UCONN vs Pitt

This was the rare instance where the best game of the day on paper, ended up being the best game of the day in practice. Both teams played with a ton of energy and the game was actually executed on a very high level at both ends. Pittsburgh showcased the exception defense that makes them a Final Four contender, but the Panthers had no answer for the one-on-one play from UCONN in the second half. Kemba Walker was once again a revelation and his shakedown of Gary Mcghee at the end of the game is one of those plays that you will see over and over in the years to come. A lasting image in a quarterfinal tournament game?  That is easily the game of the day.

Biggest Win: Colorado over Kansas State

Colorado came into its Big 12 quarterfinal against Kansas State with one clear objective.  A win over one of the hottest teams in the country would not only vault the Buffaloes to the conference semifinals in its final year in the league, but would also put Colorado on the right side of the NCAA bubble.  The ensuing 87-75 performance was one of the best of the year we have seen in college basketball when it mattered the most. Whatever happens for the rest of the tournament, Colorado will hear its name called on Selection Sunday and when that happens, they can look back at this win as the main reason why.


Most Impressive Performance: Texas A&M over Missouri

There are many reasons to wonder what has happened to Missouri over the past few weeks. Mike Anderson's team has looked poor on a number of occasions down the stretch, but never has the team seemed to have less life than during today's 86-71 smackdown at the hands of the Aggies. For those around the Texas A&M program, there is some quiet optimism that this team may be clicking at the right time to make some surprising March noise. If the game on Thursday in Kansas City is any indication, it may not be that surprising for long.


Worst Loss: UCLA 

I have given up trying to figure out the Pac 10. I can forgive the occasional poor road performance by one of the three top powers, but UCLA's 76-59 loss to Oregon on Thursday was just plain pathetic. You are playing in your home city, with a chance to get a better seed and re-establish dominance in a conference that has somewhat forgotten your existence in the last two years. Instead, you show up and go through the motions of caring, while putting one of the worst teams in the conference through to the semifinals. An embarrassing loss for a program that has clearly slipped in the past three years.


Performance of the Day: Michael Thompson

The Big 10 tournament hasn't been around as long as some of its fellow Championship Week events, but it still deserves attention when one of its records is broken. Michael Thompson of Northwestern went out and scored a smooth 35 points in a 75-65 victory by his Wildcats over Minnesota. While Northwestern is not likely to break its NCAA tournament drought this year, Thompson's performance gives the school a rare record that is not based upon futility. And for that, it is worth a mention.

Setup for Biggest Game Tomorrow: Georgia vs Alabama

Only one game tomorrow is a play-in game for the NCAA Tournament and it occurs in Atlanta, Georgia. Thanks to the Bulldogs victory over Auburn, Georgia and Alabama play at 1 pm, with the winner likely into the NCAA Tournament and the loser on the bubble on Selection Sunday. Both teams played to end the regular season and Alabama's win gave the Tide a fighting chance for the Big Dance. Now with this the only game of the weekend in which two bubble teams play each other, you can expect a large reward to the winner.

Worst Day of Basketball:  SEC in Atlanta

This was a terrible day to be stationed as I was, in Atlanta for the SEC tournament. All four games were dreadful. Three were decided by double digits and the four losers represented some of the worst teams in major conference college basketball. Every game saw more Kentucky fans waiting for their team to play on Friday than fans of the teams actually on the court and the gym resembled a morgue during Friday night's finale between LSU and Vanderbilt. The schedule is a bit meatier on Friday, but for Day One at least, the SEC has been a dud.


MVP of the Day:  Kemba Walker

One of the most impressive crossovers you will ever to see to get an open final look. Kemba's shot fit in well with all of his heroics this year and reminded everyone that the Huskies are still a force to be reckoned with this March. We will see if they can get four games in four days against Syracuse tomorrow, but that shot and the move that made him open, will be remembered for a long time to come.

Posted on: February 5, 2011 10:20 pm

Couple of Big 12 teams keep bubble hopes bubbling

Posted by Matt Norlander

It's turned out to be a pretty fun Saturday, to be honest, and I'm sort of feeling bad about that post title from yesterday.

While there's still more content we'll give to you before the night's over, I did want to take a minute to give some dap to two Big 12 teams who went on the road and won in spots they really, really needed to. I apologize for the minor tardiness for this post, but Angevine and Jones are off the hook for the rest of the night, and I just got back from an assigment for a piece you'll see on the site come Wednesday.

OK, enough of my excuse-making; let's get to the controlled praising.

We'll start with Baylor (15-7, 5-4) first, as it had the more-impressive victory by defeating No. 16 Texas A&M, 76-74. Freshman (and one-and-done player, to boot) Perry Jones had a magnificent game, scoring 27, but it was Anthony Jones' tip-in at the end of overtime that sealed it for the Bears.

I did find myself in front of a TV for the end of regulation and overtime, and it was a bit odd to see Baylor play with such gumption in hostile territory. This could all be part of Texas A&M's grand plan to slowly but surely fade itself out of relevance (whatever relevance it very briefly flirted with a few weeks back) on the national scene, but point is, Baylor got the win and it wasn't easy. Who knows if it can snag an at-large. If it does, today will be considered the watershed moment. Next up: home against Nebraska Tuesday, at Texas next Saturday. A must-win followed by a tall task that Baylor simply can't get blown out of.

Speaking of game-winning layups, thanks to Jacob Pullen, the Wildcats won in a similar manner to their Bear brethren.

The opponent, Iowa State, isn't nearly the quality of the Aggies, but winning at Hilton Coliseum is considered to be one of the more underplayed tough tasks is all major-conference basketball.

Gun to my head, I'm not picking Kansas State (16-8, 4-5) to make The Tournament, but that's more to do with other conferences snagging up bids. (Big East with 11? Anyone with me there?). Had KSU lost today, few would've gotten out of sorts with it, but the Wildcats' season would have been, for all intents and purposes, over. Not the case anymore. K-State now gets a full week to rest before a road game at Colorado, then a home game against Kansas. Frank Martin's team must go 1-1 there.

Stay tuned for more posts. I've got quite the dunk video coming up. White boys straight flyin', yo! (K, I'll stop typing like that.)

Photo: AP

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Baylor, Texas A&M
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com