Thursday, February 14, 2008

Big XII Weekend Capsule: Week 6, Part 1

Upset specials across the Big XII, as the Longhorns started off the week with a Big Monday win over #3 Kansas. However, the excitement didn't stop as upsets were rampent in mid week action. Missouri won on the road in overtime against Nebraska and the part duex coaches showed some life as Texas Tech knocked off #18 Kansas State at home and Oklahoma State managed to steal one from Baylor at home. The upsets knocked Baylor out of the Big XII Championship race and brought the bottom a little closer to the top.

Colorado (10-13) (2-7) at #3 Kansas (23-2) (8-2)

- How do you win when your opponent takes 60 shots and you take 33? Make 66% of them and go to the free throw line 29 times. Colorado did just that in their upset win against Oklahoma last week. They also finally got some scoring from people not named Richard Roby. If Colorado can score in the 70s instead of the 50s, they have a chance to win because of their defense. But now, coming back to reality, they get to face Kansas, after a loss for the second time this season. It will probably end up much like the first time. After watching Kansas in the Texas game, they are the best team in the conference, by far. They are deep and talented and they play unselfish basketball. There are four things that could derail this team's season.

1.) PG Play - Russell Robinson and Sharron Collins have gotten outplayed in their two losses this season. These two need to combine to stop the opposing point guard from scoring and controlling the pace of the game. They didn't do it against Jacob Pullen or DJ Augustin.

2.) Go to player - Who do you go to when you need a basket? There is no one that stands head and shoulders above the rest as the guy who is going to take the last shot. It hurt them in the Texas game and it will continue to be a problem if they're not up 20.

3.) Too much perimeter - I was amazed how good everyone on Kansas is around the basket. It seemed like Texas worked on taking away the inside game in the second half and Kansas became more perimeter oriented. Kansas moves the ball too well and is too talented up front for anyone to stop them from getting to the basket.

4.) Out worked - Like any great team, they are prone to getting outworked by a good team. Kansas got outrebounded 23-12 in the second half, which is just unexcusable for a team as strong inside as Kansas. They are talented, but they need to come out and out work their opponents if they want to win the big games.

Prediction: #3 Kansas 77, Colorado 54

Oklahoma State (12-12) (3-7) at #16 Texas A&M (20-4) (6-3)

- The Cowboys are the prime example of the difficulty of winning conference road games. They haven't won any road games this season and it probably won't start Saturday. Oklahoma State got a big win over Baylor on Wednesday and are hoping to try and build any kind of momentum to save their season. Against the Aggies they will need to win the guard battle. Eaton, Harris, and Anderson have to be better offensively and defensively than Sloan, Kirk, and Carter. They also need Marcus Dove and Ibrahim Thomas to stay out of foul trouble against the big Aggie front line. Texas A&M has won five straight games after losing three straight. They have gotten back to their principals of defense and interior play and it has saved their season. The biggest advantage their front line gives them is the rebounding edge and taking away second chance points. The Aggies outrebounded Missouri 41-21 last week. If they can keep Joseph Jones out of foul trouble, which they only seem to do against Texas, then this A&M team is one of the toughest outs in the country.

Prediction: #16 Texas A&M 67, Oklahoma State 58

Nebraska (14-8) (3-6) at Iowa State (13-12) (3-7)

- A battle of bottom dwellers as neither team can get their season on track. Nebraska finally got a huge game from Aleks Maric, but no one else stepped up to help, and the Huskers lost again. Maric is a force inside, but all season he has failed to get any consistent help from the rest of the team. Iowa State has lost four straight and six of their last seven as they have come close, but can't get into the win column. Iowa State needs to get better guard play and should turn to Diante Garrett as their starting point guard. He may be a freshman but he can score and does more for the offense than Peterson. Iowa State also needs to attack inside. They have three forwards and a center in their lineup but still get away from attacking teams in the paint. They need to go at Maric and overwhelm him. They should have too much talent for this Nebraska team to handle.

Prediction: Iowa State 65, Nebraska 61

Last week: 5-1
Overall: 23-7

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