Posted on: December 1, 2009 1:06 pm

These Elevators Aren't Headed UP!???

We'll have two categories in this version of Elevators: Elevators OUT OF SERVICE, and Elevators DOWN.

Let me explain the first category...Elevators OUT OF SERVICE. The simplest explanation for this category is that these teams aren't going UP or DOWN! It isn't meant as a negative category, per se, but might be interpreted that way for some. For instance, if you are the number one team in the country, and have been since the pre-season, where can an elevator UP take you???? And if your not expected to regress and go down, then you wouldn't be on a elevator DOWN either, would you??? For other teams, the simple explanation fits!

The ratings I'm using are from KenPom.com and are the ratings before Monday's games were played...Thanks again to KenPom for all his great stats!


Kansas #9
...SOS #330 (Worst in the Big 12!!! - but it will improve, unlike some...but it won't improve much this week!)

Best Win: Memphis #25 - N (Neutral site)

Games Worth Watching (GWW): We'll have to wait a couple of weeks for good games, the cupcakes rule! and UCLA is definitely riding the freight elevator DOWN...so....
12/19 Michigan;  12/22 California;  1/2 Temple in Philly;  and  1/10 Tennessee in Knoxville

Those are four pretty good matchups...we just need to be patient and watch the KU team hopefully not cough up a furrball from all the cupcakes they'll continue to be eating for the next couple of weeks! That SOS won't improve too much over the next two weeks!

The skinny on KU....well so much is written about the number one team in the country, that I hope some of this is new!

KU is one of the Big 12 teams that haven't been very good from the FT line...KU is shooting only 67.7%. This is a good news/bad news thing for KU as they have MADE more FT's than their opponents have attempted -- barely (90-89). It is a good thing that the two guys who will probably shoot the most FT's in tight games, do shoot them well...X Henry is 94%, and Collins is 80%...OK KU fans, you can breathe a sigh of relief now!

KU had two pre-season All-Americans...Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich...neither of those is leading the team in scoring...Xavier Henry, a freshman, is the leading scorer for KU with 16.8 ppg and Collins is second with 13.6 ppg...look at these FG percentages...
X Henry    16.8 ppg and 53.7%
Collins      13.6 ppg and 55.8%
Marc. Mo.  11.4 ppg and 55.9%
Aldrich      10.8 ppg and 52.5%

An interesting note is that Marcus Morris's twin brother, Markieff, is scoring 7.4 ppg, and is shooting an INCREDIBLE 93% from the field, that is 14 of 15 makes in 5 games, half of them may have been dunks, but he is 3 for 3 from 3 point land, impressive!??

Another interesting note so far is that NOONE who has attempted a 3 point shot for KU this year is shooting under 33.3%!!!
The leaders are: Collins is 12 of 24; X Henry is 10/21; Reed is 7/15...

Last year the assist to turnover ratio wasn't a pretty sight! So far this year, the leading ball-handlers have the following A-TO ratios...
Reeds is 5.5 (11 assists to 2 TO's), Collins is 3.6 (20 and 6), X is 1.7 (12/7), Elijah Johnson (12/7), and Taylor (KU's secondary ball-handler) is 1.4 (17/12) -That's a stinker, clinker, clunker!

So lets do some GOOD NEWS / BAD NEWS for KU:

Bad news: Four of five opponents are currently rated lower than #200 by KenPom....ouch

Good news: Only 1 team on the remaining schedule is currently rated lower than 200! In fact, only 8 of the remaining 26 opponents are currently rated worse than 100!

Bad news: All five upcoming opponents are rated worse than 100! Great, just what we need, more cupcakes...NOT!!!!!!!!!

Good news: After those 5 cupcakes are digested, only 3 remaining opponents are currently rated lower than 100! That is a serious ratcheting up in the schedule...

Team stats (from ESPN)...These are national rankings!

KU is #1 in scoring offense with 90.6 ppg
KU is #3 in FG%
KU is #3 in 3P%
KU is tied for #55 in 3 P's made per game, with 9.4 pg
KU is T-93 in most total points scored (They have played only 5 games and some teams have played 8 or more games!)

So, sorry folks, even though KU has been feasting on cupcakes, their Elevator is not looking like it is going DOWN anytime soon!

Warning Signs!!!???? Well there are three things that should concern KU fans....First, all those cupcakes aren't great for preparing you for real competition! Second, the narrow win over Memphis. Third, the most important alarm is the FT shooting...didn't we learn the importance of that...a couple of seasons ago...against Memphis??? Isn't it interesting how things seem to get related to each other???


Joining KU in the Elevators OUT OF SERVICE category is:

Baylor #105 (6-1) ....SOS #290

Best win: Xavier #44 - N

GWW: (remember this is a relative thing! - Watching Baylor get smacked by a top 10 team isn't good viewing - IMO)
12/3 @Arizona State #12 (That rating is definitely suspect - CHI FI - you called it!) and 1/2 South Carolina #119

All the rest of Baylors OOC opponents are middling opponents, not really bad and not REALLY good!

So, why is their Elevator OUT OF SERVICE??? Glad you asked....

I think their rating won't be much different at the end of the year than it currently is...It will likely vary somewhat but not much! Winning those two GWW's would make me wonder if I should reconsider!

Now for some stats to backup the placement...

The Good: They did beat Xavier! OK, that's done...Oh yeah they also shoot 36.1% on their 3's and 31.8% of their FGAs are 3's...They don't foul that much...stay with me on this one...Their opponents have a FTA/FGA% of only 31.3% versus a national average of 37.9%...the interpretation is that their opponents shoot far fewer FTs than most teams do! One possible interpretation of that would be that Baylor is very athletic, and might even be learning to play some Defense...If they have, then they may be able to change lanes...er Elevators....Also indicating that they are an athletic team (a comparison would be to any Huggy Bear team!)...is that they block 17.3% of their opponents FGAs! So, looks like Baylor has a very good frontcourt

The Bad: They only assist on 51.6% of their made FGs (#201). That means they've got a lot of one-on-one action going! More bad...They have a higher turnover ratio than their opponents 21.3% to 18.4%...Their backcourt is young (Jerrels & Duggat are gone!)

The Ugly: Baylor is another team that is FT challenged...They have connected on only 60.3% #319 in the country...ouch!

OK - You can call me biased! If you look at the Baylor info through unbiased eyes...I think you see a lot of good indicators...BUT!!!
Last year I thought Baylor would be very good...They had experience in both the Front and Backcourts! What did they do? They stunk up the Big 12 regular season...Then got rolling in the Big 12 tournament...Beating my Hawks, and then going to the Final game of the Big 12 tourney, where they lost to Missou, and then going to the Final of the NIT...

So, I'm just saying that I am once burned...twice shy...with this Baylor team....On this one, I'm a very little like Missou...SHOW ME, or maybe I can say that I'm more like Jerry McGuire...SHOW ME THE MONEY!

Well, there aren't anymore Elevators OUT OF SERVICE! (Is that a good thing or a bad thing?????????)

Elevators - DOWN!!!!

There are three teams in this category, and they are here for different reasons....

Next Elevator - Please!

Nebraska #85 (4-1) .... SOS #255 (The SOS won't improve much during OOC games) 

Best Win: @USC #113

GWW: 12/22 Tulsa #40 (N)

No other OOC opponent is currently rated higher than #141 - Oregon State - that is a weak schedule, and will not prepare them for the Big 12! Is it any wonder that I expect their Elevator to be going down??? Wait, there is more (OK, not much more!)

NU is another FT challenged team...shooting 63%.

They do run an offense! They assist on 60% of their made FGAs!

There really isn't much else to say... Sadler is a good coach, but he has been unable to get any traction in recruiting quality players to Nebraska. They play hard, but just like UNC-Asheville last night against UK, they just don't have the horses to compete on most nights! Too bad because Sadler is a quality coach!

Next Elevator - Please!

Colorado #110 (4-2) .... SOS #239 (#6 in the Big 12...so far! - but it isn't going anywhere)

Best win: (IMO this category doesn't really apply so far...but oh well) Texas Southern #154 (see what I mean???)...BUT....
Their two losses are GOOD LOSSES! They lost by 4 to Gonzaga #35 (N), and by 4 to Arizona #96, in OT (N)

GWW: 12/4 Oregon State #141 (H); 1/2 @ Tulsa #40

This is another team that has struggled to get enough great players to really compete...They usually seem to have at least one really good player...This year that player is Cory Higgins. He's good enough that he will be on either the first or second All-Conference team. Maybe that will change this year? They've got a big Aussie, and last year's Missouri POY, and a JUCO player coming in...maybe the good losses are an indication that they are at the very least, somewhat upgraded!???

This team has not shown itself to be a good rebounding team...

They are an excellent FT shooting team at 81.2% (#6 in the country), and they get to the line a lot as indicated by a 52.9% FTA/FGA, good for #20 in the country. So, if other teams aren't very disciplined, they will make them pay by cashing in at the FT line!

They are shooting 3Ps well, at 43.2% (#22 in nation) as well as hitting all of their FGAs at a good rate 55.6% (#20)

They are a very efficient offense so far this season...#12 in the country!

So, again, a lot of positives, SO FAR, but I'm not sold on them being able to do anything but go down when the Big 12 Conference play rolls around!

Next Elevator - Please! (WARNING --- WARNING --- NOTICE BY MANAGEMENT -- THIS ELEVATOR HAS CRASHED AND IS GOING THROUGH A RECLAMATION PROJECT! - It may be some time before it is again Servicable!)

Oklahoma #151!!!!!!!!!!!!(3-3) .... SOS #230 (Zikes, that's not a killer SOS!)

No Good wins! And really no good losses!

GWW: 12/6 Arizona #96 (H); 12/21  UTEP#28 (In OKC?); 12/31 Gonzaga #55 (In Seattle???)

Who would have thought that OU would be the lowest rated Big 12 team, at this point in the season? NOT ME! Maybe Nostradamus predicted it, but I doubt if anyone else did!

This team is perhaps the negative story of the basketball season...so far... A national POY candidate in SG Willie Warren, and great recruiting class...and they are getting good production from the new players....but the results have been far from good...and that is against mediocre competition!

Some pundits were saying that with the departure of POY Blake Griffin, Warren would now be able to shine much brighter as the first option in the offense. I said that what would likely happen, is that defenses would be geared toward stopping him, and make the freshmen and other inexperienced players beat them...Even I didn't see the opponents being this successful...That should be a warning to UK...about depending on Freshmen! When other teams are good enough to D(efend) John Wall, their house of freshmen cards may cave-in as well! I am predicting it here, right now! UK finishes no better than #2 in SEC East, and most likely #3 in the East!

OU is really puzzling though! They are the 2nd best team in the country in FT% at 82.9%...

They are shooting a lot of 3s...39.6% of their FGAs are 3s (#48 in the country) but they are hitting a respectable 36.1% of them...
To me, the # of 3s indicates the lack of a interior offensive game...or a very underdeveloped one, at least.

When you have a freshman PG, even a very talented one like Mason-Griffin, the offense will often cough up a lot of TO's -- just like UK is doing right now...and OU is in the same boat...They are turning the ball over more than their opponents 21.4% of their offensive possessions end in a TO, while only 19% of their opponents possessions end in TO's!

So, what will the outcome of the season be for OU??? I see two different possibilities...They will have a sesaon that ends like the Florida Gators of the last two seasons, in that they will miss the NCAA tourney...or they will resemble the KU team of last year, which went through some growing pains (though nothing this serious) with all of their new players, but by the end of the year were a pretty good team...

Which way do I think it will turn??? I think it will be more like UofF than like KU...Why??? Because KU had an experienced PG and Post player last year...OU has neither this year...freshmen, yes very good freshmen, are in both of those positions...I think they will struggle to get their pile of sh!t (so far) wired together...possible, but probably too little ...too late to make the NCAA tourney...if they do make it, they aren't likely to get a very good seed! Tough slugging for the Sooners!

It's tough to count a team out when they have so much talent, and a guy who is an outstanding player, but when the best player isn't a PG...it makes it tougher...ask last year's Texas team about that! I'm hoping OU gets it turned around, but I'm unwilling to bet on it!

So, the Elevators have all been checked out...now its time for the games to go on!

Hope you enjoyed riding the elevators with me! Remember to post a comment saying what you liked or...ummm...what you didn't...LOL

Remember... This is A Big 12 Blog...and we (meaning I and the mouse in my pocket) believe "Its Our turn to RULE!

Good day Mate and Sheilas too!
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com