Thursday, January 17, 2008

Big XII Weekend Capsule: Week 2, Part 1

Either the Big XII is a very strong conference this season, or an extremely mediocre one. Only Kansas, Baylor, and Kansas State are without a loss as both Texas and Texas A&M were upset in the first week of games. Kansas State won a pivotal match up with Oklahoma and Kansas looked all but unstoppable. Coach Knight got his 900th win as Texas Tech protected their home floor and upset #10 Texas A&M. The biggest news of the week definitely comes from Norman, where Oklahoma will be without their leading scorer and rebounder for at least 4 weeks, as freshman Blake Griffin went down with a knee injury. Saturday boasts another six games with some key early match ups...

Oklahoma State (10-6) (1-1) at Iowa State (11-6) (1-1)
- Road wins have been hard to come by so far this season, and this one shouldn't be any different. Oklahoma State is the better team, but they are young and inconsistent. James Anderson injured his ankle in the loss at Baylor earlier this week, and while he isn't expected to miss any time will be less than 100%. Oklahoma State will have a difficult time dealing with the size of the Cyclones as the guard heavy Cowboys will rely heavily on Marcus Dove. Iowa State will be riding the momentum from their win over Missouri. Wesley Johnson was dominant in the post in that game and should be again. Also look for the senior Rahshon Clark to continue to cause match up problems as a 6'6" combo guard. In a close game like this, you have to go with the home team, especially when you don't feel comfortable with Sean Sutton on the road.

Prediction: Iowa State 69, Oklahoma State 67

Texas Tech (10-6) (1-1) at Oklahoma (12-5) (0-2)
- Oklahoma started the conference slate off on a rough note, with a tough home loss to Kansas State by two. Things didn't get any better as Kansas smoked them by 30, and they lost freshman Blake Griffin for 4 weeks. The guards of Oklahoma are going to have to carry the Sooners if they have any hopes of steadying the ship while Griffin is out. Texas Tech got a huge win last night over #10 Texas A&M and Martin Zeno was great. While Tech is one of those teams that should only be a challenge in Lubbock, Knight will pounce on a Sooner team that has to overcome the mental hurdle of the Kansas loss and losing their best player.

Prediction: Texas Tech 74, Oklahoma 69

#10 Texas A&M (15-2) (1-1) at Kansas State (11-4) (1-0)
- Texas A&M typical pressure defense was nowhere to be found in Lubbock as the Red Raiders got whatever they wanted for much of the game. Texas A&M is also going to need better play out of Joseph Jones and DeAndre Jordan if they want to be a force in the Big XII. Both players got into foul trouble in Lubbock, and the guard play and bench is not as good as last season. Kansas State is a pretty easy scouting report. Contain Michael Beasley and stop Bill Walker and you've won the game. Oklahoma didn't do that as Beasley scored 32 points and pulled down 11 rebounds and Walker scored 22 as the only two Wildcats players in double figures. If A&M's defense can return to form and get better play from their interior, the Aggies should prevail. But it will be short prep time for what should be a hostile arena in Manhattan.

Prediction: Kansas State 81, #10 Texas A&M 77

Season Record: 4-2

Baylor at Nebraska, #3 Kansas at Missouri, and Colorado at #19 Texas tomorrow...

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