Friday, January 25, 2008

Big XII Weekend Capsule: Week 3, Part 2

Oklahoma (13-5) (1-2) at #25 Baylor (16-2) (4-0)

- Oklahoma avoided going 0-3 to start the conference season with a two point win over Texas Tech on Wednesday. With Blake Griffin out injured, the Sooners turned to his older brother Tony who responded with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Longar-Longar also had a big game as the Sooners attacked Texas Tech in the paint. Oklahoma will need to do that again if they have any hope of pulling off the upset. Oklahoma's guards have let them down so far this season, and it showed against Tech, shooting 29% from three point range. Baylor continues their ride of success as they are planting the seed to become America's Cinderella story for the season. Their 5 OT win at #18 Texas A&M is a milestone win for the program. Curtis Jerrells established himself as the go to player on this team. Also, this team can't afford for Kevin Rogers to get into foul trouble as he is their only reliable interior player. Baylor's weakness is their interior play, but if they can manage to limit opponents inside, their deep and talented guard play will carry them through a lot of games.

Prediction: #25 Baylor 75, Oklahoma 71

Iowa State (12-7) (2-2) at Kansas State (13-4) (3-0)

- Coming off a game where they had no chance against Kansas, the Cyclones will try and rebound on the road at the other Big XII surprise, Kansas State. Iowa State will need to attack inside with Wesley Johnson and Craig Brackins and try to get Bill Walker and Michael Beasley into foul trouble. It would also help Iowa State if they could get some consistent guard play, but most of all they need Rashon Clark to step up and be a leader for this team. As for Kansas State, it all depends on the two-headed monster. If you stop Beasley and Walker, you will beat Kansas State, but that's where people are having trouble. Beasley and Walker are averaging a combined 47 points and 14 rebounds a game in conference play. But as was the case in the Colorado game, that's all that Kansas State had going for it. The rest of the Wildcats combined to shoot 32% against the Buffaloes. Beasley and Walker are a force, but if either player is off or gets in foul trouble, this becomes a decidedly weaker team.

Prediction: Kansas State 77, Iowa State 68

Texas Tech (11-7) (2-2) at #12 Texas (15-3) (2-1)

- Martin Zeno is coming off of a career high 33 points against Missouri and will look to continue attacking a Texas team that has looked like anything but the #12 team in the country. Texas Tech is a guard oriented team which should allow them to match up well with Texas. Zeno is the best of their four starting guards, but freshman point guard John Roberson has come on strong as of late and gives the Red Raiders another offensive weapon. Knight teams are always scrappy and well coached, and with Zeno, they have one potent scorer. It is well known that Texas goes as far as DJ Augustin takes him. This has been even more true as of late as Texas has struggled to develop any inside presence. Damion James needs to have a big game and be active on the boards, but most of all Texas needs to develop their bench. All five starters played over 35 minutes in the Oklahoma State game, and they didn't get much of any contribution from their three freshman power forwards on the bench. It also wouldn't hurt for AJ Abrams, shooting 22% from 3 point range in conference play (32 attempts in 3 games), to get back on track. But regardless, if DJ Augustin plays well, Texas will be in the game at the end.

Prediction: #12 Texas 76, Texas Tech 72

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