Big 12 Play around the corner.

  • Wanted to get a start on talking about conference play. It’s quickly coming as I realized everyone but KU and Iowa St. starts playing Saturday.

    With the strength of the league so far, it looks as if Texas Tech is the only team you can confidently put a W against when your playing them. I’ve done some further research into the schedules and they are extremely difficult to predict right now.

    What a brutal 3 game stretch for KU, @ Iowa St, vs Oklahoma 2 days later, 5 days later @ Texas.

    Not a fan of these either, home vs Baylor February 14th, 2 days later on the road against West Virginia. Home vs TCU, 2 days later against rival Kansas St on the road. Both Big Monday games. No way we should have to play consecutive road games on Big Monday. K-St. has not been as good so far but when we come they never play as badly as they really are.

    I know we are Kansas and #11 is what is expected but looking at the schedule its going to be Self’s best job yet if he’s able to pull it off. We used to benefit from the league having 12, now with the round robin it really makes it that much harder to win. Hopefully with Graham back, some improved play from Cliff, Ellis, and Selden and the consistency of Mason will help keep us on top.

    What’s everyone’s thoughts???

  • @BeddieKU23 My thought is that come Selection Sunday we will all be happy with KU being in talks for another 1, 2 or 3 seed after another Big 12 regular season championship. 3-5 losses. Bill Self wins Big 12 titles. It is what he does and this year won’t be an exception no matter how deep the conference is. This is not hubris. It is just what I expect from KU every year and I will continue to until there is a reason not to.

  • @BeddieKU23

    This may be our toughest year to win the B12. What people forget is how young we still are. We are one of the youngest teams in the country.

    And this year, OU, UT and ISU look to be tough outs, and you can never count out others, like Baylor, OSU or KSU, especially on their courts.

    I do think Self knows how to prepare for the B12. I think most of us in here question some things in March, but during the B12 campaign, we all sort of watch and enjoy.

    We will be playing at a disadvantage in the post this year against some of these teams.

    I think we have to always be ready at home, because it will probably take one or two home losses for us not to be in the hunt for another championship. I don’t see us sweeping every game on the road, but we can at least make sure and beat the teams we should beat (on the road) and that alone (with an undefeated or one loss home record) will have us at the top of the league, perhaps sharing it with one or two teams.

    We really need to win at least one of these road games: ISU, OU or UT.

    If we win out at home, win most of the road games we are supposed to win, and at least win one of the above games, we should secure another B12 crown.

    I believe the B12 champion (this year) will have 3 to 4 losses.

    I really don’t think we need insanely improved play from any particular player. I think we just have to be ready to play every game… none of this nonsense like we saw against Temple. If we come ready to play, we should be a pretty good defensive team this year.

    Expect a lot of grind games. I think we are all going to totally adore Frank Mason by the end of conference play. He’s a guy that wants the rock in the closing minutes and seconds, or when we are desperately in need of a basket.

    I’m not certain this team has all the pieces for a national title run, but I think we will have enough of the pieces to secure another B12 championship, as long as we come ready to play every game.

  • @drgnslayr

    We are not only young.

    We also lack:

    –height and rim protection inside

    –rebounding skill inside

    –scoring skill inside against anyone over 6-8 and 230

    –any depth at point guard

    –any starting ability to get up and finish at the 2, or shoot the trey, or depth at the 2

    –any ability to shoot the trey at the 3, unless we put a guy in that can shoot the trey but cannot guard.

    –any ability to strip and turnover other teams

    Other than that, we okay. 🙂

  • @jaybate-1.0 just heard on twitter, Devonte got his boot off!!

  • @Crimsonorblue22


    Did they say whether his toe works?

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Ha… now, come on!

    Every year at this time we look like a team of drunk sailors… but we win another B12 championship.

    Self is a defensive coach… it is his priority.

    We’ve seen a lot better runs of defense this year than in recent years, especially on the perimeter.

    We’ve also seen moments where we use a press and traps that actually give us a few TOs. We haven’t seen that in ages!

    Even though our offense is one gigantic mystery, the one mystery that doesn’t exist is Self’s focus on defense. Even though most of us would spend this extra practice time trying to improve our offense, you can bet Self is using at least 50% of this extra time on trying to improve our defense.

    Self wins B12 titles because he focuses on defense. And it is our defense that gives us road victories in this league, not our offense.

    Even though we always have a stack of ugly wins every year, they are still wins! And wins produce trophies!

    I’ve griped plenty in here, but I still like our odds of winning another league title.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Please make it so !!! We need you Devonte!!!

  • I can just hear Self now.

    Self: Lance Corporal Graham, I order your toe not to hurt.

    Graham: Yes, sir, Lieutenant.

    Self: And if your toe were to hurt, you are under orders to say it does not really hurt.

    Graham: Yes, sir, Lieutenant.

    Self: And if you limp, tell anyone that asks that you were born with an uneven gate.

    Graham: Yes, Sir, Lieutenant.

    Self: And if the toe limits you quickness,lateral movement or pop, you are ordered not to allow it to limit you unless it is before, or after a game. Do you read me?

    Graham: Yes, sir, Lieutenant.

    Self: Frankly, Lance Corporal, your toe already looks good enough to score 14 points to me.

    Graham: Yes, Sir, Lieutenant, I believe it does.

    Self: Now, get out of your wheel chair and feel good. We’ve got some conference games to prepare for, Lance Corporal, and we will need you at your best when we need your best, or we will be in a dust storm of freeze dried excrement faster than you can say, “D1 Conference basketball is an order of magnitude faster and tougher than non-conference circle jerks.”

    Graham: An order of magnitude faster and tougher, sir.

    Self: Now you are beginning to understand the meaning of the words “sempre fi,” Lance Corporal. These are not just words we write on latrine walls, when thinking privately about Kate Upton at 0300 with our bayonets out of our sheaths, Lance Corporal. These are words we play through on. Do you read me, Lance Corporal?

    Graham: Sir, yes, sir.

    Self: At ease, Lance Corporal. All you need to remember is this: if you play, then your buddy, Gunny Sergeant Frank Mason whatever the flip version number he is, is going to be spared. No enemy is going to gang up on him every game and beat him to a bloody pulp and kick him in the testicles with their Nike petroshoes, while down on the floor. And he is going to be spared that mistreatment, because you, Lance Corporal, are playing on your sore toe.

    Graham: Sir, yes, sir.

    Self: Which would you rather recall when you are old and grey and about to meet your maker, Lance Corporal? Would you rather recall Frank Mason whatever the flip his version number is playing happily, scoring more than Brad Pitt in a cat house, guarding with the full force of his sweet soul? Or would you rather see your beloved Gunny Sarge laying in a writhing heap unde his basket after having had his anterior cruciate ligament kicked in two by an enemy prison body ordered by his invertebrate coach to end your Gunny’s career?

    Graham: The Lance Corporal is out of his wheel chair, sir, and it…doesn’t…hurt…a…yeeeeeeeoooooow…a bit, sir.

    Self: Sempre fi, son. See you April 6 in Lucas Oil Stadium.

  • @drgnslayr

    Hell, yeah!

    I just had to do a little bitching to get going again after the turkey.

    Tarawa. Eniewitok. Ames. Norman. Saipan. Austin.

    Away all boats!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Amazing things happen in that building.

  • @drgnslayr

    The road to a Big 12 title will be tough because, for the first time in a while, there is another national level contender in the conference, perhaps even two. Texas and maybe even Iowa State are both threats to be top 3 seeds and have designs on going to a Final Four themselves. Even though the conference was deep last year, it didn’t have a lot of power at the top. This league is deep and tough.

    I think OU has underachieved so far. I expected them to be stronger than they are, but they have the talent to turn it on at any time.

    Iowa State can beat anybody anywhere if they are hitting from three. They could also lose by 25 to anybody if they go cold. Scary team to play because of that.

    Texas could win the national title. They have played UK the toughest out of everyone other than Louisville, and they did that without their best perimeter player.

    KU is KU. Nuff said!

    Really, the only truly bad teams in the conference are Tech and maybe K-State. For me, this cements Weber as the worst coach in the conference. Every other coach is at least passable. Tubby Smith’s best years are behind him at this point, but he is still better than Weber. Kruger is top notch on his X’s and O’s. Hoiberg is a very good coach that understands matchups. Ford and Drew seem to find ways to get talent, and to get a lot out of that talent. Johnson is probably the most accomplished coach at TCU other than Billy Tubbs.

    I think the depth of coaching talent in the Big 12 really showed up in the non-con. Every team other than K-State that was an NCAA tournament type team in the pre-season is still very much in that discussion. TCU is much further along than I realized, but probably only an NIT team. Tech is bad. K-State may be pretty bad as well, although I think they have enough talent to finish .500 in the conference if Weber doesn’t totally sink them.

  • @BeddieKU23 it’s a daunting task, but every team in the Big 12 has to run the gauntlet. 12-6 could possibly win it. I think it will be quite a weekly standings rollercoaster, with no easy games for anybody. I’m thinking we still come out on top.

  • @justanotherfan

    Good post.

    Yes, there are some contenders and possibly national contenders. The thing is, all of them are unproven. I remember when Durant was at Texas, and there was plenty of talk then, too. We won the conference and Texas was upset in the second round of the big dance.

    Kansas is a proven winner. That doesn’t mean we will win our conference from here to eternity, just means others will have to figure out how to do it before there is a change.

    I’m sure we will have our share of losses in the conference this year, but so will all of those teams. I just don’t see one horse pulling away. And for that reason, I still think Kansas is the team to beat.

    Often the biggest fun for us (during league play) is nights we don’t play, and others do. When UT, OU and ISU chalk up losses in places they shouldn’t.

    We always get some help. Our little purple friends to the west usually provide some help, even in years that they stink.

    Statistically (and historically), Kansas is the only team that really knows how to win on the road in this league.

    All of this needs to be preached to our young guys that they need to step up now and take charge.

  • For several weeks I have predicted a tie for the league title. I now predict a 3-way tie. After the Temple debacle, I hesitate to claim that we will be in that mix. However, Bill Self has established credentials as top dog among coaches in our league; and even without the rim protector Self is bound to get this squad in the title mix. Injury factors play a major role, but is difficult at this stage not to imagine the Longhorns in the catbird seat. We have learned that Hoiberg is growing as a perennial contender. Kruger and Huggy have put together solid crews. Heck, Dreadful Drew’s Bears even show promise. From week to week, Big 12 wins and losses look to be mindblowing. Right now, we really need Cliff to get his wheels in dependable motion…and for Devonte’ to blend back into action. Either Bill Self is holding cards close to his chest, or he is determined to play his customary inside/out offense, depending on defense to carry the flag. Interesting chatter the past few days about Frank and Wayne sharing point guard duties, occasionally not on the floor together. That 40 minutes which Frank played vs. Temple does not bode well for his wheels if he is forced (or ALLOWED) to do much of that in the future. Right now, we lose Frank Mason…Katie bar the door!

  • Interesting comments so far. At the moment I’m pessimistic about #11. I think what we don’t do well enough is clearly more than enough to keep us from winning another trophy. We need to see tonight and Sunday improved play before we go into Baylor which hasn’t been an easy place to play since Drew has made them respectable.

    What we lack inside, we may make up for in on the perimeter because the Big 12 has more quality guards than anything besides maybe Texas with their size.

    I do think we need to improve on a ton, most teams still need to. Our 2 losses expose us a bunch, and remember those were neutral/road games. We can’t play that way in Ames, Austin, Norman, Morgan-town, Manhattan, Gallagher Iba and expect to win. All those places are going to give us problems if we don’t play the way we should. It’s not the competition that scares me, I’m mostly worried of the timing of some games. We play 2 similar games in February that mimic the same way we just lost to Temple. Its going to be a tuff road

  • I think that 4-5 losses for the winner is reasonable. If anyone can do better than that it would be Texas…or us. I always feel that if you lose a road game to one of the contenders…that doesn’t hurt you. I would say UT, ISU, OU, and probably WVU would be those contenders. Baylor, KSU, OSU, I believe, are games that if you lose, you may need to make one up on the road against the contenders. It seems year after year, though, we always win one or two on the road against the contenders. Hopefully, that will be the case this year also.

  • @Hawk8086

    Agreed we will need to win on the road against the ISU or Texas. Problem is those are the 2 most likely L’s on the slate. Iowa St is basically our new rival, going their and playing their 3 point chucking clinic is their holy grail now every year since the Elijah Johnson game. Texas has too much size for us, and we will be lucky to not lose similar to last years debacle.

  • This is the deepest the Leagues has ever been and it is by far the top league in college basketball.

    9 teams have received at one time or another top 25 votes.

    6 teams currently in the top 25

    This might be the year the conference sends 8 teams to the dance and sets a record (80%) that will never be broken.

    The Big 12 has by far the best record of any conference prior to conference play.

    Other than Texas Tech. (and maybe K-State that has underperformed) all conference teams are capable of winning at home against most ever other conference team.

    4 loses will very likely likely win the conference, 5 losses might win the conference. It would not surprise me to see the conference winner have 6 losses.

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