Big 12 Hoops Conference Call - Middle of Summer Edition

Well it's that time of year where if your baseball team stinks you don't have much to cheer for in sports unless you like soccer and/or NASCAR. Football is closing in but still over a month away and basketball is still an excruciatingly long time away. With that being said it seems like a good time to have another big12hoops.com conference call just to get some sports talk going. Naturally we will discuss Big 12 basketball but where it's the middle of July we'll jump around the sports world quite a bit more than when the season is in full force. Below are the questions we cover this week after the jump..

(1.) We will start with a Big 12 basketball question. Much has been said about the new round robin schedule where now every team in the conference plays each other twice. What are your general thoughts on this topic and what is the best record we could expect the conference regular season champion to finish with?

(2.) There are four new coaches in the Big 12 this year: Frank Haith at Missouri, Billy Kennedy at Texas A&M, Billy Gillispie at Texas Tech & Lon Kruger at Oklahoma. Looking into your crystal ball out of those coaches which ones, if any, do you expect to still be coaching in the Big 12 conference in five years?

(3.) Iowa State basketball this year: Ticking time bomb?

(4.) Two part question here: Did you watch the U.S. Women's World Cup finale? Is mainstream media making a point to try and push soccer onto the U.S.?

(5.) College football this year will have a new look with Nebraska in the Big 10 and Colorado in the Pac-10. What teams and players in general are you looking forward to watching this year in college football?

(6.) We may have asked this question before in a previous conference call but oh well. Which team in any sport, assuming there is one, do you just not like for whatever reason and just cannot find it in your heart to cheer for them?

 

 

 (1.) We will start with a Big 12 basketball question. Much has been said about the new round robin schedule where now every team in the conference plays each other twice. What are your general thoughts on this topic and what is the best record we could expect the conference regular season champion to finish with?

EP: I love it. Conference placement used to be determined by where you played, not necessarily how you played.  With each school playing the other twice, it levels the playing field. I still think that when the conference has great teams we can expect a 2-loss team, but this season the champion will probably finish with 5 losses, 13-5. Parity this year (or so I think).

 MP: Seconded. Last year highlighted the problem when Texas and Kansas only had one game during the conference season. It felt unfair that the two best teams didn't meet twice. I also agree with Evan and think the champion will have four or five losses. While the conference should have some solid teams (Kansas, Texas A&M and Baylor to name three), I'll be shocked if anyone runs away with it.

JL: Have to say that I am looking forward to it but it's going to be a grind for some teams and for some fans it will be very frustrating to watch the losses pile up. I think the norm will be a champion finishing with something like 4 losses, just too tough to travel everywhere and come away with wins.

(2.) There are four new coaches in the Big 12 this year: Frank Haith at Missouri, Billy Kennedy at Texas A&M, Billy Gillispie at Texas Tech & Lon Kruger at Oklahoma. Looking into your crystal ball out of those coaches which ones, if any, do you expect to still be coaching in the Big 12 conference in five years?

EP: Tough question. I feel like there are two reasons coaches leave schools. One is obviously to get fired, and the other is to move to a more prominent school.  With that said, I feel like Haith, Gillispie and Kruger won't leave for a more prominent school. Kruger and Gillispie, because there are questions, and Haith because I think he lucky to be where he's at and won't be receiving calls from other programs.  Kennedy is the wild card for me.  A&M has lots of traction going into the year and if they succeed, Kennedy could make a name for himself. On the other side, if they fail, he could see a pink slip in his locker.

 MP: Really I could see all of these guys still coaching in five years, but for different reasons. I think Gillispie needs to show continued success (again) before he gets a shot at a better school, and Tech has a long way to go; Kruger has a very nice contract from Oklahoma; and A&M doesn't seem like the type to make quick spur-of-the-moment moves (ironically neither do Billy Kennedy's very slow-paced basketball teams). If I was a gambling man, I'd say that Haith will be the first to go. I think he's got more expectations that the other three, and the fanbase will put pressure on the administration if he doesn't perform to their expectations.

JL: Out of the group if I had to make a prediction I would say Gillispie would be my only choice to still be around. Matt you do make a good point about Kruger's contract, I heard the details of it on the radio and it was a pretty sweet deal for him.

(3.) Iowa State basketball this year: Ticking time bomb?

EP: Who is even on ISU this year?  They've had so much turnover that I can't imagine them succeeding this year.  We'll see about the future, but I don't give them much love right now.

 MP: I am fascinated by the Cyclones. I have literally no idea whether they'll succeed or not. Hoiberg has taken some huge risks (they have seven transfers on their current roster), but those transfers also led to a huge influx of talent. The question will be: what kind of motivator is Hoiberg? Can he make Ames the right place for the likes of Korie Lucious and Royce White to succeed? If he does, a top five finish in the conference is possible over the next couple years; if he doesn't, a last place finish with a lot of bad press could be looming.

JL: Maybe because the season is still so far away but have to say that I think things are going to work out this year for Iowa State. Now they have a bunch of guys who had trouble elsewhere and went there strictly for personal reasons so maybe expecting them to play team basketball is a little much.

(4.) Two part question here: Did you watch the U.S. Women's World Cup finale? Is mainstream media making a point to try and push soccer onto the U.S.?

EP: I didn't watch it... I had a softball game around the same time (WE WON!). I also don't think that the MSM is trying to push soccer into our lives.  Stats showed that Americans loved the USWNT and ESPN and such were just going with what we wanted to see. Soccer in the US is relevant to the masses every other year, for the Men's and Women's World Cup. Aside from that can you name three players in the MLS? How about three teams?  I can probably name 6 teams, but other than Landon Donavan and David Beckham (if he still plays in the MLS) no other players.

 MP: I also didn't watch it. While I won't claim to be a fan of soccer, I have no problem with ESPN and Fox covering it more frequently. Let's face it, other than baseball, this is a dead zone for major sports. As much as I love hearing rehashed stories on the NFL and NBA lockouts that don't give any new information, I'd actually prefer more coverage for sports like soccer. That's just me though.

JL: Well make it three out of three as I did not watch it either. I think it's partially being forced on people and it's strictly based on my experience the other day. As Matt says it is a dead zone for sports especially with NFL lockout but I sit down on my couch the other day and within my sports channels 3 out of 4 channels right in a row were covering soccer. I think to myself that's odd since soccer isn't that overly popular in this country so part of me kind of wondered if it was being force fed to sports viewers and how many people like myself immediately changed the channel.

(5.) College football this year will have a new look with Nebraska in the Big 10 and Colorado in the Pac-10. What teams and players in general are you looking forward to watching this year in college football?

EP: I'm interested in seeing how Ohio State responds to everything that happened.  Had Terrell Pryor not left, the others not been suspended and the Vest still on the sidelines, they'd be a favorite to win it all.  Now, we'll see.
As for our dearly departed, I think CU will struggle in the Pac-12 but NU will be in the hunt for a Rose Bowl berth. 

 MP: I am interested to see the Big 10. I think with Ohio State limping, the conference BCS berth is wide open. I'd take Wisconsin by a nose over Nebraska at this point (I love Russell Wilson, NC State's former QB the Badgers acquired for this season), but it should be very interesting. The other team I'm looking out for is South Carolina. Quietly, the Gamecocks won the SEC East last season, and bring back Marcus Lattimore, Alshon Jeffery and Stephen Garcia. I think those three combined with the Old Ball Coach standing on the sidelines will make for some great football.

JL: Naturally I am looking forward to seeing Nebraska take on a Big 10 schedule and see how they do. Two players I am looking forward to seeing if the hype over the past year or so adds up is Arthur & Bryce Brown at K-State. Neither exactly set the world on fire coming out of high school at Miami & Tennessee yet they are getting preseason love everywhere so lets see if production matches.

(6.) We may have asked this question before in a previous conference call but oh well. Which team in any sport, assuming there is one, do you just not like for whatever reason and just cannot find it in your heart to cheer for them?

EP: Because this is Big 12 Hoops, and I don't want to alienate any of the readers, I won't go with my first choice, but will go with my second.  I would love it if the Cubs never won a World Series.  I am not as much of a Cubs basher as I was in my youth, but I think it is amazing that a team can go as long as the Cubs without winning a championship. And the best part is, the rabid fans really don't care.  Wrigley is a great venue and the fans come out in droves, win or lose.  Other historically losing franchises, like the Indians, have a dark cloud over their heads.  The Cubs, despite going 100+ years without winning don't.  So the Lovable Losers take the cake for me.
And as long as we're on the topic, here's my list of the top team in each sport I root to lose:
NFL - Patriots
NBA - Heat
NHL - Red Wings
NCAAF - Michigan
NCAAB (non Big 12) - Florida

 MP: UNC, first and foremost. I also really dislike Jim Calhoun (not necessarily his players, just him). In the professional world, I can't stand the Lakers or the Mets (which feels cruel, but that's the way it is).

JL: Damn two of my favorite teams there with Lakers & Cubs. I agree with Cubs it is amazing and downright sad that they haven't won in so long but I don't think having fans show up win or lose should be looked at in a bad light. The stadium is a fun place to go and the area around the stadium is a great atmosphere, I know this since I went too a Cubs vs Yankees game earlier this year and sit in the bleachers. Trust me the fans care especially after seeing the Red Sox finally get a World Series. As for the Lakers well everyone seems to either like them or bash them, no middle ground. I grew up when the NBA final were Celtics vs. Lakers every year and I picked the Lakers, my best friend picked the Celtics so 2 kids from Kansas have now been arguing over Boston vs. Los Angeles teams for years. My one team that I can't stand anything about them is the Kansas City Chiefs. I grew up as a Denver Bronco fan and was surrounded by Chiefs fans and I now live in Kansas City so needless too say I can't not hear about the Chiefs. As long as they keep their current streak of not winning playoff games up and their only Super Bowl title is from what 1970 I will be fine though. One other team I will say that I can't stand is the Minnesota Twins but that is because their fans would invade Kauffman Stadium whenever the Twins played the Royals and after listening to them all the game you would have thought the Twins had as many World Series titles as the Yankees do. Granted they have more than Royals and I like how the Twins have built and maintained their team but I just can't find anyway to cheer for them.

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