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In many respects, the separation has already occurred, with Texas and West Virginia sinking to the bottom with TCU and Tech; however, this week features the two unbeatens playing each other and 2 loss OSU going on the road against 3-1 Baylor in an attempt to stay near the conference leaders. On Saturday, 3-1 OU and ISU play the Kansas teams, so this is a big week in conference play.
The bottom 4 teams are 0-14 combined against the rest of the conference.
OSU @ Baylor
One of two games that are most likely to affect the top of the conference standings. Early start at 4:30 CST. Both teams need a win. OSU needs a win or risks falling farther behind the top teams, though it can offer the defense that it has had to play road games against everyone except Tech and TCU so far. Baylor needs a win to have something to brag about in conference. With the exception of the margin it put up on a weak Tech team, it has little to boast about in needing OT to beat Texas in Waco, beating TCU by only 11, and getting clubbed by KU.
OSU makes it hard to score inside, but is average at best at defending the perimeter. It blocks a lot of shots, makes very few turnovers, and hits all of its free throws. It has been badly outrebounded by good opponents, but is + on rebounding margin over the year. Since Baylor acquired Jackson, it no longer tends to play at a very slow pace, so Jurick might not see more time than is usual. I suspect foul situation will control his minutes. Baylor doesn't foul much, so OSU's ft % might not have a big effect on the game. Baylor has been prone to surrender 3s at a high percentage, but Forte is the only guy OSU has that shoots them particularly well. He was on against NC State and Gonzaga (9/16), but off against Va Tech, KSU, and OU (4/23), so it's impossible to say if he tends to show for big games or not. But, oh, by the way, Va Tech, KSU, and OU are the only true road games OSU has played so far. All good teams, but OSU went 0-3, losing by at least 6 in each game.
Texas @ OU
Now or never. Or now or Texas could be looking at what could turn into a 2-10 start to the conference slate. Having already dropped one at home to WVU, Texas has to get some road wins to think about getting back to .500. The likeliest candidates outside the two weaklings are WVU and OU.
OU defends the arc, shoots ft, and doesn't make turnovers. It doesn't excel at anything else, and it is attempting a mere 12.5 3 pt shots per game. Of course, Texas leads the conference in fouls committed by a large margin with nearly 22 per game. UT's opponents are averaging 30.75 fta per game in conference.
M'Baye and Osby present another challenge in the form of guys who are more agile than Texas bigs, and significantly bigger than Holmes and Bond. Osby gets to the line a lot. 89 fta / 137 fga. Only Pierre Jackson, McClellan and Smart have more fta among Big 12 players, and those guys have logged a lot more minutes and taken a lot more field goal tries. Holmes is going to have to keep his head in the game and not pick up dumb fouls.
Pledger is no longer the guy for OU, but Texas did a good job of keeping him under wraps over the last couple of years. He managed to hit some bombs (9/26), but he was a mere 10/32 inside the arc in 5 games.
I'll write up the big Tuesday match between KU and KSU later, as well as the expected slaughters of TCU and Tech at the hands of WVU and ISU respectively.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by bierce 15 months ago
Baylor starting to put some separation on OSU right now, 23-13, 7:12 left 1st half. Austin with 5 rebounds and 3 blocks. OSU getting one shot only. Jurick picked up his second foul at 11:12, Cobbins did at 8:31. OSU getting beaten bad inside.
OSU went on a 15-4 run to close the half. OSU did a much better job of keeping the ball away from the lane by harassing the ball on the perimeter and preventing Jefferson and Austin from setting up inside and making Austin move away while shooting. OSU also did much better in securing defensive rebounds and moving in transition offense. Jackson missing the front end twice was pretty bad, too. OSU 28 Baylor 27.
Baylor pulling away again, up 45-37 with Jefferson going to the line for a pair with 11:48 left. Brown and Jurick have 4 fouls each. OSU 1/8 bta. Baylor 4/11 ft. Baylor starting to win the board battle again.
Now 50-39 with Rose shooting, but missing the and one. Jefferson and Austin have split 20 rebounds and 10 blocks.
This post was edited by bierce 15 months ago
A walk-on just blocked Isaiah Austin.
Yes, but it's hard to laugh at a guy who went for 10 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Laugh with him, maybe.
Baylor 64-54, and OSU slides under .500 in conference, but it will have a more favorable schedule in the second half of the year.
I hate being right sometimes, which isn't that often.
OU 77% ft 21-27 (Osby 10-11)
Osby and M'Baye ate our lunch, dinner and fourth meal, too.
Holmes didn't stay in the game, and Texas couldn't handle those two.
OU attempted only 6 three pointers and held Texas to 31% bta.
OU guilty of a few more turnovers than might have been expected, but Texas does play some tough defense and the game went pretty chaotic in stretches.
Pledger only played 18 minutes and only scored 5 points.
KU @ KSU
KSU never wins this game. K-State has 3 wins over Kansas since the Big 12 was formed. K-State has won twice in Manhattan since 1983, but both of those wins were fairly recent--2008 and 2011. Frank Martin was obviously good for some things besides interesting photo ops.
What can KSU do to win this game? KU is among the nation's leaders in defensive efficiency (5) and offensive efficiency (17). KSU isn't bad, just not in KU's league (38 defense, 74 offense). KSU doesn't have a big that can draw Withey away from the basket. Gipson has developed some range, but not 15+ feet, and Henriquez and Diaz are no threat to score outside the paint. KSU's best metric on defense is 3pt % allowed, but KU takes very few shots bta.
KSU is a team in every sense of the word. Rodriguez is a quick pg, but he's small and not a good shooter. Spradling is a pretty good long range shooter, but limited athletically. McGruder is a pretty good shooter and a good athlete, but he isn't in McLemore's class in that regard. Southwell is an everything guy, Gipson is a vertically challenged load inside, Henriquez is a good defender with marginal offensive skills, etc. But they win. They win by sharing the ball (.650 assist/fg, highest in the Big 12 by far) and playing team defense. They are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country (39.8%), despite their lack of height (Henriquez and Diaz only combine for 26 mpg).
KU doesn't force a lot of turnovers, so KSU will have the chance to work the ball to get those assist situations. However, KU is one of the strongest defensive rebounding teams around (73.9%), which is something you don't see that often when the team's center is a notorious shot blocker. KU's length at every position makes rebounding against them very difficult, even with Withey challenging shooters in the paint all the time.
Winner moves to sole possession of first.
TCU @ WVU
Huggins needs this little break badly.
ISU @ Tech
Another chance for Tech to prove it can compete at home with a good team. It did so against Alabama and it did for part of the game against Arizona State and Kansas. It didn't against Arizona or Baylor. This game should be interesting to watch since ISU plays at a fast tempo and Walker promised to press every possession this year. If ISU doesn't commit turnovers, it could score in the 100s. Tech is 306th in 3 pt % allowed, so look out. On the other hand, I will note that KU managed only 60 points in Lubbock.
Very good effort by KSU, but not enough as is usual in the series. KU 59-55. Southwell had a great game, 19 points on 7/19 shooting (5/11 bta) and 7 rebounds, but he didn't have much help. Rodriguez dished 8 assists and McGruder chipped in 13 points, but Spradling went 0/5, all bta, and the team only got to the line 7 times. KSU was down 4 with 12:02 to go after a Southwell three and got possession, but on its next 5 possessions, it saw 2 McGruder missed 3s, then three straight turnovers and couldn't close the gap.
KU has now taken out 3 of the top challengers--KSU, ISU, and Baylor.
WVU in control late in the first half, despite the usual 0 fer bta in the first half. 27-18 with 3:59 left.
In a non-Big 12 game, Miami scored the first 7 in the second half to stretch its lead over #1 Duke to 49-19.
WVU 71 TCU 50
0-18 looms for TCU. Didn't shoot well, committed a lot of turnovers, beaten on the boards, missed a ton of ft. Kilicli showed more life for the duration of the game than I've seen him show all year. He needs to do that against the better teams.
Tech up 28-25 at the half. Kravic has played pretty well, and Tech is playing very good defense. If Gray had his head on and wasn't guilty of some bad turnovers and worse shots, Tech might be in control. ISU looks flat. Walker may have promised to press every single possession this year, but Tech isn't pressuring the ball this game, opting to slow it down. Probably a smart decision against ISU.
Tech just went on a 10-2 run and put Niang back on the bench with his 4th foul. Tech leading 43-39 8:00 to go. ISU guilty of some brain dead plays in the run. Lucious fouled a three point shooter as the shot clock was about to expire, then threw a pass to nobody.
ISU is normally a very good offensive rebounding team, but it has only 3 so far. Tech has done a very good job of limiting ISU to just one shot.
Wow, Tech is going to beat ISU. ISU threw up a ton of bad 3s late in the second half. Tech 55-51 with another ft coming and 10 seconds left. 56-51 final.
The bottom 4 just got its first win outside of beating each other, and it is Tech taking out ISU. Gray hit some really big shots late in the game. ISU finished 6/23 bta. Just a really bad game by ISU tonight and a really strong defensive effort by Tech.
I watched that happen and didn't quite figure out how it happened.
“Kansas may wind up number one in these polls, but that would be so unfair to Texas...” -- Len Elmore, 2/13/11
ISU grabbed only 3 offensive rebounds in 32 chances. This was by a team that is 24th in the country in offensive rebound % against a team that is 189th in defensive rebound %. This game made ISU drop from 4th to 9th in offensive rebound % in conference games and boosted Tech from 9th to 6th in defensive rebound % in conference games. Tech definitely closed off the glass. I think that is your answer as much as anything.
Terrible offensive efficiency -- they scorched Texas from outside and haven't done anything close since.
There was quite a bit of fling-it-up-there going on last night from guys who were way behind the arc. That much was obvious. I know that is a lot of ISU's game, but I really thought they made very little effort to get better threes rather than just chuck it from where they were.
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