Sunday, February 27, 2011
Belated Big 12 Preview
PYB's apologies to Seth Svoboda, as our SPAM folder gobbled up his entry Saturday morning for some reason.....
Big 12 Preview and Last Hopes for Husker Fans
By Seth Svoboda
Leaving Devaney Wednesday things didn't look to good for the Huskers. A lot has been made of the fact that Andre Almeida and Jorge Brian Diaz shot so poorly against Kansas State, but it wasn't as if they were missing shots they normally make. They were manhandled underneath and were just throwing up junk that had no chance of going in. I'm pretty sure Diaz had no idea where he was at on the court at times unless he was intentionally shooting into the side of the backboard.
I will also say that while the final score was close the game was not. They worked their offense and tried to spread the ball around a little bit, but they didn't need to. What they did down the stretch guaranteed them points basically every possession. They wore down the shot clock then got the ball to Jacob Pullen with 10-13 seconds left on the shot clock and he drove to the basket either making the shot or drawing a foul for about eight straight possessions.
I was surprised they were able to do this so easily because I thought that Brandon Richardson was quick enough to stay with Pullen, he wasn't. Lance Jeter didn't stand a chance defensively on Pullen because he definitely isn't quick enough and Doc not putting Beranek on him tells me that he wouldn't have been able to keep up either. The good news is that down the stretch we play some good scorers but none with the quickness of Pullen.
The bottom teams in the Big East keep upsetting the top teams so don't look for us to steal a spot away from them. Everyone is picking Colorado State to be one of the last teams in...if they make it over Baylor, Nebraska, or Kansas State it will show what a joke the selection committee is. Quit looking for Cinderellas and let the big boys go at each other. It makes for a better tournament when we have better teams rather than trying for sexy first round upsets by teams that don't have the talent to win multiple games in the tournament.
The Big 12 Landscape
I was confident that the the Big 12 was going to get six bids because of the overall quality of the league. I am no longer so sure. I had it in my head if we could get in front of Baylor we would be the sixth league selection and make the tourney as a 12 seed. Being ahead of Baylor in and of itself will not be enough to get us in.
One team that has felt like they had a bid wrapped up months ago but could be in danger is Missouri. I realize that they are 8-5 but they have to travel to Kansas State today and as we saw on Wednesday the Cats are becoming the team they were predicted to be. I thought when things started going wrong they would fold. However it appears to be a classic case of addition by subtraction. They got rid of some "me" guys and this team is coming together. I think the Cat's could make a deep run in the tourney.
Let's get back to Missouri. As mentioned they play in Manhatton today. They come to Lincoln on Tuesday and finish at home against Kansas. They could lose all three of those games and finish 8-8. I still believe they would get into the tournament but they would have to be selected as a sixth place team. If we can win out we would likely sit in fifth behind Texas, Kansas, Texas A&M and Kansas State.
Baylor needs to keep losing and if Colorado pulls an upset against Texas today they still have a shot to creep up into the mix. There are too many scenarios to cover in one article. The bottom line is we need rise to the occasion and get three in a row.
Today's game will be easy to overlook for the fans. Don't get sucked into thinking this game is automatic just because we play Iowa State. Ames can be tough to leave unscathed and remember they just recently almost pulled the upset against K State only losing by one at home in the final seconds. I have been begging for consistentcy from the Huskers all season and I'm still waiting for that, they need to come out and play solid today or our season could be over. The game plan today is simple; stop Diante Garrett and don't get in a shooting contest with these guys.
Missouri 22-6 (8-5) @ Kansas State 19-9 (7-6)
Kansas State is really rolling right now and Missouri has struggled on the road all year. Missouri is going to need to contain Pullen in order to have a chance in this one. The Tigers have won four straight and feel like they are rolling themselves, but other than Baylor in that stretch they faced the bottom of the league. I really like the Cat's swagger right now. Too much Curtis Kelly underneath for the Cat's...pick Kansas State 79-70
Texas Tech 12-16 (4-9) @ Oklahoma State 16-11 (4-9)
Tech has no home court advantage, but they are so uninteresting that nobody goes to watch their team play them on the road thus negating the opposing team's home court advantage. Texas Tech has continued to play hard while OK State checked out after the Husker loss. Don't watch this game, but take the Red Raiders...pick Texas Tech 72-68
Nebraska 18-9 (6-7) @ Iowa State 14-14 (1-12)
This game has such a sneaky feel to it. I can't see how Nebraska could overlook anybody based on their performance thus far this season, but this game makes me very uncomfortable. Nothing would make the Cyclones feel better than crushing our NCAA hopes. Although I gave our big men a hard time earlier they are much better than the Cyclones underneath. If we employ the same strategy against ISU as we did against KSU and just pound the ball inside we could win by 20, we never make it easy on ourselves and constantly just play to our competition. I am hoping that we wake before it's too late in this one and find a way to hold on...pick Nebraska 66-63
Texas 24-4 (12-1) @ Colorado 17-11 (6-7)
I really think that Colorado has a shot to win this game. Boulder is a tough place to play and Colorado is so good in the backcourt that they could just outscore Texas in this one. While that is possible, Texas is so much better underneath than Colorado you would expect them to control the paint and dominate on the boards. If the Buffs shoot lights out in this one they have a chance but just a small one...Texas 86-77
Kansas 26-2 (11-2) @ Oklahoma 12-15 (4-9)
I think that Oklahoma will give good effort, but there is a reason that they have lost six straight in Big 12 play...talent. Kansas is in a pretty good place here, I think the nation is losing respect for them and that's just what a two loss team needs for extra motivation this time of year. No reason the Jayhawks don't win today...Pick Kansas 86-71
Texas A&M 22-5 (9-4) @ Baylor 17-10 (6-7)
Baylor needs this game and they're at home. Texas A&M is one team I just can't get behind. I liked them early on and thought they had a chance to go deep in the tournament, but something just doesn't look right about them. A desperate team with loads of talent or an overrated underwhelming team on the road...Pick Baylor 81-74
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