Friday, January 11, 2008

2007-2008 Big 12 Preview

- - Big 12 North - -

- - Colorado Buffaloes - -

Non-Conference Record (8-6) Current Sagarin Rating - - 165

Notable Wins: Southern Methodist 63-52

Notable Losses: @ Wisconsin 52-78 Stanford 43-67

Notable Players: Richard Roby - - 16.6 PPG 6.1 RPG
Marcus Hall - - 12.9 PPG 4.4 RBG 4.0 APG

Projected Big XII Record: 3-13

The Buffaloes come in with new coach Jeff Bzdelik, Pat Riley’s former director of scouting who comes over from Air Force. Bzdelik might get the Buffaloes back to respectability in the near future, but 2008 will continue to be a struggle for the boys from Boulder. Richard Roby continues to be one of the best players in the Big 12 and can easily go for 20+ on any given night.

- - Iowa State Cyclones - -

Non-Conference Record (10-5) Current Sagarin Rating - - 146

Notable Wins: Iowa 56-47 @ Purdue 83-80

Notable Losses: @ Alabama 68-83 Minnesota 58-68

Notable Players: Wesley Johnson - - 12.4PPG 2.7 RPG
Jiri Hubalek - - 12.1 PPG 7.7 RPG

Projected Big XII Record: 3-13

Iowa State continues to build under 2nd year coach Greg McDermott. The rebuilding project in Ames is still underway and much like Colorado, this could be a tough year for the Cylclones. They are anchored by 6’7” sophomore forward Wesley Johnson who is a freak of a talent and was 2nd in the Big 12 last season with 11 double-doubles.

- - Kansas Jayhawks - -

Non-Conference Record (15-0) Current Sagarin Rating - - 2

Notable Wins: Arizona 76-72 (OT) @ #24 USC 59-55

Notable Losses: None

Notable Players: Darrell Arthur - - 13.7 PPG 6.0 RPG
Darnell Jackson - - 12.5 PPG 6.7 RPG
Mario Chalmers - - 12.0 PPG 4.8 APG
Brandon Rush - - 10.9 PPG 4.0 RPG

Projected Big XII Record: 15-1

Big, Strong, Physical, Deep, Athletic, Talented, etc. etc. etc. Choose whatever descriptive term you want. The Jayhawks are one of the elite teams in all of the country again this year. Bill Self will again have his team poised to make a run at a 1-seed as we move toward mid-March. The ‘Hawks have 8 guys who average double-digit minutes and 5 guys who average 10+ points per game. This year’s squad is anchored by 6’9” Sophomore Darrell Arthur, one of the nation’s elite big men. KU leads the nation in scoring margin, outpacing their opponents by an average of 25.1 points per contest. Kansas is a lock to make the NCAA tournament this year.

- - Kansas State Wildcats - -

Non-Conference Record (10-4) Current Sagarin Rating - - 59

Notable Wins: California 82-75

Notable Losses: #17 Oregon 77-80 @ Xavier 77-103

Notable Players: Michael Beasley - - 24.3 PPG 13.3 RPG
Bill Walker - - 15.3 PPG 6.9 RPG

Projected Big XII Record: 9-7

If there is one individual player you should get out and make a point to see this year in the Big 12, it would be KSU’s freshman phenom Michael Beasley. Beasley is a freak who put up 40 points and 15 rebounds earlier this year in a win over Winston Salem. That was cool, but not nearly as smooth as his 32 points and 24 rebounds in a season-opening win over Sacramento State. No, 32 & 24 is not a typo. Yes, Beasley is that good. Catch him while you can this year, he’ll be wearing a Minnesota Timberwolves jersey next year. Sophomore Bill Walker joins Beasley to make one of the best dynamic-duos in the game. We think KSU will return to the NCAA tournament this year.

- - Missouri Tigers - -

Non-Conference Record (9-5) Current Sagarin Rating - - 64

Notable Wins: Maryland 84-70 Purdue 73-63

Notable Losses: #11 Michigan State 83-86

Notable Players: DeMarre Carroll - - 14.8 PPG 6.8 RPG
Stefhon Hannah - - 13.9 PPG 5.5 APG

Projected Big XII Record: 9-7

The Missouri Tigers look to be much better under 2nd year coach Mike Anderson. Anderson’s 40-minutes-of-hell approach to the game, a fast-paced tricky style of play he learned from mentor Nolan Richardson will surely cause opponents some problems this year. The Tigers are led by last year’s Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Stefhon Hannah and Anderson’s nephew DeMarre Carroll, a transfer from Vanderbilt. We think Missouri will make the NCAA tournament this year.

- - Nebraska Cornhuskers - -

Non-Conference Record (11-2) Current Sagarin Rating - - 58

Notable Wins: #16 Oregon 88-79 Arizona State 62-47

Notable Losses: @ Western Kentucky 62-69

Notable Players: Aleks Maric - - 16.2 PPG 8.4 RPG
Ade Dagunduro - - 11.4 PPG 4.7 RPG

Projected Big XII Record: 5-11

Doc Sadler works in his 2nd year with the Cornhuskers and has one of the best true centers in the game at his disposal, senior Aleks Maric. Maric is not a household name or a very flashy player, but you will be hard pressed to find many guys who are nearly as productive as Maric. Unfortunately for ‘Husker fans, Maric does not have much of a supporting cast around him.

- - Big 12 South - -

- - Baylor Bears - -

Non-Conference Record (12-2) Current Sagarin Rating - - 36

Notable Wins: @Notre Dame 68-64

Notable Losses: vs. Arkansas 78-85 vs. #6 Washington State 64-67

Notable Players: Curtis Jerrells - - 13.8 PPG 4.1 APG
Kevin Rogers - - 12.1 PPG 6.6 RPG
Henry Dugat - - 10.6 PPG 3.4 RPG

Projected Big XII Record: 8-8

Can someone please explain to me what makes Scott Drew such a great recruiter at Baylor? I guess we should all be pretty happy that Drew can not coach up the talent he has managed to acquire at Baylor over the past 3 or 4 years. That being said, Baylor will likely post their first respectable conference record in 2008 as the Bears actually have a decent core set of guys this season. I know this much, a Baylor guy is going to take over for OSU’s JamesOn Curry to win this year’s strangest name in the Big 12 award - 6’4” freshman guard LaceDarius Dunn is one of Drew’s great recruiting wins. We think Baylor will just miss out on an NCAA spot and play in this year’s NIT.

- - Oklahoma Sooners - -

Non-Conference Record (12-3) Current Sagarin Rating - - 23

Notable Wins: @ #23 West Virginia 88-82 vs. #20 Gonzaga 72-68

Notable Losses: #3 Memphis 53-63 @ #24 USC 55-66
SFA 62-66

Notable Players: Blake Griffin - - 14.7 PPG 8.8 RPG
Longar Longar - - 12.7 PPG 6.1 RPG

Projected Big XII Record: 5-11Well, I’m not too sure what to think about the Sooners this year. They have a great RPI schedule and a couple of impressive wins @ West Virginia and over Gonzaga. That being said, how in the world do you lose to Stephen F. Austin in Norman? I think what you are going to see with OU this year is flashes of brilliance followed up by flashes of terrible basketball. 2nd year coach Jeff Capel will go to battle with freshman Blake Griffin leading his attack. Will Griffin, a McDonald’s All-American be able to carry this team through the rigors of a 16-game Big 12 schedule? I think he will, yes, but just not this year. He is a year or two away from being elite. We think OU will grab a spot in the NIT.

- - Oklahoma State Cowboys - -

Non-Conference Record (9-5) Current Sagarin Rating - - 108

Notable Wins: LSU 83-77 Washington 96-71

Notable Losses: #13 Marquette 61-91
@ #9 Pittsburgh 68-85

Notable Players: James Anderson - - 16.8 PPG 3.6 RPG
Terrel Harris - - 11.3 PPG 4.7 RPG

Projected Big XII Record: 6-10

Well into the 2007-2008 season, the Cowboys are struggling to win games for a second year in a row, an odd lull for a school with such a great track record of producing winning basketball teams. Sean Sutton’s squad seems to have lost their trademark defensive pressure that was so prominent when Sean’s father Eddie was coaching the team. The Cowboys have also developed a terrible knack for turning the ball over where they rank 244th nationally this year. We think OSU should again see action in the NIT tournament.

- - Texas Longhorns - -

Non-Conference Record (13-2) Current Sagarin Rating - - 9

Notable Wins: @ #1 UCLA 63-61 @ #7 Tennessee 97-78

Notable Losses: @ #10 Michigan State 78-72
Wisconsin 67-66

Notable Players: D.J. Augustin - - 20.5 PPG 6.1 APG
A.J. Abrams - - 18.4 PPG
Damion James - - 13.8 PPG 10.8 RPG

Projected Big XII Record: 13-3

I guess what happens when you lose the greatest player in the history of your program is that you become even better this year than you were last. Our friends in Austin are off to a great start this year and are actually playing better ball than most anyone would have expected. Rick Barnes’ squad has great guard play with Augustin and Abrams on the perimeter, and should-have-been-an-Aggie Sophomore Damion James has become a force at power-forward. The one glaring weakness for the Horns this year is a severe lack of depth. Barnes really only goes about 6 players deep, and if you get the Horns in foul trouble you can give them a run for their money. They are a lock to be an NCAA team this season.

- - Texas A&M Aggies - -

Non-Conference Record (14-1) Current Sagarin Rating - - 16

Notable Wins: LSU 79-53 Ohio State 70-47

Notable Losses: @ Arizona 67-78

Notable Players: Josh Carter - - 13.7 PPG 4.1 RPG
Joseph Jones - - 11.3 PPG 5.3 RPG
DeAndre Jordan - - 10.3 PPG 7.1 RPG

Projected Big XII Record: 13-3

Well, one year after he-who-shall-not-be-named left to go lose a whole bunch of games at Kentucky, the Aggies have not skipped a beat under first-year coach Mark Turgeon. Turgeon’s team looks poised to make another memorable run through the middle of March as they have all of the ingredients that make those runs possible. The Aggies have good guard play behind Kirk, Sloan and Carter as well as one of the best frontcourts in the nation with Jones and Jordan anchoring the group inside. Coming off the bench, Roland, Davis and Elonu provide quality depth which could help make the Aggies a force to be reckoned with. A&M is 2nd in the nation in rebounding-margin where they grab nearly 12 more boards per game than their opponents. The Aggies are a lock to make the NCAA tournament this year.

- - Texas Tech Red Raiders - -

Non-Conference Record (9-5) Current Sagarin Rating - - 74

Notable Wins: #14 Gonzaga 73-63

Notable Losses: @ Sam Houston 54-56
#23 Butler 71-81
#25 Stanford 61-62

Notable Players: Martin Zeno - - 16.5 PPG 5.1 RPG
Alan Voskuil - - 13.1 PPG 3.9 RPG

Projected Big XII Record: 7-9

Bob Knight’s 2007-2008 team is one that is simply put - just not quite as good as they have been over the past few years. That being said, the Raiders will be more than competitive in all of their games and are never going to be blown out. I think they are just about one or two players away from being an NCAA team. The General always has his guys ready to play, and their motion offense is fun to watch when it is clicking. We think the Red Raiders are headed to the NIT this season.

AHR - - Big 12 Predictions

Big 12’s Best 5
Brandon Rush - Kansas
Michael Beasley – Kansas State
D.J. Augustin - Texas
Darrell Arthur - Kansas
Damion James – Texas

Big 12’s Next 12
James Anderson – Oklahoma State
A.J. Abrams - Texas
DeMarre Carroll – Missouri
Josh Carter – Texas A&M
Blake Griffin – Oklahoma
Darnell Jackson – Kansas
Curtis Jerrells – Baylor
Joseph Jones – Texas A&M
DeAndre Jordan – Texas A&M
Aleks Maric - Nebraska
Richard Roby - Colorado
Martin Zeno – Texas Tech

Big 12’s Best Freshman
James Anderson – Oklahoma State
DeAndre Jordan – Texas A&M
Michael Beasley – Kansas State
Blake Griffin - Oklahoma
John Roberson – Texas Tech
LaceDarius Dunn - Baylor
Gary Johnson – Texas (has been injured)

Big 12’s Can’t Miss Games
Texas A&M at Texas Tech – Jan 16th - ESPN2
Texas at Oklahoma State – Jan 21st – ESPN
Kansas at Kansas State – Jan 30th – ESPN+
Texas at Texas A&M – Jan 30th – ESPN2
Kansas at Texas – Feb 11th – ESPN
Texas A&M at Texas – Feb 18th – ESPN
Texas at Kansas State – Feb 25th – ESPN
Kansas at Texas A&M – Mar 5th - CBS

Big 12 Player Of The Year
Michael Beasley – Kansas State

Big 12 Coach Of The Year
Rick Barnes - Texas

Big 12 Freshman Of The Year
Michael Beasley – Kansas State

Big 12 NCAA Teams
Texas A&M
Kansas State

Big 12 NIT Teams
Texas Tech
Oklahoma State


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