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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Big 12 coaches stump for seeds

KU, A&M should vie for top spots, or Texas could play way into picture

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With two teams in the top seven and a leading candidate for national player of the year, Big 12 coaches figure one of those coveted and prestigious No. 1 NCAA Tournament seeds should also be in their future.

There will be only four No. 1's when the bracket is announced March 11. But heading into this week, co-leaders Kansas and Texas A&M;, ranked No. 3 and No. 7, respectively, both could put themselves in position to grab one.

"You could say that," said Kansas University coach Bill Self, whose team defeated Oklahoma on Monday. "But I think work still needs to be done. There's not any margin for error, and probably some other things will have to happen."

Texas A&M;, meanwhile, must pass its own test Wednesday at No. 15 Texas.

The Longhorns and player-of-the-year candidate Kevin Durant go into the final week 11-3 in the league, one game behind the Aggies and Jayhawks.

But they're in complete control of their own destiny. After playing host to the Aggies on Wednesday, Durant and his teammates will travel to Kansas on Saturday for a nationally televised tilt that will wrap up the regular season.

Win both, and the Longhorns cannot be any worse than tied for first. And as for the Big 12 getting a No. 1 seed?

"I don't see why not," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "I would like to think nothing is in cement right now. You'd like to think they haven't settled on that yet.

"You look at the year that both Kansas and Texas A&M; are having, where they are right now," Barnes added. "Why shouldn't they be in the mix? And depending on how we finish, I could say, 'Why not us?' I like to think so."

Oklahoma State coach Sean Sutton said the Big 12 deserves a top-seeded team.

"I'd be disappointed if one of those, especially Texas A&M; and Kansas, was not a No. 1 seed," Sutton said. "If Texas wins both their games this week and wins the Big 12 tournament, they'll put themselves in position. I'll always think the league champion of the Big 12 deserves to be a No. 1 seed because this league year in and year out is outstanding."

In the meantime, who's the top player in the Big 12 this year?

Hands down, most would say it's Durant. He's the top scorer and top rebounder and could be voted national player of the year when all those ballots are cast.

But what about Acie Law, Texas A&M;'s marvelous senior point guard? Voters in both the coaches' poll and The Associated Press media survey could face a tough choice.

There's little argument about who is the hands-down best player.

"I think Durant is the best player in college basketball," Sutton said. "But Acie may be the most valuable to his team in the Big 12. You could make the argument that Durant will be national player of the year and Acie Law could be Big 12 player of the year."

Texas Tech coach Bob Knight agreed.

"I think the best player in the country is Durant," he said. "I don't even think there's a question about that."

If there were a most valuable player award, what about Law?

"Well, I think if they were to win the league, I'd certainly think so," Knight said. "Next to Durant, he is the best player in the league. I love the way that kid plays. He does a lot of things. If it wasn't for the exceptional games Durant has had and the way he's dominated some games ... but even with that, you'd want to look at Law in that regard."

Law was named player of the week after averaging 25 points in victories over Oklahoma State and Baylor. He had a season-high 31 points and five assists against the Bears and 19 points in the road win at Oklahoma State.

That left the newcomer of the week award to the much-honored Durant. Texas' 6-foot-9 sensation averaged 24.5 points and nine rebounds in wins over Texas Tech and Oklahoma.

Against the Sooners, he had his 17th double-double with 32 points and 10 rebounds. It was his seventh 30-point game, extending his Big 12 record. He's won six rookie awards, another record, and nine weekly honors overall.

"What Kevin Durant has done, from a statistical standpoint, certainly gets your attention," said Iowa State coach Greg McDermott. "But there's a few guys - after playing Kansas Saturday - I think are playing pretty good as well. From a statistical standpoint, Kevin Durant is about as good as it gets right now."

Comments

KEITHMILES05 15 years, 5 months ago

No way in hell Texas gets a number one seed. Good grief. Who has put the crack in the cool aid?

97jhawk 15 years, 5 months ago

You run any team through a key player like Texas does and of course he gets noticed. Sure Durant is good, but seriously, who else on that Texas team can score? No one. I think Texas is way overrated. Unlike KU, who has an easy 6 to 8 guys that can put the rock in the hole. Well, except for maybe last night's display against OU they can.

97jhawk 15 years, 5 months ago

We need to shut Durant down in our house this Saturday to shut the media up and all the other "johnny come lately" spectators of college hoops. I hope that Self challenges the guys to shut his azzz down. I would love that!

jayhawker_97 15 years, 5 months ago

whatever you all say about Durant, he's still a doggone good player in the NCAA. not only that, but he's also a fine young man that shows integrity & coolness regardless the media & attention.
on the other hand, you're right 97jhawk, "Sure Durant is good, but seriously, who else on that Texas team can score? No one. ", i second you on that point. the Hawks boys seem to get nervous about Durant right now. we shouldn't!! so let's beak and break Tex' horns, go Hawks!!!

jprich 15 years, 5 months ago

I'm assuming not many of you have followed the Longhorns very closely this year. If you had, you'd probably recognize the name D.J. Augustin. This guy can really score, and he is an excellent passer. If Durant wasn't in the league, Augustin would probably be the best freshman in the Big XII. Even better than Collins, but only slightly. Don't think that the Longhorns are ONLY Durant and Co. Watch the game Saturday, and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

Don't assume you KNOW the Longhorns scouting report just because you see Durant on SportsCenter highlights all the time. This team actually won in Lubbock; a feat that neither KU nor A&M cannot claim.

jprich 15 years, 5 months ago

Oops, put a double negative in that last sentence...I meant to say a feat neither KU nor A&M can claim.

Lash 15 years, 5 months ago

Can't beat them there if we don't play them there.....

jprich 15 years, 5 months ago

Oh, but we did play them there this year. And lose we did.

jaybate 15 years, 5 months ago

Vitate sinks further in my estimation. Look at who he's whoring, er trying desparately to rationalize for 1 seeds ahead of KU.

Florida: recent losses to scrappy, second rate Vandy (even OU would put them in the cheap seats) and the collapsed LSU (the team without guards, or a good record), plus KU beat UF on a neutral court! Did Billy Donovan hire a PI to find out Vitale's indiscretions, or is this just big media market greasing? Well, who would cheat with Dick?

He doesn't even try to make a case for North Carolina. He just puts them in even though they've been swept by VTech and lost to 3-5 seed Maryland. Has Roy given Vitale lifetime access to UNC players, or is this just big media market greasing? Well, Roy doesn't give anyone anything for life, except his soul to Devil, er, Dean Smith.

Ohio State he likewise doesn't even try to make a case for. And why should he? OSU played poorly against everything but B10 competition and have been getting by on a wing and a prayer and Oden's blocks. Did Thad Matta promise Dick a Hair Club for Men membership, or is this big media market greasing? Well, Dick's image and income depend on maintaing the bald thing.

His case for UCLA is enough to make me root for U Neva and Fazekas to get the 1 seed. Look at the tripe Vitale tries to pass off as tough challenges UCLA has met: Texas A&M, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, BYU, Michigan, Washington State plus a sweep of USC and Arizona. Except for aTm, which caught us on our worst night of the year and only lucked out by a couple, the rest of the schedule would be a bunch of mid packers in the B12. Oh, and KU beat USC.

Selection Sunday, once again, should instead be called Biggest Media Markets Sunday.

jross1972, after watching the 1 seeds collapse the last week or so, and reading the likes of Vitale keep signalling the selectors what ESPN-CBS want to see for 1 seeds, do you still wish to shrug about the cooperative effect of big media market bias in seeding?

Nauseating.

KU is 19 of last 21 and if they drop even one game, Vitale&Company will say it just shows they weren't a 1 seed, where as, the four from bigger media markets can lose and those can be rationalized.

yates33333 15 years, 5 months ago

Vitale is a boring windbag. At first his novel expressions were interesting, but that was twenty or more years ago. Now that are trite and tiring. Fortunately he broadcasts very few Big 12 games.

As an individual Durand is without doubt the best player in the country. He is needed more by his team than Law is by A&M, although Law is certainly valuable and A&M's record would be a few wins shorter without him. But UT would be in the second half of the big 12 without Durand.

William James 15 years, 5 months ago

The way A&M dominated the last 5 minutes on our court was more than luck. Law and company gave us a nice whoopin.

cobweb 15 years, 5 months ago

I agree. By the way, Acie Law is NBA ready, not Brandon Rush. I think Rush knows this which is good.

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