Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Readers are Restless...

Thanks to all of PYB's readers, who've shown a recent penchant for contributing to the pages of this blog through sheer frustration or just for the fuck of it....

--AMG pours out a little liquor in honor of the death of Gerry Rafferty, singer of the classic song Baker Street. We could drink a million beers to this song and smoke at least a pack of cigs....

--Hubcap chimes in with the list of eerie similarities between Rich Rodriguez and Bill Callahan. PYB says he only forgot to list the delusional alumni who think that the the programs should all be stocked with hometown kids and that the offense from the 1940s would still work like a charm:

1. Outsider coach
2. Clash in offensive philosophy and stubbornness to adapt to the players already there and insisting to implement their offense without the right players to run it
3. Embarrassing Losses
4. Non competitive in big games two wins vs Top 25. Three wins for Callahan
5. Replaced a program fixture as head coach (The Rat a fixture is a stretch!)
6. Fell out of the rankings for the first time in ages
7. Never embraced the tradition and wasn't embraced by the Wolverine/Husker Nation
8. Lack of player development
9. Brought a winning program to mediocrity
10. Losses to teams they haven't lost to in years
11. Streak broken of yearly winning record dating back to the 1960s

--Donnie Baseball tries to prove he's still fresh by showing us all he listens to rap videos on Youtube. AI says, "I know I spoda be dere....." The seersucker, crab stitched pants a couple years back showed us he'll never be fresh again--and probably never was!

--Rod hates Ram Jam "Black Betty" played during baseball at bats....

--Finally, the Donger drops some Big XII hoops knowledge with his pre-conference preview as we all hope that this is the year that NU goes 8-8. And as we always do, we'll be devising a plan for them to go 7-9 in conference after another 0-3 start. Hope springs eternal. And for the record, I was way too tired to proofread this masterpiece today...

#1 – Kansas (Record 13-0, RPI - #2)
Jay-cocks find themselves atop the conference as usual – much to the dismay of Cornhusker fans everywhere (and I don’t mean those Husker FB/Jay-cock BB fans that infiltrate the Bob every time KU shows up). The addition of Josh Selby seems to be the catalyst to another Jay-cock run to the conference title. To this point, they are clearly the class of the league. The buzzer beating win vs. USC does, however, give Husker fans hope.

Key Wins – Arizona, Memphis
Key Losses - None

#2 – Missouri (13-1, #33)
This may be a lofty ranking, considering the Tigers pillowy-soft schedule to date. The only blemish being the scintillating overtime loss to Georgetown in the ‘Zou. As usual, Mike Anderson’s team is scoring a significant amount of points, while playing the Gold & Black version of “40 minutes of hell”. The 17.6 point average margin of victory may be misleading, as they continue to give up a significant amount of points. Rebounding & FG defense are the main weaknesses here. More confidence building for NU, as Mizzou only defeated Vanderbilt by 3, a team that NU lost to by 10 points in Puerto Rico.

Key Wins – Vanderbilt, Illinois
Key Losses - Georgetown

#3 – Texas (12-2, #35)
The ‘Horns seem to have found the karma that Mack Brown’s team never had this season. Currently riding a five-game winning streak that includes wins over UNC & Sparty, the Horns are a deep, athletic team that has proven they can play with anyone in the country. Yet another reason for NU to believe - as the ‘Horns were bottle blasted by USC, in Los Angeles (17 points) before embarking on their current streak.

Key Wins – Illinois, North Carolina, Michigan State
Key Losses – Pittsburgh, USC

#4 – Kansas State (12-3, #26)
Frank “Guido” Martin’s team of “professionals” (PYB assumes that KSU’s payroll is higher than that of the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers) appear to have survived a mild, mid-non-conference slump and with their tenacious defense & physical play, they will be in the conference battle to the end. A very difficult early schedule has prepared them well for the rigors of the Big XII. If Guido can stay out his own way and let Jacob Pullen & Curtis Kelly do their thing, this team should win 10-12 conference games.

Key Wins – Washington State, Gonzaga, Virginia Tech
Key Losses – Duke, Florida, UNLV

#5 – Baylor (10-3, #150)
Most would deem this ranking way too high for a team with an SOS of 285 (out of 345) but given what Baylor lost to graduation and their new additions, it is our feeling that at the end of the season, the Bears will be a force to be reckoned with. This outlook assumes that Coach Scott Drew will continue to get Perry Jones involved in the offense and that LaceDarius Dunn (all name team MVP and ho-beater) continues his scoring uptick (43 Points & 10 threes on Tuesday night vs. Morgan State)

Key Wins - None
Key Losses – Gonzaga, Washington State, Florida State

#6 – Texas A&M (13-1, #30)
Mark Turgeon’s Aggies seem, along with Okie State, to be the unknowns in the conference race this season. A schedule that looks good on paper, to date, may not turn out to be that way once conference play commences – as evidenced by their current SOS of 137. If the officiating is ‘fair’, this is a winnable game for NU, in Lincoln. If the officiating is on par with the game in 2008, then NU has no chance.

Key Wins – Arkansas, Washington, Temple
Key Losses – Boston College

#7 – Oklahoma State (12-2, #38)
The other great unknown in the conference this year. There is not one quality win on the schedule, unless we are counting Missouri State as a quality win (Jaybackers from Creighton would have you believe so, as the Bears are fresh of their 10-point win in Omaha last night). Other wins that could qualify as “quality” at the end of the year are Stanford & Alabama, but the jury is out on those teams. A team that usually prides itself on defense is only in the middle of the pack, in terms of FG defense & rebounding, so this is also a team that can be had by NU, in a game in Lincoln.

Key Wins – None
Key Losses – Virginia Tech, Gonzaga

#8 – Nebraska (12-2, #113)
The travails of the Huskers are well documented, so we won’t waste much time here. Other than to reiterate the embarrassing nature of the schedule in the non conference season. The removal of Christian “Welp” Standhardinger, seems to have solidified Doc Sadlers’ rotation. The Big Red continues to play excellent defense, leading the conference in FG defense and points allowed. In a shift from recent seasons, NU is also 3rd in the conference in FG Shooting – hopefully a sign that NU can make shots, which eliminates transition baskets. This slows down the game, which is always in favor of a Doc Sadler team.

Key Wins – USC
Key Losses – Vanderbilt, Davidson

#9 – Iowa State (13-2, #97)
It is doubtful that even “The Mayor” can save this team from completely falling apart in the conference season, despite the difficult home court environment the venerable Hilton Coliseum provides. The only respectable win in the 13, to date, is a road win at a “below average” Virginia squad. A buzzer beating win (and a suspect one, at that) against Creighton, in Ames, does not help the resume. The schedule is the worst of all 12 conference teams and the ‘Clones 18.5 point, average margin of victory is as misleading as their record. This is a team that NU MUST win in Lincoln and should have a good chance of beating on the road. NU MUST go 4-2, at worst, against the bottom four teams in this ranking.

Key Wins - None
Key Losses – Northern Iowa, California

#10 – Colorado (10-4, #132)
Despite having two “above average” players in Alecs Burks and Cory Higgins, the Buffs appear destined for another season that ends with a first-round loss in the conference tournament. The Golden Buffs don’t score, can’t rebound and don’t play defense. The only positive early in the season is the team shooting over 50% from the floor. With a typical home court crowd that resembles a Lincoln SW vs. Lincoln SE game, winter remains a reason for most people in Boulder to ski, do tons of cocaine and go to Phish concerts. NU has to sweep CU, something that hasn’t happened in quite some time.

Key Wins - None
Key Losses – Georgia, San Francisco, Harvard, New Mexico

#11 – Texas Tech (8-7, #201)
Pat Knight will need all of his coaching pedigree to give this team any hope of finishing higher than 11th in the conference. The Red Raiders, who play in the only arena in the league that is more of a mausoleum than the Bob, have no wins against even a decent D-1 team. The worst defensive team in the conference, the Raiders have to rely on an offense that is the fourth worst in the conference in shooting. Not a winning combination. Although it would be tough to top Knight’s absolute meltdown against NU in 2007, there is a chance that his team’s miserable play could lead to another epic tirade.

Key Wins - None
Key Losses – North Texas, St. Mary’s, South Florida, TCU, Washington, New Mexico

#12 – Oklahoma (8-6, #208)
It is almost inconceivable that as recently as two years ago, this was a team vying for a conference championship. With transfers, early defections, the probation (courtesy of now unemployed Kelvin Sampson), the program is at a low not seen since the days BEFORE Billy Tubbs (one of PYB’s all time favorites). Much like Colorado, this team can’t score, plays little defense and can’t rebound. Another winnable game for NU, even in Norman. It is rumored that more people in Norman drive by Bob Stoops new house (14,000 square feet) than attend OU basketball games. Oh, how we long for the days of Mookie, Waymon, Stacy and the boys.

Key Wins - None
Key Losses – Kentucky, Virginia, Arkansas, Arizona, Cincinnati

Here are the projected post-season placements for the conference teams:

Regular Season Champion – Kansas

Tournament Champion – Texas

NCAA – Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas A&M

NIT –Oklahoma State, Nebraska

CBI/CIT – Iowa State

None – Colorado, Texas Tech, Oklahoma

~The Donger

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