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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Two states battling in Big 12

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Most folks figured this season’s Big 12 race would come down to Kansas or Texas.

And it has, sort of.

Nearly every team from the Sunflower and Lone Star states seems intent on making a run for the Big 12 title, making for a crowd along with the Jayhawks and Longhorns.

The one with the inside shot at surprising everyone is Texas A&M;, which has won three straight and five of six. The surging Aggies (17-6, 6-3 Big 12) opened this week tied with No. 9 Kansas State for second place in the conference.

Texas, ranked 14th just three weeks after being No. 1 in the nation, was tied for third on Monday, and No. 24 Baylor — picked 10th in the preseason poll — was fourth along with Oklahoma.

Top-ranked Kansas and Kansas State have lived up to lofty preseason expectations, but there is a surprisingly strong Lone Star feel to the 2009-10 season. Texas Tech (15-7, 3-5) is the only Texas team under .500 in the league — and the Red Raiders spent five weeks in the Top 25 this season.

“There’s a lot of talent in Texas and the surrounding area, and I think the schools have been able to keep that talent close to home,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said.

Home-grown stars like Donald Sloan and Bryan Davis were among the reasons Texas A&M; was expected to be a factor in the Big 12 race this season. It seemed a stretch, though, to believe the Aggies had a legitimate shot at challenging for the league crown. But here they are after a grueling overtime loss to the Longhorns in Austin on Jan. 16.

Coach Mark Turgeon told his players after the game that he believed they were still a good team — and they’ve been playing like one ever since. Texas A&M; took advantage of having four home games out of six by winning them all at Reed Arena, and followed a close win at Missouri by beating Baylor, 78-71, on Saturday.

With home games against both Kansas and Texas later this month, Texas A&M; could have a major say in who wins the league crown.

“We’re executing offensively better. We’re shooting a higher percentage, we’re figuring out different ways to score,” Turgeon said. “We’ve done the little things in close games to win, and I think that’s kind of been the difference.”

Comments

JayhawkRock 10 years ago

A&M will definitely be a test on the road next Monday but we must take it one game at a time. We do still have to play ISU on Saturday and that too is a trap game. If we can get through ISU on Saturday we have another chance to knock out another Texas team from the Big 12 crown. I think we will be ok at A&M though. I dont think we will go 16-0 in Conference but as long as we keep winning games who knows? Some tough road games coming up. I think we have the toughest finish in the Big 12. @A&M, @OK State, and @Mizzou and then tough home games with KSU and OU. I expect we can take care of ISU and CU at home.

Great win tonight though! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Michael Auchard 10 years ago

Texas? Are you kidding me?

It's all about Kansas this year in the Big XII. The state of Texas has nothing going for it but its natives playing for other states' teams.

phogthedog 10 years ago

Stay focused. There are many tough games still to play.

86finalfour 10 years ago

Article never mentioned that, earlier in the season, Texas A&M lost Derrick Roland (they're leader and second scorer) to a compound leg fracture.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 10 years ago

Congrats Coach Turgeon. Another Jayhawk making his mark in basketball!

Michael Leiker 10 years ago

OK, Big XII over, can everyone agree on that today?

Marcia Parsons 10 years ago

Not me. I'm holding out until it's mathematically impossible for anyone else to overtake or tie with us. I'm not going to put the hex on a great season.

Drew Alan 10 years ago

Only 2 teams have bigger leads in their conferences at this point in the season (Butler in the Horizon league is 14-0, closest competition is 8-4, Siena in the MAAC is also 14-0, closest competition is Iona at 10-4). BUT. It's not over. A&M on the road will be tough, Mizzou on the road will be tought. K-State at home will be tough. And OSU is not slouch. Oklahoma is playing a bit better, etc. etc...

kcgregory 10 years ago

15-1 is the most likely outcome. i'd put money on 16-0 before 14-2.

Jeff Coffman 10 years ago

If we win all of our home games for the remainder of the season we win the conference.

Mike Kendall 10 years ago

Need I remind you all that the K-State game is Senior Night! Yea, it will be a tough game, but it's Senior Night. Jayhawks don't lose on Senior Night, period. Not an L since the Larry Brown era. Thanks to Roy Williams era, who kind of started the emphasis of playing well on Senior Night, it has carried over into the Bill Self era. I don't see us losing VS K-State. A&M,O-State or Missouri? Little different situation there. We will continue the home streak into next season--that will also, be the motivation to be the Wildkitties!

TtownHawk 10 years ago

Keep up the good work Hawks! Great win last night!

Everyone go to cousyaward.com and vote for Sherron!

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