Big 12 Hoops Conference Call

Feast Week is here!  That means early-season-tournament championships, and lots of exciting games.  The Big 12 has looked strong as a conference so far with half the conference still awaiting first losses.  College football fans are getting antsier and antsier with four undefeated teams and only two National Championship spots waiting. 

  1. K-State vs. Duke.  Thoughts about Pullen's off night?  Curtis Kelly's dominance?  Does it change your expectation for Kansas State this season? 
  2. On a side note, what was your favorite Dickie V moment from the game?
  3. Which team has surprised you the most so far in the Big 12 in a good way?  In a bad way?
  4. What are your thoughts on early-season tourneys?  Which one (or game) has been the best (or your favorite) so far?
  5. And on to the NFL...  Can we really justify giving a team from the NFC West a playoff spot?  And who are your picks for the annual Thanksgiving showdowns (New England at Detroit, New Orleans at Dallas, and Cincinnati at the Jets)? 

Answers to questions can be found after the break.

  1. K-State vs. Duke.  Thoughts about Pullen's off night?  Curtis Kelly's dominance?  Does it change your expectation for Kansas State this season?
  2.  

    EP: Duke is the best team in the country. If anyone disagreed with that, they can't after the dismantling of K-State in a virtual home game for the Wildcats. I think there are two things to take from Pullen's off night. First, Duke has great guard play, on both the offensive and defensive sides. That, I think, rattled Pullen and forced him out of his game. Of the 12 shots Jake took, eight were from three. That's not his game. He needs to slash into the lane, not settle for outside shots. This was a wake up call for both K-State and the nation. K-State learned that preseason hype is one thing, but hype doesn't win you games. The nation learned that Duke might not lose a game this season. Kelly looked good and was about the only bright spot for the Wildcats. I think his performance was an indication that he deserves a starring role on the squad.

    JL: Doesn't really change my expectations about them; still think they are going to place very high in the Big 12 and make a good tournament run. Pullen had some good looks and they didn't go down, it happens, sucks it's was against Duke on national tv but what can ya do. Nice to see Curtis Kelly play well that can only help K-State. My expectations will be lowered if I keep seeing K-State shoot free throws at a percentage rate of a junior high girls team though (sorry that might insult some JH girls).

    MP: I don't think it changes my expectations either.  The Wildcats have looked like they were running on fumes the first couple games, and I think this loss should really help them mature as a team.  Sometimes it helps to know you're not invincible.  And the sliver lining: based on Frank Martin's timeouts, they should be running enough suicides this week to be in better shape.  This definitely was a reality check for K-State, but I think they--and Pullen--will really bounce back to high-level play.  I'm not worried at all about Pullen: Kobe went 6-24 in the Finals (and was still MVP?), and he seems to be fine.  Pullen is a great player, and even great players have off days.  Kelly looked phenomenal.  If he can work on that free throw shooting (on second thought, everyone needs to work on free throw shooting), he could be one of the most dominant presences in the Big 12 this season.  I think other Big 12 coaches should really be concerned by the depth and athleticism of K-State's frontcourt.

  3. On a side note, what was your favorite Dickie V moment from the game?
  4.  

    EP: I try and tune Dukie V out, especially when watching Duke. Can I say that his overall enthusiasm was great, but his homerism shone through?

    JL: No favorite Dickie V moments, I have a hard time listening to him in general let alone when he blathers on and on and on and on and on and on and on about how great Duke is.

    MP: Man, no Dickie V fans.  My personal favorite moments were when he took a serious moment (right after Martin and Krzyzewski went to talk to the refs about the slippery decals) into a long rambling discussion of his love for Reeses.  But that's not to take away from the end of the game where he ran out of things to say, so accepted a speaking invitation on national television because "we can't use phones down here."  I recognize the man has done wonders in popularizing college basketball, but he's got to have some sort of filter...

  5. Which team has surprised you the most so far in the Big 12 in a good way?  In a bad way?
  6.  

    EP: CU and Mizzou have been the least impressive of the Big 12 teams thus far. CU is obvious, they lost to San Francisco. But Mizzou has just played mediocre ball, and if they play the Big 12 season like they have been playing through three games, they won't come anywhere close to expectations. The frightening part for Mizzou fans should be the relative lack of interior play and relying too much on the three ball. Iowa State hasn't played any "name" school yet, but they are 4-0 and beat their former coach. Considering their low expectations, at 4-0 they have to be considered an early surprise.

    JL: Well in a bad way I would say Colorado with some bad losses and I have heard Nebraska just isn't very good and Sadler has already suspended a player (Kamyron Brown). Well in a good way, I would definitely say Iowa State. While I don't think they are going to have a magical season they might be better than what everyone gave them credit for and Hilton Coliseum could once again be tough to go get a win in.

    MP: I'd have to agree that Iowa State's success (even if the buzzer beater against Creighton shouldn't have counted) has been the most surprising so far.  Oklahoma also really surprised me the way they hung with Kentucky.  I certainly had written off both teams as free wins, but I think both are capable of surprising anyone who writes them off.  As for least impressive, I'm going to take Texas Tech (taking Colorado would be beating a dead horse at this point).  I had a lot of faith in the Red Raiders coming in, and they really looked terrible in their loss to North Texas.  It'll be interesting to see how they handle a tournament-caliber St. Mary's team Friday.

  7. What are your thoughts on early-season tourneys?  Which one (or game) has been the best (or your favorite) so far?
  8.  

    EP: Some early season tournament are good for basketball. Some seem to take up time and space. Other than the CBE Classic there isn't a tournament that a Big 12 school has played in that I would want to watch as a fan. Going to places like Maui, Cancun and Puerto Rico though might entice me.

    JL: Well I am biased since I live in Kansas City but the CBE Classic has the best field I think. I like the tournaments, gives a chance to see teams like KSU & Gonzaga play early. If I were a player definitely the tournament in Hawaii. The best game on TV was probably what Michigan St. vs Connecticut. I was at the the Duke-Marquette & KSU-Gonzaga games so they were the best for me to watch since in person.

    MP: I definitely think it's tough to top the quality at the CBE Classic, but the Maui Invitational isn't slumping (though look out next year: Duke, UCLA, Kansas, Memphis, Tennessee, Georgetown and Michigan...wow).  I also enjoyed the 2k Classic with Texas, Pitt, and Illinois.  There are definitely some tournaments that feel worthless (if you watched the Puerto Rico tourney, it felt like no one was there.  It looked like they were playing in a high school gym with a few hundred fans in attendance.  I like the tournaments closer to home, also known as the ones that attract fans.  I think it's stupid to have college kids travel to Cancun to play for TV.  Why not just play the game somewhere else where students wouldn't have to miss a week of class...

  9. And on to the NFL...  Can we really justify giving a team from the NFC West a playoff spot?  And who are your picks for the annual Thanksgiving showdowns (New England at Detroit, New Orleans at Dallas, and Cincinnati at the Jets)? 
  10.  

    EP: Could this be the worst Monday Night Football game ever played? Going into the season I thought Arizona and San Fran would be fun to watch, and I still think San Fran can be at times, but the pair on the national stage might set back the NFL labor negotiations. As for their division, can we English Premier League it and send them all down to the XFL? Predications for Turkey Day games, New England in a romp over Detroit. New Orleans over the rejuvenated Cowboys. J-E-T-S over the Bengals in a battle of a has-been vs. up-and-coming former USC QB.

    JL: Well to be perfectly honest my football team sucks (Denver Broncos) so I have moved on already with the NFL season although seeing them beat crap out of KC couple weeks ago was awesome. For the Turkey Day games I will go with New England by about 40 points and New Orleans & Jets as my picks. Really interested in watching that Dallas game though.

    MP: Alas, the Raiders sport a decent record so far, but I can already feel the slump to choke the division over to the Chargers (who will still be unable to fire Norv Turner after another mediocre, but playoff bound, season).  As for the big Thursday, I'll pick the Pats (though I think Detroit can make a game of it...well maybe not), the Cowboys look to be warming up (and I think New Orleans is still finding themselves), and I could never feel good about myself picking Cincinnati even though I think the Jets are incredibly overrated.

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