Thursday, January 10, 2008

Big XII Weekend Capsule: Week 1, Part 1

Big XII Conference play opens this weekened with Kansas State and Oklahoma meeting for an important early matchup in Norman. #13 Texas and #3 Kansas also have challenging road tests in Missouri and Nebraska to start the conference slate. Everyone knows Kansas, Texas, and #10 Texas A&M will be battling for the crown at the end of the season, but it will be interesting what other teams will be in the mix towards the end of the season out of a group that includes Oklahoma, Kansas State, Missouri, and could it be, Baylor? Here's a look at this weekend's opening week matchups...

#13 Texas (13-2) at Missouri (10-5)
- Former UAB coach Mike Anderson has come to Columbia with his high energy, high pressure system, and it has already begun to show results. With a good recruiting class in place for next year, Anderson has this program on the right track. While they aren't ready to contend right now, Quin Snyder did leave some non-criminal talent at Missouri. Missouri is lead by DeMarre Carroll (PF/Jr; 14.8 ppg/6.8 rpg) and Stefhon Hannah (PG/Sr; 13.9 ppg/5.5 apg). But Missouri will run a lot of players at Texas and pressure the entire game. DJ Augustin, AJ Abrams, and Justin Mason will all be called upon to handle the ball and face the pressure, and if they can hold up, Texas' offensive fire power should be too much for Missouri to handle. The guard play at Texas is its strongest point, and the recent play of Damion James and the addition of Gary Johnson has Texas at the strongest it has been all season.

Prediction: Texas 87, Missouri 79

Texas Tech (9-5) at Oklahoma State (9-5)
-It is strange to not have Tech and OSU near the top of the Big XII. But this year both programs are in rebuilding mode. At times both have looked very good and very bad. Tech with wins over #14 Gonzaga and a one point loss to #25 Stanford, and losses to Sam Houston State, Centenary, and New Mexico by 17. Oklahoma State with wins against LSU and Washington by 25 and losses to Illinois, Oral Roberts, and #13 Marquette by 30. Tech is lead by Martin Zeno, but I'm told they have other players. The backcourt of Alan Voskil and John Roberson are the only other threats with both scoring in double figures. Oklahoma State will counter with their three guards, James Anderson, Terrel Harris, and Byron Eaton. The game may very well come down to the play of Marcus Dove inside for Oklahoma State. If he can have a big day he will take the pressure off of his guards to win the backcourt battle.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 65, Texas Tech 59

Colorado (8-6) at #10 Texas A&M (14-1)

- You would think Colorado is a talented Division III team the way they don't have anyone over 6'6" that averages at least 13 minutes a game. I guess that also could explain why they couldn't beat New Orleans. No, not the Hornets. New Orleans....College/University/High School? Richard Roby leads this team in scoring, rebounding, and attempts to kill himself or a teammate. I suppose I could go into how Texas A&M is playing well under Mark Turgeon, and Josh Carter has developed into a solid go-to threat, and how DeAndre Jordan is getting better every game averaging 10.3 ppg and 7.3 rpg, and how this program will continue to get better as they've already signed two ESPN 150 recruits for next year from, get this, Florida? But really, I think all you need to know is that Colorado is really, really, really bad.

PREDICTION: Texas A&M 81, Colorado 63

Tomorrow: Kansas State at Oklahoma, Iowa State at Baylor, and #3 Kansas at Nebraska

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