Big 12 Hoops Conference Call

We have reached week 4 of league action and the season has so far gone swimmingly. Maybe too swimmingly. What happened to the upsets or the back-and-forth battles that we've grown accustomed to in Big 12 play? Now that I think about it, that sounds like a question that should be on today's Call. Meh.

We still have a fresh batch of questions for our staff to mull over such as how many B12 teams will make the tournament along with dishing out coach and sixth man of the year honors.

1. The Big 12 Conference is the most top-heavy league in the country with Kansas, Missouri and Baylor all ranked in the top 10. At this point in Big 12 play, who would be your coach of the year?

2. Texas A&M's Khris Middleton recently tweaked the same knee he had surgery on in the fall. With all that's happened in the last four months, is it time to stick a fork in the co-preseason favorite Aggies?

3. Texas Tech has been competitive in Big 12 games vs Baylor and Oklahoma but are currently 0-6. Will the Red Raiders win a game in conference play?

4. The NCAA released their weekly RPI standings Monday and the Big 12 had five teams (KU, BU, Mizzou, K-State and ISU) ranked in the top 68. Do all these teams make it to the Big Dance or should there be more in the mix?

5. As of now, who gets the sixth man of the year award in the Big 12?

1. The Big 12 Conference is the most top-heavy league in the country with Kansas, Missouri and Baylor all ranked in the top 10. At this point in Big 12 play, who would be your coach of the year?

Evan Pfaff: Gotta be Frank Haith, right? He took a middling team and turned them into the #2 team in the country. Other candidates are Bill Self and Fred Hoiberg. I'll tell you who isn't coach of the year, Scott Drew. He might be recruiter of the year, but he isn't really a good Xs and Os guy... if he were he would have utilized BU's size to pound inside on the Tigers.

E. Carnes: At the beginning of the season, I was pretty down on both Frank Haith and Scott Drew. Now, I'm only down on Scott Drew. Haith has done an amazing job with Mizzou and made headline writers everywhere psyched that "Haith" rhymes with "faith." He's definitely my pick for Coach of the Year. I agree with Evan about Drew in the Xs and Os department and would add that his inexplicable non-con schedule did not prepare the Bears for facing teams the caliber of Kansas and Mizzou.

Nathan Kotisso: Frank Haith has done a great job, don't get me wrong. But what Bill Self has done with the Jayhawks is nothing short of spectacular. They lost the Morris twins to the NBA, scheduled a rugged non-conference slate, came out with only one bad loss and started 7-0 in the Big 12. No-brainer in my opinion.

2. Texas A&M's Khris Middleton recently tweaked the same knee he had surgery on in the fall. With all that's happened in the last four months, is it time to stick a fork in the co-preseason favorite Aggies?

EP: No doubt. That team simply can't compete, with or without Middleton. And that brings up another question... are they the most disappointing team in Big 12 history? From preseason #1 to 2-5 in conference. HOWEVAH! we should all take a look at last year's preseason pick, K-State. Like A&M they were 2-5 after seven conference games and ended Big 12 play 10-6. i just don't see that same run out of A&M.

EC: I think so. Talk about leaving the Big 12 on a low note. It makes me wonder if the Aggies were better off competing without Middleton until he was 100% recovered. Despite the alarming amount of time I spend on WebMD, I'm not a medical expert — does 3-4 weeks seem like enough time to heal after knee surgery? I think I would put this team as one of the most disappointing in Big 12 history, along with the 2009-2010 Longhorns, maybe.

NK: I picked this team to rule the conference, and looking back, it was a grave misfire. The Aggies have had tons of distractions with a player leaving, injuries and of course Billy Kennedy's diagnosis of Parkinson's. This year is over but 2012-13 is looking pretty good. Assuming Middleton and the Turners come back, they also have a couple of four-start recruits stepping on campus. Too bad we won't cover it.

3. Texas Tech has been competitive in Big 12 games vs Baylor and Oklahoma but are currently 0-6. Will the Red Raiders win a game in conference play?

EP: Well, I can only assume it will be at home, so that cuts the schedule in half. Then it's gotta be against another bottom dweller - this aint the type of team that will 'sneak' out a win. With those two caveats, I'll go out on a limb and say one of their back-to-backs at home versus OU and A&M in mid-February.

EC: Mark your calendars! January 31! 7:00pm! Oklahoma State at Texas Tech. This is the game I think they can — and will — win. I'll be pulling really hard for the Red Raiders. Not only because it's evident they're working hard to improve, but also because I am running out of ways to say "Tech lost, but Jordan Tolbert did well" in our weekly power rankings.

NK: They have to. I don't think they're as bad as those Baylor teams in the early-to-mid 2000s so surely they can get one or two in the left hand column. Who will they get the win against? I say they ambush the Longhorns on February 25th.

4. The NCAA released their weekly RPI standings Monday and the Big 12 had five teams (KU, BU, Mizzou, K-State and ISU) ranked in the top 68. Do all these teams make it to the Big Dance or should there be more in the mix?

EP: I can't see this conference only getting four bids, so I'd say they all make the dance. We know that three are in for sure, and K-State's next six games are winnable, as are their last 3, so they have a good shot at 7-2 in those with a three-game stretch against KU, @BU and @Mizzou to bring them down a touch. Right now ISU has got to be that fifth team. 4-2 in conference. Transfers gelling. Those five will be dancing.

EC: I'd say the Big 12 will definitely get five bids. I think Mizzou, Kansas, and Baylor are locks. I feel pretty good about K-State. I'm not sold on Iowa State yet. Right now, they're in the lead for that spot, but there is still some time to go until Selection Sunday. I wouldn't count Texas or even Oklahoma out just yet.

NK: Five is just about right but those last two bids are so flimsy. That midsection of the league comprised of OU, K-State, ISU and Texas are all beating each other up. The Cyclones have been OK so far but having six losses on January 25 is not a good look. I at least want the battle for the last two bids to be suspenseful.

5. As of now, who gets the sixth man of the year award in the Big 12?

EP: Mike Dixon. Mizzou only goes 7 deep, so their sixth man is as valuable as any, and Dixon is averaging 12.2 ppg, so it's gotta be him. At the start of the year I was calling for Dixon to start and Matt Pressey to come off the bench, but M. Press has been playing lights out defense this season and I have completely changed my tune on him. Seeing him match up against Quincy Miller in the Baylor-Mizzou game just showed how good he is on D.

EC: Mike Dixon was a no-brainer for me, too. I'd say runner up is Pierre Jackson. But he got his first start against Mizzou so it doesn't look like he'll be a 6th man for much longer.

NK: Yeah I'll go with Dixon. He's a pure scorer on the fourth highest-scoring team in college basketball. Honorable mention would go to Tyrus McGee of Iowa State. Would have been a starter if the entire Big Ten didn't migrate to Ames.

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