Blog Entry

Top of the Big 12 poised for a down year

Posted on: November 16, 2011 4:21 pm

By Jeff Borzello

So these are the Big 12 favorites, eh? Kansas and Baylor?

If so, the conference might be worse shape than thought heading into the season.

Kansas competed with Kentucky admirably for a half, but the talent gap between the two teams was just eye opening. It’s one of the main reasons the Jayhawks were overrated in the preseason, but the disparity between the two rosters was even bigger than originally thought. Jeff Withey played fairly well, and Bill Self had his guys playing with energy. However, outside of Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson, the Jayhawks really couldn’t compete in the second half. Robinson went up against double- and triple-teams the entire game, and simply didn’t have anyone to take the pressure off of him besides Taylor. The Jayhawks will get better as the season goes on, but they’re certainly not a Sweet 16-caliber team right now.

Baylor beat San Diego State by 10 on Tuesday, but I’m still not sold on the Bears’ point guard play and ability to make smart decisions when it counts. They turned the ball over 21 times. Pierre Jackson gives them a better chance to win than A.J. Walton, but is he the answer? California transfer Gary Franklin becomes eligible at the semester break, but he’s not a pure point guard. Right now, chemistry isn’t an issue. Anthony Jones, Quincy Acy and Quincy Miller are all getting starter’s minutes, but what will happen once Perry Jones III returns from suspension and J’Mison Morgan gets back from injury. Baylor is supremely talented and could hang with anyone if it gets consistent point guard play and plays within itself. That remains to be seen, though.

Texas A&M could be a candidate to win the league, especially once Khris Middleton returns. But are the Aggies an Elite Eight or Final Four threat? Unlikely. They’re a really solid team. But I’m not sure they’re explosive enough.

Missouri looks OK so far, but the Tigers have no inside depth and far too inconsistent away from home.

Texas can clearly put up points, as evidenced by the 100 it dropped on Rhode Island on Tuesday. Defense is a huge concern, however, as is consistent frontcourt production.

There might not be an Elite Eight-caliber team in this group. As Mike Miller of pointed out, a 12-6 conference record might win the Big 12. It will make for good theater during February, but that won’t mean the winner will be a threat to make a deep run in March.

The best hope for a title contender from the conference is Baylor. It’s hard to trust the Bears, though.

We could be headed for a (very) down year in the Big 12.

Photo: AP


Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: November 17, 2011 5:00 pm

Top of the Big 12 poised for a down year

I agree, it's really too early to determine anything about anybody. But doesn't this happen every year? Sure, there will be 1-2 teams in the Final Four that people thought possible early in the season, but there will also be 1-2 teams that nobody thought would be in the Final Four. It happens every year!

Since: Jun 12, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 4:48 pm

Top of the Big 12 poised for a down year

How can anyone make such an assertion after 2 frigging games?

Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: November 17, 2011 4:31 pm

Top of the Big 12 poised for a down year

Well Twocoach, we had our chance last year and Self couldn't get it done. The road doesn't get any easier than we had it last year. Our entire bracket collapsed the first weekend and left us with an as-easy-as-it-gets road to the Final Four. I don't mention this on the other threads because you know how anything negative about the program is taken by a few others.This year might be the beginning of Self missing out on top recruits. If Kansas fans don't think Jr. High and High School kids aren't watching these flame-outs, they are kidding themselves. Self absolutely needed to make the Final Four last year and again, he got punked my another mid-major. I TRULY hope this year isn't the beginning of a pattern, but my instincts tell me otherwise.

Since: Sep 29, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 2:37 pm

Top of the Big 12 poised for a down year

Priceless....this guy even references a competitor from nbc to "strengthen" his arguement..nice piece of work buddy!

I agree...this was written to boost traffic on these boards....and it probably won't even make it to the locker room of any Big 12 schools.  I rather like it when the media typically place the Big 12 under the radar while they dance their east coast polka.  I think Texas' defense will get better and may surprise a few people at the end of the year.  I'm not predicting a deep run, but I think they'll make some noise.

Since: Mar 8, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:46 pm

Top of the Big 12 poised for a down year

Early season games are usually won by experienced teams with returning starters or teams with exceptional incoming talent. KU's loss to UK exemplifies that, as does Vandy's loss to Cleveland St and Pitt's loss to Long Beach St.  And outside of Missouri, there aren't a lot of returning impact starters in the Big 12.  This article is obviously just trying to drum up post traffic, which it has.  Counting out any established coach two games into the season is just lazy journalism.

This year will be no different than any other year in college basketball. A couple great teams from each conference, some surprise mid major does some damage in the dance, a sure-win team gets knocked off their high horse in the tournament, and my bracket gets thrown in the trash by the second weekend in March. I love college basketball!

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:32 pm

Top of the Big 12 poised for a down year

KU lacks depth that is for sure. We dont have anyone coming off the bench who would "start for most team". Tyshawn and Elijah need to step up if this team is going to have a chance at a title. Would love to get a rematch w/ Kentucky in the Tourney. I expect KU to win the Big 12 and make a strong title run. They will need a few breaks and great health for that to happen. I am excited for next year / McLemore and Taylor coming in along w/ Ellis, Peters and Landon. If Bill can land one more impact guard, that would be great. I believe in Self and Manning, they know how to coach.

Since: Sep 25, 2007
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:25 pm

Top of the Big 12 poised for a down year

I'm a Missouri fan and even I can see that Kansas has great potential to go deep in the tournament again this year.  Coach Self has a proven track record of developing talent and as the team grows together, they will be just fine.  Kentucky got the best of them this time but dont count Kansas out if they meet again, when it counts.  Coach Cal has a knack for getting immensely talented folks to play early, but will they stay focused when the going gets rougher and they have to perform up the the Wildcats annual expectations.  Lets see how it all comes out in March.

Since: Mar 8, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:18 pm

Top of the Big 12 poised for a down year

Wildcatter, love the fact that you're giving my Clones a vote of confidence, but they are not as good as advertised. They have potential and White is a solid post presence, but I don't think they can defend well enough yet. 

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 11:47 am

Top of the Big 12 poised for a down year

Parrish pretty much hit the nail on the head in regard to the Big 12. 
The fact Self's that weakest Kansas team (by far) and Baylor are the pre-season favorites says everything you need to know.

Oklahoma State's miraculous come from win over UT-San Antonio last night in OT didn't exactly help the Big 12's national perception.

The Big 12's problem will soon be expanded when you consider that the next two teams in the conference pecking order (A & M and Missouri) will be gone to the SEC after this season. 

Meanwhile, it doesn't appear that the Big 12's new members who will join the league next year are going to help matters.

TCU is horrendous in basketball, while early indications point to West Virginia giving Huggy Bear one of the worst seasons in his coaching career.  

The only possible solution to the Big 12's predicament in basketball would be to bring in Louisville and Cincinnati.
Since football is driving the conference expansion bus, there is no way to predict which schools the power brokers will invite, but it does appear that the decision makers realize the need to return to a 12 team league.

Although neither school is likely to ever be an annual championship contender in football against the likes of Texas and Oklahoma, both programs should at least be competitive with the remainder of the conference members.

Since: Feb 3, 2007
Posted on: November 17, 2011 11:25 am

Top of the Big 12 poised for a down year

Last year KU was picked to finish down in the Big XII, instead just another conference championship. Although completely trounced by Kentucky, some bright spots showed up. Withy lacked that fire and mobility last season but showed signs of being a force. Young didnt play much but is a big key to KU success. If these two develop to take pressure off Robinson, look for KU to be a solid conference contender come January. The back court will develop with time on the court. Dont count KU out under a great coach. 

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