Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Big XII Basketball Preview


1. Texas (#2 - AP poll)
Last Year: 20-11 (9-7 Big 12), lost in first round of NCAA Tournament to Nevada.
Projected Starters: F LaMarcus Aldridge (6'10" Soph.), F Brad Buckman (6'8" Sr.), F P.J. Tucker (6'5" Jr.), G Daniel Gibson (6'2" Soph), G Kenton Paulino (6' Sr.)
Expected Contributors: F Mike Williams (6'7" Soph.), C Connor Atchley (6'10" RS Fr.), G A.J. Abrams (5'10" Fr.), G Craig Winder (6'2" Jr. Transfer)

The record from last year is a bit misleading, as Texas lost P.J. Tucker to academic suspension and LaMarcus Aldridge with a hip injury halfway through last season. Daniel Gibson shined in the absence of the two, scoring 12.5 PPG and averaging almost 4 assists/game. Texas is expected to make the Final Four behind Gibson, who will possibly bolt for the NBA after this season, Aldridge, and Tucker, provided Aldridge is healthy and the chemistry works out.

2. Oklahoma
Last Year: 25-8 (12-4), lost to Utah in second round of NCAA Tournament.
Projected Starters: F Kevin Bookout (6'8" Sr.), F Taj Gray (6'9" Sr.), G Terrell Everett (6'4" Sr.), G David Godbold (6'5" Soph), G Michael Neal (6'4" Jr. Transfer)
Key Contributors: F Nate Carter (6'6" Jr. Transfer), G Austin Johnson (6'3" Fr.), G Chris Walker (6'3" Jr. Transfer), F Taylor Griffin (6'7" Fr.)

If anyone can challenge Texas in conference, it's defending regular season co-champions Oklahoma, strictly on talent and Kelvin Sampson's coaching acumen. The problem is, a lot of that talent is either young or just transferred in, so we'll have to wait and see if the chemistry works out.

Making the Tournament

3. Kansas
Last Year: 23-7 (12-4), upset by Bucknell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Starters: C C.J. Giles (6'10" Soph.), F Julian Wright (6'9" Fr.), F Christian Moody (6'8" Sr.), G Micah Downs (6'8" Fr.) G Mario Chalmers (6'1" Fr.)
Key Contributors: C Sasha Kaun (6'11" Soph.), G Rodrick Stewart (6'4" Soph. Transfer), G Jeremy Case (6'1" RS Fr.)

This team will be great ... someday. Just not this year. It's very, very good now, but also very young. The three freshmen projected starters isn't a misprint, Bill Self expects these guys to start right away.

4. Oklahoma State
Last Year: 26-7 (11-5), lost to Arizona in the Sweet 16
Projected Starters: C Aaron Pettway (6'10" Sr.), F David Monds (6'8" Jr.), F. Torre Johnson G JamesOn Curry (6'3" Soph.), G Byron Eaton (5'11" Fr.)
Key Contributors: F Keith Brumbaugh (6'8" Jr. Transfer), F Mario Boggan (6'7" Jr. Transfer), Jamaal Brown (6' Jr. Transfer), G/F Marcus Dove (6'7" Soph)

Another team that's relying on newcomers as only 4 players return from last year's squad. The situation in the frontcourt is very fluid and might look very different at the start of conference play if the incumbent players don't perform to Eddie Sutton's liking. JamesOn Curry is without question this team's star.

5. Texas A&M
Last Year: 21-10 (8-8), played in the NIT
Projected Starters: F Joe Jones (6'9" Soph.), F Marlon Pompey (6'8" Jr.), F Edjuan Green (6'7" Sr.) G Acie Law (6'3" Soph.), G Dominique Kirk (6'3" Soph.)
Key Contributors: C Antanas Kavaliauskas (6'10" Jr. Transfer), F Chris Walker (6'5" Sr.), G Josh Carter (6'5" Fr.), F Martellus Bennett (6'7" Fr.), G Logan Lee (6'2" Jr. Transfer), G Eddie Smith (6'2" Jr. Transfer)

Texas A&M was an exciting team to watch last year, if you were watching them at Reed Arena (where they went 17-3). This year, with all the newcomers Billy Gillespie has brought in to supplement Acie Law and Joe Jones, A&M should be Big Dance bound.

On the Bubble

6. Texas Tech
Last Year: 22-11, lost to West Virginia in the Sweet 16.
Projected Starters: F Darryl Dora (6'9" Jr.), F Damir Suljagic (6'8" Soph.), G Martin Zeno (6'5" Soph.), G Jarrius Jackson (6'1" Jr.), Drew Coffman (6'1" Jr.)
Key Contributors: F Johnathat Plefka (6'8 Jr. Transfer), G LucQuente White (6' Jr.), G Terry Martin (6'5" Fr.), G Alan Voskuil (6'3" Fr.)

A little harsh, given the fact that Tech made the Sweet 16 last year? Probably. But given the loss of Devonne Giles and Ronald Ross, and the fact that this team is way undersized, and the Red Raiders may just take a giant step backward.

7. Iowa State
Last Year: 19-12 (9-7), lost to North Carolina
Projected Starters: C Theo Davis (6'10" Fr.), F Shawn Taggart(6'9" Fr.), G Curtis Stinson (6'3" Jr.), G Will Blalock(6' Jr.), G Rahshon Clark (6'6" Soph.)
Key Contributors: G Tasheed Carr (6'4" Soph.) (F Anthony Davis 6'5" Sr.)

This team is basically starting over at center and power forward with new players. Curtis Stinson and Will Blalock are back to lead the team, though.

Wait until next year

8. Colorado
Last Year:
Projected Starters: F Julius Ashby(6'9" Sr.), F Calvin Williams (6'7" Fr.), F Chris Copeland (6'8" Sr.), G Richard Roby (6'6" Soph.), G Dominique Coleman (6'3" Jr. Transfer)
Key Contributors: C Lamont Arrington (6'11" Sr.), F Andy Osborn (6'9" Sr.), G Marcus Hall (6'1" Jr.)

The problem with this team isn't size, it's that they have it in the wrong places. Only Arrington is over 6'9", but Copeland, Osborn, and Roby are all taller than average perimeter players.

9. Nebraska
Last Year: 14-14 (7-9)
Projected Starters: C Aleks Maric (6'11" Soph.), F Wes Wilkinson (6'9" Sr.), G Joe McCray (6'5" Soph.), G Jason Dorisseau (6'5" Sr.)
Key Contributors:F B.J. Walker(6'8" Jr. Transfer), G Marcus Perry (6'2" Jr.), G Paul Velander (6'2" RS Fr.)

Despite all the young guns, Barry Collier must win now in order to keep his job. Let's hope he has his resume prepared.

10. Kansas State
Last Year: 17-12 (6-10)
Projected Starters: C Tyler Hughes (6'11" Sr.), F Cartier Martin (6'8" Jr.) G Clent Stewart (6'4" Soph.) G Lance Harris (6'5" Jr.), G Curtis Allen (6'4" Soph.)
Key Contributors:

This is about the weakest front court in the Big XII. If Jim Wooldridge thought his job was in trouble last year, wait until you see his job approval after they go up against Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

11. Missouri
Last Year: 16-17 (7-9), went to NIT.
Projected Starters: F Kevin Young (6'9" Sr.) F Leo Criswell (6'9" Fr.), G Thomas Gardner (6'5" Jr.), G Jimmy McKinney (6'3" Sr.), G Jason Horton (6'1" Soph.)
Key Contributors: F Marshall Brown (6'7" Soph.), G Glen Dandridge (6'6" Soph.)

While he can sing a mean Karaoke, Quin Snyder's coaching acumen seems to be getting worse. He has failed to get some very talented teams to the NCAA Tournament the past 2 years. Now, he doesn't quite have the talent.

To Quote a certain Jim Rome e-mailer, "WAR Missouri Firing Quin Snyder!"

12. Baylor

It doesn't matter who plays or who coaches, Baylor has stunk, is going to stink this year, and will stink until the end of time.

Scott Drew never should have taken this job.
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