Friday, January 25, 2008

Big XII Weekend Capsule: Week 3, Part 1

The big story is obviously the 5 OT thriller in College Station on Wednesday, as Baylor announced their presence as a contender in the Big XII and the loss signaled real trouble for the Aggies. Not to be lost in all the excitement is a convincing win by Kansas State, and another blowout victory for Kansas.

Nebraska (11-5) (0-3) at #2 Kansas (19-0) (4-0)

- Something has to give, right? Or not. Nebraska comes into this game winless in conference play and it isn't going to change heading into the Phogg. Aleks Maric had 21 and 9 in a two point home loss to Baylor, but until he can get any consistent production from his backcourt, Nebraska will stay in the cellar of the Big XII. Kansas has won their four conference games by an average of 20 points a game. Kansas is content attacking teams inside with Dorell Arthur and Darnell Jackson, but this team has weapons galor and the only thing that can stop them, is themselves.

Prediction: Kansas 86, Nebraska 63

#18 Texas A&M (15-4) (1-3) at Oklahoma State (10-8) (1-3)

- All kinds of problems for the Aggies, who drop their third straight in conference play and are reeling. Freshman standout DeAndre Jordan was moved to the bench for the Baylor game which has to be a disappointing sign for the Aggies, who needed him to be a productive player on the offensive end, which he just hasn't been yet. The one positive was the play of sophomore Byron Davis who scored 30 points and had 14 rebounds in the starting role against Baylor. The real problem with this team continues to be the inability to fill the void left by Acie Law. Donald Sloan and Dominique Kirk are capable players, but no one has stepped up to provide the mental toughness, leadership, and late game heroics that Law provided the Aggies. They had hoped Josh Carter would have stepped up to become their go to guy, but he has relied to much on his streaking shooting and hasn't become that all-around swingman that the Aggies needed him to become. While Oklahoma State has also lost three straight in conference, it isn't as much of a surprise as it was for Texas A&M. It is a rebuilding year as the Cowboys rely solely on freshman James Anderson to provide their offensive fire power. Byron Eaton has continue to improve as a tough, physical point guard, but the Cowboys are in dire need from a more consistent offensive production from Terrell Harris and Marcus Dove. Anderson seems to be the only player that can create his own shot and is a dangerous threat each time down the floor. The Cowboys will stay in games because of their defense, but they will need more help for Anderson if they hope to start picking up in the win column.

Prediction: #18 Texas A&M 62, Oklahoma State 61

Missouri (11-8) (1-3) at Colorado (9-9) (1-3)

- Missouri has not been able to build of their upset of the Longhorns and are 0-4 on the road and have lost 3 straight in conference. They have played terribly on the defensive end, giving up 92 points against Texas Tech this week. They also have relied too much on their outside shot. Against Colorado they will need to attack the undersized Buffaloes with DeMarre Carroll, who got into foul trouble early against Texas Tech. Carroll provides the Tigers with some inside balance to their heavy guard lineup. As is the case with Colorado, their biggest test each game is managing to rebound and defend the paint with only two players over 6'6" that see playing time. Colorado will have to grind it out and slow the pace down against the Tigers, who like to pressure and run. If Colorado turns the ball over, this game could get out of hand. The Buffaloes also need to find some scoring outside of Richard Roby. Roby is the only Colorado player who is scoring night in and night out.

Prediction: Missouri 65, Colorado 59

Last week: 5-1
Season record: 9-3

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