Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Big XII Rankings: Week 2

Pretty often I’ll try and come up with rule changes in sports to make them better (i.e. three point line, instant replay, etc.) and very rarely do I succeed. However, there’s one that occurred twice last night that I’m positive would be for the better, however minor it may be. And it is extremely minor. But it seems to happen every single game and it never seems to make any more sense. In truth, it’s not even a rule; it’s an interpretation.

Nine times out of ten it happens closing out on a three point attempt. The shooter releases the ball and afterwards the defender runs into him or however which we he commits the foul, but the ball has clearly left the shooter’s hands. And yet, when the shot misses, the shooter is awarded three shots. How does this make any sense? Once the ball leaves his hands, he is no longer shooting and he is just like any other player on the court. In essence, he’s really just another rebounder. And yet, for some reason he’s treated differently.

That little rant has nothing to do with my post, but it bear mentioning I think. If you come across someone that can take it up with the rules committee, please bring it to his or her attention. And with that, we’re on to our conference round-up for this week. Not too much has changed since we last discussed this except for the revelation that either: 1) Nebraska is good at home, or 2) KSU and Missouri are tremendously awful on the road.

1. Oklahoma (17-1, 3-0). They’ve had by far the best league season so far by beating who is widely considered the second best team in Texas and winning two road games against decent competition (KSU and A&M). Blake Griffin and Willie Warren continue to impress, but what’s keeping them well above the rest has been the emergence of older brother Taylor, Austin Johnson and even Tony Crocker. They still have no bench whatsoever to speak of, with the lone possible exception of Cade Davis. (Previous: 1)
This week: Wednesday v. Nebraska, Saturday v. Baylor

2. Texas (13-4, 2-1). They haven’t fully impressed yet and they’re still without a point guard, but their offensive strategy switch on Saturday was very intriguing. If they can find a way to hide their deficiencies without sacrificing too much, they could take a step up. I still really like their defense, but I’m not yet convinced they can score against good, or even decent, defensive teams – because honestly, they’ve yet to do as much. (2)
This week: Wednesday v. Texas A&M

3. Baylor (14-3, 2-1). We’ll know a lot more after this week, but I’m starting to question them a bit more. As soon as they lost to South Carolina (and gave up 86 in the process) I knew they were same old Baylor. But after watching them get somewhat handled at A&M (and give up 84) and then struggle to hold off OSU at home (and give up 92) I’ve officially lost hope. They’re still plenty dangerous, but at some point you have to play defense if you want to be taken seriously. For the time being, they do not. (3)
This week: Wednesday @ KSU, Saturday @ Oklahoma

4. Kansas (14-4, 3-0). Since we last spoke eight days ago, the Hawks have won their first three league games and yet, we don’t know a whole lot more than we did then. That’s not to take away from their wins or their progress (both commendable), but it’s just a fact. I’ve seen some positive developments, etc. but nothing has happened that we didn’t see coming and they're still the 11th youngest team in the nation. As with the rest, we’ll know more shortly – possibly as soon as Saturday. (4)
This week: Won v. Texas A&M 73-53, Saturday @ Iowa State

5. Oklahoma State (12-4, 1-1). We still don’t know much, but the win over A&M was good and they really let one get away down in Waco – which, despite hurting their resume, was impressive all the same. I greatly question their defense, but like Baylor (and even Missouri), their offense makes them extremely dangerous when their shots are falling. (5)
This week: Wednesday v. Missouri, Saturday @ Nebraska

6. Missouri (15-3, 2-1). I’m giving them the bump for the time being, but I may regret it as soon as tomorrow. They’ve been extremely impressive in obliterating Colorado & ISU at home, but they were obviously pathetic in Lincoln. Can they get a stop when they need to? Can they score in the half court? Can they beat even a marginal team on the road? Right now the answers are: no, no, & we have no idea. We’ll learn a lot more in the next couple weeks. (7)
This week: Wednesday @ OSU, Saturday v. Texas Tech

7. Texas A&M (15-4, 1-3). They’re probably not as good as their 15-4 overall record, but they’re not as bad as their 1-3 league mark either. They’re currently lacking an offensive identity and aren’t nearly as good on defense as they get credit for, but they’re solid all the same. Presuming they lose Saturday, Turgeon will really need to rally them so as not to let this tough early schedule (and losses) snowball into a bad season, because they have some nice parts and could be a tournament team come March. (6)
This week: Lost @ KU 73-53, Saturday @ Texas

8. Nebraska (12-4, 2-1). It may just be my own stupidity, but I actually think KSU is a better team. But that little thing called a 22 point loss to these Huskers makes it a pretty tough point to argue. Back to the Huskers, I think my assertion that they’re the weirdest team is proving more and more true. How else can you explain their loss to Baltimore-Maryland County, yet they beat a decent Missouri team and run K-State off the court? By the way, a 30-20 from Griffin just might be possible tomorrow night. (9)
This week: Wednesday @ Oklahoma, Saturday v. Oklahoma State

9. Kansas State (11-6, 0-3). Currently in last place all by their lonesome, the Wildcats are in a danger zone. Like I said, I think they could fit in at eighth, but they have somewhat of a must-win tomorrow and an absolute must win this weekend or things could get ugly. And really, the more I see the less I trust them and Big Frank. (8)
This week: Wednesday v. Baylor, Saturday @ Colorado

10. Iowa State (12-6, 1-2). Like many of the other teams near the bottom of this list, they’re dangerous at home and almost irrelevant anywhere else. Brackins is an all-league guy (second or third team) and Garrett has really improved from a year ago, but there isn’t much else. Let’s hope they can’t find any Hilton magic this weekend. (10)
This week: Saturday v. Kansas

11. Texas Tech (10-7, 0-2). At this exact moment, they’re locked in a battle with the only team on this list below them and it’s as riveting as expected with them leading 27-23 at the half. I’m still stunned that they played Pitt so close early on, because every time I’ve seen them they’ve found a way to lower the bar on my already-low expectations. (11)
This week: Right now v. Colorado, Saturday @ Missouri

12. Colorado (8-8, 0-2). I highly doubt this happens, but I won’t be completely shocked if they don’t win another game. I was so unbelievably unimpressed with everyone not named Cory Higgins that I couldn’t believe they were an actual Big XII team. Bzdelik may be the right hire – and I personally think he knows his stuff – but he has a task on his hands there in Boulder. (12)
This week: Right now @ Texas Tech, Saturday v. K-State

Inaugural Rankings (1/12)

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