Monday, March 9, 2009


Big 12 loaded after all


It took filling out an All-Big 12 ballot for the Associated Press to realize that the conference might just be pretty good, even with all the talent lost in the NBA Draft and with such young rosters facing each other on a nightly basis.

The revelation came when having to leave a player off the first team in a year when six players have first-team credentials.

Obviously, Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin deserved to be named the conference’s Big 12 Player of the Year. Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich and Iowa State’s Craig Brackins also were easy choices.

The tough call came with the fifth spot. Missouri’s DeMarre Carroll or Oklahoma’s Willie Warren? Carroll had the better statistics and was the best player on the third-place team. But I went with Warren. To break the near tie, I asked myself which player I would rather have join the other four selections and couldn’t justify bypassing Warren, a phenomenal talent.

The AP and the coaches went with Carroll, instead of Warren, meaning players from Big 12 North teams made up 80 percent of the first team.

Interestingly, the North went 18-18 against the South this season, so the whine from years past emanating from the South regarding Kansas having an unfair advantage in the standings don’t apply.

The selections for Coach of the Year (Bill Self), Freshman of the Year (Warren) and Newcomer of the Year (Kansas State’s Denis Clemente) weren’t difficult ones, though cases could be made for Missouri’s Mike Anderson and Oklahoma’s Jeff Capel, in that order.

Filling out the All-America ballot involves more than cutting and pasting the preseason All-America ballot.

North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough, who didn’t deserve to beat out Kansas State’s Michael Beasley a year ago for National Player of the Year honors, is having another big season for the Tar Heels. The thought of Hansbrough never again playing in the Dean Dome reduced his coach to tears Sunday. But Hansbrough doesn’t make the cut, and neither does Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody.

Oklahoma’s younger Griffin brother gets my vote for Player of the Year. Joining the nation’s leading rebounder up front is the nation’s second-leading shot-blocker, UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet. He blocks 4.5 shots per game, a number that would double if players from the best conference in the nation didn’t make their goal on every possession to get off a shot nowhere near the vicinity of Thabeet, who also averages 13.6 points and 10.8 rebounds.

Davidson’s Stephen Curry leads the nation with 28.9 points despite nightly facing defenses designed to stop him. He also averages 5.7 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 2.6 steals.

Arizona State’s James Harden has played all but six minutes in the team’s past eight games. He averages 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.7 steals.

Kentucky’s Jodie Meeks, a .408 three-point marksman, scored 54 points at Tennessee, 46 points at home against Appalachian State and 45 points at Arkansas.

Self’s chief competition for National Coach of the Year honors could come from Missouri’s Anderson, Oklahoma’s Capel, LSU’s Trent Johnson, Dino Gaudio of Wake Forest and Washington’s Lorenzo Romar.


dhawk31 10 years, 10 months ago

It's about time the nation figured out how good the big 12 is...we better get 6 teams in (noT including k state)...mizzou just might sneak in :) BILL SELF COACH OF THE YEAR BABY!!!!

RockChalkJayBlog 10 years, 10 months ago

I find it funny that two All-American's teams might not make the tournament (Davidson and Kentucky)

tennesseest 10 years, 10 months ago

In my order 1st Team ABXII- Blake Griffin Sherron Collins Craig Brackins Cole Aldrich Willie Warren

2nd Team ABXII DeMaree Caroll James Anderson AJ Abrams Damion James Cory Higgins

There is a major drop off between the 1st and 2nd team. Not between the gap in talent, but between the gap in impact. I think that while the Big 12 has had a nice year and season, it lacks the punch it has in years past. And while it still has the elite players it always has, the depth of elite players leaves something to be desired. Example, last year's SECOND team: DA, Mario, B Rush, Abrams and Eaton, THIRD TEAM: B Walker, Damion James, Darnell Jackson, R Roby and K. Rodgers(baylor). Walker and Jackson were both NBA draft picks and couldn't find their way onto the SECOND Team.

Ben Kane 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm tired of hearing that we play in the weaker big12 north div. If we really did go 18-18 against the south then I think we have a pretty balanced league and that should be the goal.

As much as i'd like to get 6 teams in from the big12, I don't see it happening. Unless a team (Kstate, OSU, A&M or the like) goes on a tourney run we will probably only get 3-4.

Imagine how much fun i'm going to have today at work when local Morehead St. is in the tourney but Kentucky isn't...Oooh, I can't wait.

patton6 10 years, 10 months ago

The Jodie Meeks selection is beyond lazy. Yes, he had a handful of incredible games. And yes, he's a good player and a great scorer. But when all your 25 ppg on 17 shots leads to is a 19-12 record and subsequent NIT berth it doesn't warrant an All-American selection.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 10 months ago

I've been saying all year that the Big 12 is going to surprise some people this year. Yes, it was a year where new players are cycling through, but from top to bottom, the Big 12 had a great and I'm looking forward for all the teams to do well in the tourney. Okie State and A&M are "Locks" in my opinion because of their RPI and SOS. Those two teams should have been mentioned the last couple of weeks in Lunardi's "Bracketology", but G-Town, Miami, Notre Dame, Providence, Maryland, we're all "Sexier" choices. I also loved the fact that the Big 12 is the only conference besides the Big East to have 7 schools that have 20 wins or more. The so-called "Powerful ACC" couldn't produce that. Great year for the Big 12 and I'm interested to see if the National Media on ESPN and shows like Around the Horn, PTI, and the Jim Rome Show will continue to think that the Big 12 will only get 4 schools. In order for that wish to come true, those pundits should probably look at the Pac 10 and SEC for that wish to come true.

Timmay97 10 years, 10 months ago

The reason why the league seems more balanced this year is because you have a Missouri team that has made huge strides and are playing at a high level and a K-State team that seems to be improving (sans Beasley) each year. Both those teams are getting the recruits now (like Wally Judge). This is great for teams like Kansas. The better the competition, the better they are come tourney time. Those two teams help balance out the North and South conferences.

Teams like Texas (who's got a MONSTER recruiting class the next two years), OU and Texas A & M will always be top teams. The Big 12 has nowhere to go but up. I think it's great!

Jaminrawk 10 years, 10 months ago

All-America First Team:

G- Jeff Teague G - Stephon Curry C - Hasheem Thabeet F - James Harden F - Blake Griffin

Meeks is a good guard but Teague is a great guard and a winner.

WilburNether 10 years, 10 months ago

"The thought of Hansbrough never again playing in the Dean Dome reduced his coach to tears Sunday."

There he goes again.....

GridironHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I still place Collins over Teague on the All-American First Team. Sure Collins had a couple bad games in KU's losses but it wasn't from lack of trying (Also don't forget the cames he willed KU to victory either, see OU). Teague disappeared in games that Wake lost. Also Collins lead the 11th youngest team in the nation that returned ZERO starters to an outright Big 12 Championship. Hard to argue with that....

canuckhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

The 18-18 arguement is a little misleading because it includes KU's record. The north's record (sans KU) against the south is 13-17. If you grant that the sun will occasionally shine on a northern dog (you know who I'm refering to this year) and if you drop that team's record from your assessment, the comparison is a less stellar 8-16. So the south's arguement is that KU gets to fatten their record with games against the likes of Colorado (who was 0-6 against the south) and Iowa St. (who was 2-4 against the south)--interestingly, those happen to be the only two teams that Texas beat in the north this year.

But beyond Colorado and Iowa St., no other northern team had a losing record against southern teams. The south had their flops as well. Texas, Texas Tech, and Baylor each only managed to win 2 games against northern opponents. Also, no southern team swept all their non-KU northern opponents. A&M lost to K State, OU and OK St. lost to Mizzou.

Here is the break-down of northern teams records against the south.

Colorado (0-6) loses to everyone Nebraska (3-3) loses to A&M, OU, and OK St. Iowa St (2-4) loses to Texas, A&M, OU, and OK St. Kansas State (3-3) loses to Baylor, OU, and OK St. Missouri (5-1) lose to A&M KU (5-1) lose to Texas Tech

Steve Gantz 10 years, 10 months ago

Sorry, I don't like Collins for All-American. Shoots a bit too much, goes out of control a bit too much. Don't get me wrong, he's an incredible player and fun to watch.
Meeks All American? No way, scores a lot because he doesn't have much of a supporting cast. Curry gets an All American based on what he did last year in the dance. Not sure that's the best criteria either, but he does put some amazing numbers. Finally, I'll keep beating this drum. How about all Big 12 teams play each other twice and do away with the conf. tournament? Then you'd have a true conference champ.

AverageCitizen 10 years, 10 months ago

"The 18-18 arguement is a little misleading because it includes KU's record. The north's record (sans KU) against the south is 13-17."

Canuckhawk - Why would yo do that without dropping the record of the best team in the south- Oklahoma? I believe this argument is a little silly, isn't it? What does it prove?

irish2255 10 years, 10 months ago

If you want to take away a teams record when figuring out N v. S, why not take away CU. They were 0-6 against the south. W/O them the North is 18-12. You can do it both ways so your arguement is pretty weak.

canuckhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

If KU doesn't have an advantage in winning the regular season title by being in the Big XII North, than it should be evident by the strength of other Big XII north teams to the south teams. You shouldn't include KUs record to argue the strength of the rest of the big 12 north--unless KU had to play itself.

irish2255, if the north is better represented by droping CU, it only helps to strengthen the south's point. If you drop the worst record from both the north and south, the north looks better by comparison, which doesn't help our reputation.

AverageCitizen, I think you could fairly drop the best team or two in both divisions to better assess the difference. After all, the contention is not that the best teams are that different, but that the rest of the divisions are different--i.e. that KU gets to beat up on Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa State, and crew twice-a-year rather than once and that those teams are not as good as the bottom of the Big XII south. This year, we could drop KU and Mizzou from the north and OU and Texas A&M from the south. How do the bottom 2/3rds of the divisions fair against one another? The answer is 7-9 (north v. south); or, 8-8 if you consider Ok.St to be the second best team in the south. These numbers are stronger reasons to endorse the quality of north ball. Of course, this is only looking at one year of ball.

jco8394 10 years, 10 months ago

Yeah Canuckhawk why wouldn't you drop OU's record against the north since they are the best team in the South...And Collins as an All-American?!?! That is way biased! There are better guards then Collins out there but I guess you're just looking at what's around you? I don't know. I'd take Teague over Collins...I just feel like the Big XII is gonna be embarrassed in the tournament...I just get that feeling...


And I don't know about Self for national coach of the year...Why would Trent Johnson of LSU not get the honor? He's taken a crap team and turned them into the SEC Champs (granted its a weak conference)...It's amazing...Taking a 13-18 team from the year before and transforming them into a 25-6 club.

jco8394 10 years, 10 months ago

Also Lunardi now has KU as a #2 seed playing the first two rounds in Kansas City (gulp)...With the possibility of meeting a 7th seed Marquette in the second round.

Lance Hobson 10 years, 10 months ago

Meeks is right out, so that's easy. Sherron is probably worthy of the first team, but I think Cole is probably a second or third teamer this year.

Are any of us surprised that Roy is crying again? We will see it again in a couple of weeks, and they won't be tears of joy.

As far as the N v S thing, clearly they are very even this year and the record speaks for itself. Ok, ignore KU's record, then they should ignore OU's. If we take out CU, then they should take out TT. We could go on and on like this.

coupar 10 years, 10 months ago

Congrats to Collins, Aldrich, and Self. Very well deserved. On another note, I am happy that the Big 12 went to a Wed-Sat. format for the tourney. BUT, I am not too happy about the time schedule- being a working person, watching the Quarters and Semi's (if KU makes it) is out of the question for me to watch with the 11:30 and 1:30 start times. What's up with that? It makes no sense to me that the Big 12 semi finals are played before 6- and not on national TV! No respect!

jayhawktownie 10 years, 10 months ago

my first team is

curry, harden, griffin, blair, and thabeet

second team you could go with

teague, lawson, meeks, jerel mcneal, and harangody

if you ignore preseason b.s. and media hype i think hansbrough is no better than a third-teamer this year. he hasn't even been the most influential player on his team in a majority of games.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago


I like the idea of ending the conference tournament, but if they make a load out of it, then we can't even hope to just end it and let everyone play twice home and home. Money doesn't talk, it swears,as Bob Dylan sang. So how about this idea?

End single elimination tourney format.

Stop the regular season when each team has played nine teams home and home.

Schedule a 7-day "Big 12 Interdivision Round Up Week," where each team plays the two teams they have not played twice, two days apart (Monday, Wednesday, Sat., Monday). For example, KU plays Texas, TTech, Texas, TTech. Essentially everyone plays four conference games against two teams from their opposing division that they haven't played on a neutral court and do so over 7 days.

Generates more revenue with more games. Creates a carnival atmosphere for fans for seven days in Dallas, KC, OKC, etc. Playing two games in three days and then another again two games in three days would really prepare B12 teams for the the tournament routine of play, yet there is a steady build to a conference champion and no crummy teams getting hot for a couple days and drastically altering their rank in the conference.

One possible way to eliminate the tourney and still have a revenue generator.

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