As always with the mailbag, if you want your question answered, tweet @rockchalktalk or email rockchalkmailbag at gmail dot com.
@RockChalkTalk do you think Embiid is playing injured? Maybe he's hit the freshman wall.— Joe Ballard (@joeballo) February 4, 2014
It is possible that Embiid is still dealing with the effects of the knee injury he suffered at TCU. But he dominated the Iowa State game offensively and on the glass, so I don't think that's it. We haven't had a great Freshman big guy here in awhile, so it's tough to tell if he's experiencing a normal lull or not, but for fun let's take a look at the conference stats of some of the other great freshmen to see if there's anything wrong with Embiid:
I'd like to call this chart "stop picking on Andrew Wiggins." Also it's important to note that Wiggins, Embiid and Gordon are head and shoulders above the rest of these guys defensively. Randle has his moments, and Parker and Ennis are total disasters, with Ennis having the benefit of being able to hide in Syracuse's zone defense. Maybe Embiid has hit a wall, but he hasn't hit it too hard.
@RockChalkTalk did we perhaps put too much stock the first eight games of conference play? what teams might we see in tourney like Texas?— The Heat Is On (@commercialeer) February 4, 2014
While the first 8 games of conference play is a fairly small sample, I don't know why everyone is in such a rush to toss that sample out in favor of a one game sample. Kansas's in conference offense is still .09 points per possession better than anyone else's, and while their defense isn't good, it's still just .03 off the conference leaders.
As to the latter question, Texas is currently ranked 49th in effective height and 20th in defense. Here is the entire list of teams in the top 20 defensively and top 50 in terms of effective height. (for more on effective height, read here)
That's the list. Florida State and North Carolina aren't even locks to make the tournament (though would be tough matchups if they do) and we won't be meeting Arizona until the Elite 8 at the earliest. Remember too that 6'8" Brandon Ashley, who is probably their best interior defender, is likely done for the season.
@RockChalkTalk What happens to OSU now that Stevie Clark is off the team?— Andrew Freeman (@andrewfreeman04) February 3, 2014
The big problem with Oklahoma State is that after last night's loss to Iowa State, putting them at 4-5 in the league, they still are just 8th in the league in terms of SOS faced so far. Granted, that means they can catch up to some of the teams ahead of them, but it also means they have a long road to get back to conference contention. They absolutely have to win out to take a share of the league, and still face Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa State.
@RockChalkTalk should Self utilize a full court press more often?— Adam S (@adsku99) February 3, 2014
we know Self doesn't like to utilize a full court press because it gives up too many easy baskets, but newsflash: they're giving up plenty of easy baskets already. With the team's athleticism and depth I certainly don't think it would be a bad idea, although it might be a quick way to get some guys in foul trouble.
The real benefit for me though is even if Kansas ran a soft press and didn't let teams walk it across halfcourt, hopefully they wouldn't get into their offense until there were 15ish seconds left on the shotclock. That would likely mean more bad shots.