I need to get this done sometime before January 6th, which is when conference play starts for the majority of the Big 12. Our first game is January 10th when we host the Cowboys of Oklahoma State, a game that I will look at very in-depth. Let's take a look at the last 5 teams (besides Kansas) in the Conference, all of them happen to reside in the South division as well including two of the Big 12's top tier, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.
Oklahoma - Schedule
After going 8-4 in their non-conference slate, the Sooners have just one game left not in the Big 12, which is a home game against Longwood on January 30th. They get to play Mr. 880 on Saturday on Saturday in their introduction to Big 12 play. They are on the way down which is probably why Kelvin Sampson left the program, but they have a good young coach in Jeff Capel and they will be back up at the top of the Big 12 in a couple of years.
Record Coming Into Conference Play: 9-4 (vs. Lakewood)
Conference Record: 6-10
Final Record: 15-14
Game Against Kansas: Feb. 26th @ Oklahoma
Oklahoma State - Schedule
The Cowboys, under first year head coach Shawn Sutton, is having a remarkable year right now at 14-1. They are all out of non-conference contests and are now heading full force towards conference play, which includes an early trip to Phog Allen Fieldhouse where they will take on our Jayhawks. Their biggest win so far was a win at home against now 7th ranked Pittsburgh and they also beat now #21 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. Their only loss all year was in a heartbreaker against Tennessee 79-77 in Nashville.
Record Coming Into Conference Play: 14-1
Conference Record: 12-4 (after starting out 1-2)
Final Record: 26-5 (NCAA Tournament berth)
Game Against Kansas: Jan. 10th @ Kansas
Texas - Schedule
Good ol' Rick Barnes has this team back in contention again this year, but they are in a very similar situation to what we were in last year. The only difference is that they had plenty of players (LaMarcus Aldridge, P.J. Tucker and Daniel Gibson) that left early for the NBA draft, so if they had even one of those guys they would be a totally different team. Just like we did last year, they will likely be a much better team near the end of the season than they are now, but will pretty much struggle, at least according to Texas' expectations, this year. They will likely be a bubble team come NCAA Tournament time and because of their status wins over a quality team like LSU will help them out. All 3 of their losses have been to good teams, @ Michigan State, Gonzaga and @ Tennessee. Wow, the Vols sure are the Big 12 killers aren't they.
Record Coming Into Conference Play: 11-3
Conference Record: 9-7
Final Record: 20-10 (With a couple of wins in Big 12 Tournament, they will receive a NCAA Tournament berth)
Game Against Kansas: Mar. 3rd @ Kansas
Texas A&M - Schedule
The 12-2 Aggies have lost twice all season long, to the only two true NCAA Tournament contenders on their schedule. Sure, they have absolutely dominated just about every single team on their schedule and they should make the Tournament, but unless they pick up some quality wins in the Big 12 it will be hard for anyone to pick them to go far. The two losses came against LSU (it was on the road) and in the John Wooden Classic against #1 ranked and undefeated UCLA. I was at that UCLA-Texas A&M game, and this is what I have to say about the Billy Gillespie-led Aggies:
* Acie Law IV is a great point guard, but might shoot too much
* Joseph Jones needs to be a bigger part of their offense
* They are just about as good as us on defense, our game might be in the 50's
* Joseph Jones really shouldn't shoot any more 3 pointers
Record Coming Into Conference Play: 12-2
Conference Record: 13-3
Final Record: 25-5 (NCAA Tournament Berth)
Game Against Kansas: Feb. 3rd @ Kansas
Texas Tech - Schedule
Now that Bobby Knight's 880 win parade is over, the Red Raiders can begin to play real basketball without ESPN overhyping every single freaking game. Congratulations to Bobby for everything he has done in his coaching career, but it was getting extremely repetitive on the World Wide Leader. I think they will struggle this year, hey this is a tough conference someone has to struggle. But agin, these are very brief guesses by me, I'm just trying to give people a rough estimate how good teams are in the Big 12 this season. So, let's take a look at the Red Raiders.
Record Coming Into Conference Play: 11-4
Conference Record: 5-11
Final Record: 16-15
Game Against Kansas: Jan. 20th @ Texas Tech
I'll look at Kansas game by game sometime this weekend and will take a look at all of the Big 12 games on Saturday, along with our game in Columbia, South Carolina against the Gamecocks.
In the meantime, check out JQ's KU baseball posts here, many people do not know about how college baseball is played, etc. and these are extremely helpful.