Friday, February 8, 2008

Big XII Weekend Capsule: Week 5, Part 2

Texas Tech (12-9)(3-4) at Nebraska (13-7)(2-5)

- Pat Knight's debut fell just short as his team hung tough on the road in Waco. But almost still leaves the Red Raiders where they were before the game. Winless on the road. The tough thing about being a head coach, is that there's nothing that can adequately prepare you for it. All coaches are going to learn from being a head coach, making mistakes, and learning from them. Fortunately, most coaches learn those lessons at smaller schools before working their way up to the big time. Pat Knight will get to take his lumps in the Big XII Conference, and as Sean Sutton is learning, it's not the smoothest ride. Nebraska has shown some signs of life winning two out of their last three. They have been getting some mediocre guard play as of late and that's about all they can ask for. This team still lives and dies behind the play of Aleks Maric. If he can dominate the paint in front of the home crowd, the Cornhuskers can pull the upset.

Prediction: Nebraska 62, Texas Tech 57

Oklahoma State (11-11)(2-6) at #20 Kansas State (16-5)(6-1)

- Oklahoma State knows what they have to do to win this game, but the question remains as to whether they can contain Michael Beasley or Bill Walker. Marcus Dove will have his toughest assignment of the year as he has to guard Beasley. It should go over about as well as covering Kevin Durant did last year. (Not well) On offense, the Cowboys need much more of it, and it needs to come from their guards Muonelo and Terrell Harris. Teams are keying on James Anderson and his teammates haven't stepped up. Sean Sutton is another coach that is learning that road wins in conference are hard to come by, as the Cowboys are winless this season on the road. For the Wildcats, Jacob Pullen is the key. If the freshman point guard plays well, takes care of the ball, and provides a third scoring option, this Wildcats team is tough to beat. If he doesn't play well, Beasley and Walker will still be able to carry them on any given night. Kansas State should have learned their lesson against Missouri about overlooking weak opponents, they shouldn't make that mistake twice.

Prediction: #20 Kansas State 77, Oklahoma State 69

Baylor (17-4)(5-2) at #4 Kansas (22-1)(7-1)

- The Bears need to play a complete game to have a chance to knock off the Jayhawks at Allen Field House. They have the guards to be able to dictate the pace of play and control the backcourt, but they need everyone playing a good game. The biggest thing they will need to do is defend. Baylor can score with anyone in the conference, but they need to put together better defensive efforts on the inside and outside if they hope to win some of their big games. The Jayhawks need to attack the Bears inside. They need to get Darell Arthur and Jackson back on track and getting the Baylor front line in foul trouble. Also, they need Russell Robinson and Sharron Collins to win the point guard battle against Aaron Bruce and Tweedy Carter. If Kansas can dictate the pace they can keep the crowd in the game and keep the Bears off their game. The Jayhawks also need to keep Kevin Rogers and Curtis Jerrells under wraps. Both players are capable of going on a run and keeping their team in the game.

Prediction: #4 Kansas 87, Baylor 76

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