From the Balcony- January 17 Edition

January 17, 2006….This is Judgment Week for the Big 12 that will separate the pretenders, from the contenders. After last nights impressive come from behind win for the Missouri Tigers over Kanas, they seem to be catching lightening in a bottle and resurrecting a ship that was sinking fast under Quin Snyder.

Last weekend all road teams entered Saturday needing victories to really shake up the conference. All but one, Iowa State, came home victorious. For the first time in 31 tries, Kansas State beat the Jayhawks. The last time they won against them was January 17, 1994 when they also won at Allen Fieldhouse. The Wildcats came back from being down by 12 points in the second half. This is all too familiar for Kansas as they blew a 9 point lead late against the Tigers last night.

 

Other games saw Colorado winning at Missouri which was only the second time they have done that since 1973 and the first time since the Big 12 Conference was formed. Oklahoma won another nail bitter in the last seconds at Texas A&M, making their first three conference games being decided by four points total. Oklahoma State gave Baylor their first loss at home for the year,…it was their first game at home since they were put under probation and couldn't play a regular season schedule. Before the Bears knew it they were down 10-0 as they missed their first six shots and turned the ball over 5 times in that stretch.

 

Also this past weekend other notable games saw many road teams coming into places to pull out upsets. Miami walked out of the Dean Dome with its second victory over the Tar Heels in their history. Alabama not only came in wearing crimson, they made Wildcat fans leave looking red on their faces as Kentucky lost another home game. This team looked like a Top 20 team for sure and now might be losing their way out of the NCAA bubble. Washington came into Pauley with a win over UCLA, something they haven't done in 19 years. Syracuse won at Cincy as they welcomed the Bearcats to the Big East. And Michigan State beat the Buckeyes as Iowa State fans were hoping Ohio State keeps winning to pull their RPI up.

 

The Big 12's top ten scoring leaders in league play are dominated by Juniors which have five of the first six, and six in the top ten. Oklahoma's Taj Gray is 20th in scoring for the only Sooner in the top 20.

 

 

Big 12 tidbits….Baylor guard Aaron Bruce has made at least one three pointer in his last 27 games. The school record is 29.

Colorado in league play is last in scoring defense giving up 78.3pts/game and is seventh in scoring with 67pts/game. Colorado as a team is first in league play in blocks with 6.67/game.

Kansas is 1-2 for the first time in Big 12 play. Freshman PG Mario Chalmers is averaging 14.4pts/game in last five games. Three of first five players who lead the Jayhawks in scoring are freshman, the other two are sophomores. Kansas is second in conference play in rebounding and assists. The Jayhawks have no player in the top ten in scoring during league play.

Kansas State is third in league play for rebounds. The Wildcats Cartier Martin has scored in double figures in every game this season.

Missouri's Thomas Gardner leads the league in scoring with a 26.5pt/game in conference play. He is also second in three's made with 17. So far player of the year for the Big 12.

Nebraska is second in 3-point FG% defense only allowing .268%. The Cornhuskers lead the league in scoring defense during league play allowing only 50pts/game.

Oklahoma's 45 points were the fewest for a winning team since the Big 12 started.

Oklahoma State leads the league in FG% shooting 54%. The Cowboys are third in 3-point FG% defense allowing only .289%.

Texas is 4-1 vs the AP top 25 teams. They held Villinova to its fewest points this year last Saturday.

Texas A&M is second behind Iowa State in league play in turnover margin at +5.33 where ISU is +6.00

Texas Tech player Jarius Jackson has scored 20 or more points in 6 of his last 8 games.

 

1)     Texas (2-0)- (1/17-Tech, 1/21-@Baylor)- good week to maybe not have Buckman

2)     Missouri (3-1)- (1/21-@Kansas St.)- right now have legit go to guy in Gardner. Now can they play with expectations?

3)     Oklahoma State (2-1)-(1/21-Colorado)- Cowboys started 2 JC transfers, 2-freshman and soph Curry. Just keep reloading and shooting very high %.

4)     Nebraska (2-0)-(1/17 Iowa State, 1/21@Kansas)- Can the Cornhuskers keep home court safe and pull one off against a depressed Jayhawk team? If they want to stay in this spot they will as riding high right now.

5)     Oklahoma (1-2)-(1/21-Texas Tech) Yes the Sooners can't score but every team except ‘Nova and West Virginia have played OU's pace of the game.

6)     Texas A&M (1-2)-(1/18-@Kansas St., 1/21-@Iowa St.)- Can the Aggies split on the road and try to avenge the loss at home to OU last weekend. Still feel this is a tough team and will finish stronger.

7)     Colorado (1-2)-(1/18-Baylor, 1/21@Okie St.)- With so many seniors and a scorer in Roby, this team will create problems in the way they put up the three.

8)     Texas Tech (2-1)-(1/17 @Texas, 1/21-@Oklahoma)- Clearly the toughest schedule of the week. Not many teams in the country would get a split this week; if they do they move up the ladder as survived against Iowa St last weekend. Need a third scoring option.

9)     Kansas State (1-2)-(1/18-Texas A&M, 1/21-Missouri) Already have a road win in the league, of all places Kansas. If keep home court clear this week can get back in the race. Becoming a better rebounding team.

10)Kansas (1-2)-(1/21-Nebraska)- Blown two late leads with a   young team who do not have a leader. Will need several days to defend a tough and hungry Cornhusker team.

11)Iowa State (1-2)-(1/17-@Nebraska, 1/21-Texas A&M)- A make or break week for the Cyclones. They must win both games to offset letting a road win slip away against Texas Tech and already losing one at home. Iowa State over their last six games are shooting 82% from the free throw line and lead the league FT% for conference games. Getting to the line will be huge for ISU this week as they play much stronger inside post players this week.

12) Baylor (0-2)-(1/18-@Colorado, 1/21-Texas)- If there is any road game to win, its at Colorado as they will have only three thousand there at the game.

 

 


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