A few more games and then the season really begins for this year's Jayhawks. Kansas has had their way with the non-conference schedule up to this point, though Michigan and Tennessee are hoping to change that. Following the Tennessee game, it is full steam ahead into Big 12 play. Since I'm bored and it's a Sunday night, seems like a good time to get a snapshot of the Big 12 up to this point in the season.
Nebraska- Sitting at 7-2. Nebraska has beaten two major conference teams, USC and Oregon State. (Go Big 12 in the Hardwood Series!) Nebraska's two losses have came at the hands of St. Louis and Creighton, two solid mid-major programs. Averaging 67 points per game and only 64 possessions for 40 minutes tells you what you need to know about Doc Sadler's group. They're going to play slow and deliberate. They're also going to do all they can to keep the score down to give themselves a chance to win the game at the end. Winning scores of 51-48 and 50-44 should tell you all you need to know. Not saying they're a terrible team, just how Doc coaches.
Iowa State- The Cyclones are sitting at 7-3. They've beaten one major, Iowa. They also beat St. Louis at the end of November. Tough losses to Northwestern, Northern Iowa, and California. Iowa State plays a little faster than Nebraska, averaging 68 possessions for 40 minutes and 76 points per game. Key players are Craig Brackins (he's good) and Marquis Gilstrap. Brackins is averaging 18.2 points per game and Gilstrap is averaging 13.5. Stop Brackins and they are in trouble.
Colorado- The Buffs are 6-4. Colorado has yet to beat a major conference opponent this year, although they did give Arizona and Gonzaga all they wanted early in the year. The Buffaloes play a similar speed to Iowa State, averaging 68 possessions for 40 minutes and 78 points a game. They're only shooting 24.9% from the three point line on the year, not a good number. High scorers are Cory Higgins (19.7 ppg) and Alec Burks (16.1 ppg). Looks like another long year for the Buffaloes in Big 12 play, although they do have a former NBA coach!
Missouri- The Tigers are 6-3 and coming off a whooping of Farleigh Dickinson. Oregon is their only major conference victory, but they did spank the hell out of them. Losses to Vanderbilt, Richmond, and a close one at Oral Roberts. Missouri plays as fast as anyone in the conference, averaging 73.4 possessions per 40 minutes and 81.7 points per game. Offensively, the Tigers spread the scoring around with Kim English leading the way at 15.9 points per game. Bowers and Denmon follow along at 10 and 11 ppg. I'm not sure anyone knows what to expect from this team, scoring 106 against Oregon and only 52 against Richmond.
Kansas State- The Wildcats are coming off their biggest win of the year last night, beating UNLV 95-80. Other notable wins include Washington State and Xavier (what happened SlowDance?) Their only loss was to Mississippi three weeks ago. The Wildcats average 72 possessions per 40 minutes and 81.6 points per game. Their leading scorers are Jacob Pullen (19.2 ppg) and Denis "Slappy" Clemente (14.8 ppg). The Wildcats also have some new guys who are starting to figure things out, once that happens they will be a tough team. Personally, I'll be shocked if they're not a 6 seed or higher come tourney time.
Kansas- Hey, no losses! Notable wins include at UCLA and against Memphis. Right now, the Jayhawks are averaging 71.6 possessions per game and 90.3 points per game (good for 3rd in the nation). Kansas is shooting a ridiculous 44% percent from the 3 point line. Leading scorers include Xavier Henry (18 ppg), Sherron Collins (13.3 ppg) and Cole Aldrich (12 ppg), and the Morri (18.6 ppg).
Big 12 South later this week.