This is the odd week off before the Super Bow. So... I'm going to finally start posting info on some of the NCAA-worthy teams from the Big 12 this week, then in the coming weeks I'll tackle the Big East, Big Ten, and then a Pot-Luck focusing on A-10, SEC, PAC-10, and the Mountain West, and some randoms.
Kansas, Sag #2, kenpom offense #13, kenpom defense #4, 2nd in conference at 4-1, 19-1
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: UCLA, Arizona, Memphis, USC (surprisingly, pretty weak!, plus a lot of close wins over Michigan and Nebraska)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Texas
3P% - 37.3%, Reb. Margin = +7.3, FT 67.1% (that's low!), FG 51.4%, Opp. FG 38.5% –
Led by Marcus Morris (6'9" junior 17ppg, 6.8 rebs, 59.7% FG%) and twin brother Markief Morris (6'10" junior, 12.6ppg, 8.6 rebs, 55.9% FG%). Freshman Josh Selby has only played in 11 games so far, with mixed results (11.8 ppg, 3 assts, 2.9 turnovers, 40% 3pt). This team has been #1 and is highly regarded, but I'm not sold on them... we will have to see what they do when they start facing the rest of the big 12.
Texas, Sag #6, kenpom offense #26, kenpom defense #1, 1st in conference at 4-0, 16-3
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Illinois, UNC, Mich St, Texas A&M, Kansas
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Pitt, USC, UConn
3P% - 37.9%, Reb. Margin = +7.4, FT 66.1% (that's awful!), FG 46.0%, Opp. FG 37.0% –
Jordan Hamilton leads the team (6'7" junior, 19.5ppg, 7.2 rebs, 41.7% 3pt, 47% FG%). Two other forwards lead the team (T. Thompson 6'8" freshman, 13.1ppg, 7.6 rebs, and Gary Johnson 6'6" senior, 11.8 ppg, 6.9 rebs). They played a killer schedule and already won in Kansas. I like this team... except they have a freshman PG (Cory Joseph) and they may be deferring to Jordan Hamilton a little too much. Being ranked #1 in defense by ken-pom is certainly a great attribute (and surprising too).
Texas A&M, Sag #19, kenpom offense #34, kenpom defense #46, 2nd in conference at 4-1, 17-2
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Temple, Washington (by 1), Missouri
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Boston College, Texas
3P% - 35.7%, Reb. Margin = +10.5, FT 72.4%, FG 45.1%, Opp. FG 39.9% –
A balanced scoring attack, led by only one player, Krhis Middleton (6'7" sophomore, 15.9 ppg, 4.8 rebs, 40% 3p%, 49% FG%). What's bizzare about this team? No one over 6'8" plays many minutes... but they are a great rebounding team. Can't tell if it's the schedule, or what's going on. A team to check back with as the season progresses.
Missouri, Sag #20, kenpom offense #27, kenpom defense #29, 4th in conference at 3-2, 17-3
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Vanderbilt, Illinois, Old Dominion,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Georgetown, Colorado, Texas A&M
3P% - 38.2%, Reb. Margin = +1.6, FT 71.1%, FG 47.5%, Opp. FG 40.9% –
They have yet to play Texas or Kansas (twice), so we will soon see how tough they really are. I always love the Missouri coach, who plays the "40 minutes of hell" style as a disciple of Nolan Richardson. He used to be the coach at UAB (and was the coach when they shocked #1 Kentucky in the 2nd round). The team is led by Marcus Denmon (6'3" jr, 17.2ppg, 4 reb, 49.1% 3pointers!), and two bigs in Ricardo Ratliffe (6'8" junior, 11.8 ppg, 7 rebs, 1.6 blocks) and Laurence Bowers (6'8" junior, 11.4 ppg, 6.2 rebs, 2.2 blocks). The ppg is Michael Dixson (6'1" sophomore, 4.6 assists, 2 turnovers, 19.9 ppg, 38% 3p%). We will have to see how they do in conference play. 40 minutes of hell works with the right players, no doubt.
Kansas State, Sag #41, kenpom offense #87, kenpom defense #33, 10th in conference at 2-4, 14-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Va. Tech, Gonzaga, Baylor?
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Duke, Florida, UNLV, Ok St, Colorado, Missouri, Texas A&M
3P% - 36.6%, Reb. Margin = +8.8, FT 60.6% (really!), FG 43.8%, Opp. FG 40.5% –
This team has annoyed me. I enjoyed their run to the Elite 8 last year... but they lost one of the two major backcourt players behind that push. They've been a mess and have dug a deep hole for themselves... especially considering the expectations that they were in the top-3 in the conference. Jacob Pullen has been shooting awful this year (6'0" senior, 17.9 ppg, 2.8 turnovers, 3.5 assists, 32% 3pointeers, 41% 3p%). Rodney McGruder is their next best contributor (6'4" sophomore, 11.2 ppg, 6.7 rebs, 40.5% 3pt). He should shoot more, especially with Pullen screwing things up. Alot of players log minutes, resulting in a big rebounding advantage. Two 6'8 guys, a 6'9 guy, and a 6'10" guy. They have depth... but the offense is still a mess with Pullen shooting way too much.