We're now over 3 weeks into the season...There is still a lot we don't know about teams, but some trends are noticable.
In this Blog I'm going to discuss whether teams look like they will trend up or down, or whether their elevator is stuck between floors! I'll point out the best wins for each team and upcoming non-conference games that should be competitive, and hopefully worth watching...
Before I start, I'd like to give credit where credit is due! The statistics that I use are coming from 2 sources: First and foremost is from the:
KenPom.com site -- he has an amazing amount of information at his site... The team rankings I use are from his site...so when I say Colorado (#110)...I'm saying that KenPom has them rated as his #110 rated team out of all D1 teams!
Some team stats that I use are from ESPN.com stat pages... I like to use both ESPN and CBS sites for general stats, but ESPN provides better team numbers...for individual stats, CBS has great info!
OK, the credits have rolled, no let's get to the show!!!
I'm going to address the Big 12 teams by putting them into 3 groups -- Elevators UP!, Elevators DOWN!, and Elevators OUT OF SERVICE!
I think that most people want to know whats HOT more than whats NOT!
So, we start with:
ELEVATORS UP - TO THE TOP - PLEASE!
Texas (#1) (5-0) KenPom rates their SOS #69, second in the Big 12, behind only Texas A&M! Only 1 of UT's 5 opponents have been rated worse than 200.
BEST WIN(s): #35 Pitt - on a N (neutral court)
Their 3P% is a very moderate 34.5%, and their FT% is a rotten 63.7% (#271) in the country.
They have resembled a train, a little slow to get up to speed, but dang near unstoppable when they do!
Teams like Pitt and Rice were able to hang with them for about 30 minutes but were then steam-rolled!
Their next four opponents shouldn't require too much effort, all 4 are home games, with the highest rated opponent being #77 Long Beach State!
Then they will play one of the top weekly schedules:
GAMES WORTH WATCHING (GWW):
12/19: UNC (#67) in Dallas
12/22: Mich St. (#42) in Austin
Then they'll snooze thru cupcakes until Big 12 Conference play begins!
DANGER, Danger...Will Robinson!??? -- The Horns have 2 danger signals...first they lost their starting PG Ward for the season in a freak warm-up accident...and second - They aren't shooting FT's very well (This is like a plague, or at the very least, a common refrain, for most Big 12 teams!)
GOOD NEWS!!!? -- The Horns can look forward to some good news; PG Jai Lucas, a transfer from Florida, is eligible after the end of the first semester! Unfortunately, that means they'll have to take on UNC & Michigan State without either of their two best PG's!
Next Elevator please!
Texas A&M #7 (5-1) ...SOS is rated as #3 in the country, tops in the Big 12!!!!...what a difference a good week can make!
#10 Clemson, and #8 Minnesota in the 76 Classic - both N
Their only loss was to #2 WVU, by 7 on a N (neutral court)
Three of their 6 opponents are currently rated in KenPom's top 10 -- and they won 2 of those three games!!!
Since they were working last week, they'll Feast this week instead....their next 3 opponents are all rated worse than 100...
12/12 @ New Mexico #16 and 12/22 @ Washington #11
That will make 5 non-conference opponents ranked in the top 20! And if they win the rest of their OOC games, they will have earned a top 10 ranking in the national polls, though the remaining OOC schedule (Other than the 2 GWW's) is decidely light!
Danger!??? -- Like Texas, they don't shoot FT's very well, only 61% so far, ranking them an abysmal #313!
GOOD NEWS!!!? -- The Aggies have made themselves known by their great showing in the 76 Classic...now they need to sustain it! I had them ranked as the #5 team in the Big 12 in the pre-season, behind KU, UT, KSt., and OU...right now they look like no worse than the 3rd best team in the Big 12!
ELEVATORS UP - DESTINATION UNKNOWN!
These teams have shown some potential, and are ahead of where most thought they would be at the beginning of the season...The question is: "Is it all smoke and mirrors, and great tasting cupcakes, or would Clara Pellar be able to find some beef here?"
Missouri #14 (4-1) SOS #231...Were looking impressive until losing to Richmond (#34) by 7 on a N
BEST WIN: #27 ODU on a N
GWW's: 12/2 @ Vandy (#48), 12/5 Oregon (#46), and 12/23 Illinois (#91) - N
Their opponents turn the ball over on 30.3% of their possessions - Thats the 4th highest rate in the country! They are also #1 in the country in steal % - They steal the ball on 19.7% of the opponents' possessions! IMPRESSIVE! That pressure D seems to be working!
They get assists on over 60% of their made FG's! The national average is only 53.7%, and Kentucky's is only 53.3%!
36.5% of their FGA are 3P's, the national average is 32.6%. That's a lot of 3P's! The good news is they hit 38.4 % of their 3's (#76)
No FT woes here...They make over 73% of theirs!
They are in this category because?.....That loss to Richmond (a good, probably a tournament team - but probably not a great team) calls into question what their ceiling is! The answer should be clearer after they've played those 3 GWW's!
KState #39 (5-1) ...SOS #198... I picked these guys to finish 3rd in the Big 12 in the pre-season. The only team I currently see that might move them down is Texas A&M. They've played two good teams, beating one (Dayton #115) and losing to the other (Ole Miss #33).
They still look like a tourney team to me, but...
They only shoot 61.2% from the FT line (#309)
Good news...They shoot 52.2% from the field!
Best win: Dayton #115 - N
Good loss: Ole Miss #33
GWW: 12/8 Xavier (H), and 12/12 @UNLV
The rest of the OOC schedule is cupcakes and icing, and lots of it!
Their here because?....They have shown some promise but I'm not sure how good they can be...
ELEVATOR HAS BEEN UP - BUT IT MAY BE A MIRAGE - Or maybe its really just a work in progress??!
Oklahoma State #21 (6-0) ...SOS #269...Yes they are 6-0, but...
Best Win: Utah #126 - N
GWW: 12/2 @Tulsa #40; 12/5 Texas - San Antonio #38 (H)
They have only assisted on 43.1% of their FG's (#314) - That's a lot of one-on-one action...sounds like the dribble and shoot offense doesn't it??? The good part of their shooting efforts is that only 24.1% of their FGA's are 3P's...that's very few 3's!
We'll have a better idea if they are real and will be in or if they'll be out after those 2 GWW's!
TTech #59???????? (7-0) ... SOS #255 (Better than KU's!)
Best Win: Texas A&M CC (#101)
GWW: 12/3 Washington #11 - H; 12/19 @ Wichita State #76; and 12/29 @ New Mexico #16; and 1/23 UTEP #28 - H
If they win any of those 4 GWW, they are better than I think they are! If they can win just one, domesticate those dogs!!!
This team can shoot FT's...77.3% (#19)
Their offense seems to be more disciplined and more balanced than last year! Last year they shot 3's on 32.3% of their FGAs, which they hit at a rate of 36.9%...This year they are only shooting 3's on 22% of their FGAs...that's a good thing they are shooting less of them, because they are hitting a lower %...34.1%
Iowa State #45 (6-1) ... SOS #324 (only barely better than KU's #330!)
They were looking VERY good...until they lost to #97 NW by 2 - N
Guess what, just like so many other Big 12 teams, these guys can't shoot FT's!!! They make only 63.6% (#273)
BUT...Go figure, they CAN shoot 3P's...They are #2 in the country at 49.6%!
Best Win: #104 St Louis
GWW: 12/5 @ California #17; and 1/6 Duke #3 (N) ....Win either of those two and they will UP and OUT of this category!
I think they will have a chance against Cal!!! Duke will be a really tough match-up for them, but a very good test!
SUMMARY (Bet you thought we'd never get here!)
So, that is a total of 7 teams that have been riding the elevators up so far! I'm hoping that they keep riding them up, but the last group of three have their work cut out for them to prove they are for real!
Do you think I've missed anybody?
There are only 5 other Big 12 teams: KU, OU, Nebraska, Baylor, and Colorado...
All of those guys will be seen in my next blog!
The categories will be: Elevators DOWN and Elevators OUT OF SERVICE!
As always, I enjoy dialogue!
Let me know what you think!
If you have a Big 12 question, post it here and I'll try to answer it! Hey, I'm no professional, but I do know my Big 12 teams, or if I don't know, I look for the info!
This Blog's motto is:
It's the Big 12's turn to Rule!