Friday, October 29, 2010

Big 12 Conference Preview

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
The Big 12 conference was conceived as the best conference in all of College Basketball. The Texas Longhorns, and Kansas Jayhawks both reached the No. 1 ranking in the polls.

Not to mention, the Kansas State Wildcats, Missouri Tigers, Baylor Bears, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Tech Red Raiders, and Oklahoma Sooners all reached the top-25.

With that said, the RPI rating for the Big 12 was atop of College Basketball. This season, nothing changes.

The Big 12 will still be one of the toughest conferences but it does have a new leader.

The Kansas State Wildcats was recently picked as the No. 1 overall team in the Big 12 by the coaches. The Jayhawks were selected to finish second, and the Longhorns following at three.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders believe they'll have a productive season, and the Jayhawks want to rebound. While the Wildcats are looking to live up to their expectations as the No. 3 team in the nation.

This year in the Big 12 will be tough. Here is a preview of the tough conference.

Most Talented Team
Kansas State Wildcats - The Wildcats returned almost every significant player from last year's Elite Eight squad besides lead guard Denis Clemente. However, they did return Jacob Pullen their leading scorer. With Pullen leading the way, Head Coach Frank Martin can't stop saying good things about his senior guard. "Jacob has been unbelievable in the commitment he has made to grow as a human being, as a player, to lead our program," said Coach Martin. The Wildcats have high expectations with a No. 3 overall ranking in College Basketball, but with Pullen leading the way along with Curtis Kelly, and Jamar Samuels the Wildcats will have a lot of fun this year.

Big 12 Sleeper
Colorado Buffaloes - The Buffaloes returned their leader Cory Higgins, who scored 18.9 points per game last season. Alec Burks wasn't far behind Higgins with 17.1 points per outing, and he returned as well. With this dynamic backcourt duo, the Buffs' are my team to watch. "He (Alec) is a guy that can create for himself and he can create for his teammates," said Head Coach Tad Boyle. He also spoke about Higgins saying "He's a terrific player, and he's a guy, again, that has the respect of all his teammates." Burks, and Higgins cannot do it all for Colorado. So if other role players step up and commend their efforts, the Buffs' might be one of the top teams in the Big 12.

Team to Disappoint 
Kansas Jayhawks - The Jayhawks did acquire one of the most talented recruits in the 2010 class, and retained special players from last year's squad, but they are not a No. 2 caliber team in the Big 12. With the notion that Josh Selby will not be given eligibility the Jayhawks certainly will not have a productive season. Sherron Collins made significant plays last season for the Jayhawks down the stretch. This season, the Jayhawks do not have Collins, and no other player with the mentality to take over in late game situations.

Team to Watch
Texas Longhorns - Last season, at the midpoint the Longhorns were the No. 1 overall team, with a 17-0 record. However, after that the Longhorns disappointed. The lack of a true point guard was showcased during both the Texas Tech, and Kansas State game. One game was won, however, the other was loss. The Longhorns did return J'Covan Brown, and acquired both Tristian Thompson, along with Corey Joseph. If the Longhorns can establish a leader, they're worthy of their No. 3 ranking. However, if they cannot they'll disappoint their fans for the second straight year.

Big 12 Player of the Year
Jacob Pullen (KSU) - I don't think there's a player in the NCAA that means more to their team than Jacob Pullen. Pullen led the Wildcats last season with 19.3 points per game, while scoring 22.7 during the NCAA tournament. He returns his skills to a loaded Kansas State team that was tabbed as the No. 3 team in the nation, and selected to win the Big 12 conference.

Most Improved Player
Dash Harris (TA&M) - In 26 minutes of action Dash Harris accumulated 4.9 points, 3.4 assist, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. His all around skill-set will only get better this season. With more minutes, Harris production should increase as well.

Top Newcomer
Perry Jones (BU) - Perry Jones stands at 6-foot-10, and has the ability to handle the ball, shoot, and penetrate the lane. Jones is a big forward and could play on the wing and post. With that said, the Bears possess one of the top players in the Big 12. His versatility should be emphasized a lot this season, allowing him to produce consistently.

All Big 12 First Team
G - Jacob Pullen, G - LaceDarius Dunn, G - Alec Burks, F - Curtis Kelly, F - Marcus Morris

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