Big 12 Hoops Conference Call: February 8th

Does Missouri have the team that'll go deeper than any other in the Big 12?

As crazy as it sounds, March is almost here. So we've figured there are about three teams that are locks for the NCAA Tournament and three others with a solid chance of getting in. In light of that, we at Big 12 Hoops spent this week talking Tourney, announcers and analysts too.

The questions are:

1. Who will go farthest in the Tournament: Missouri, Baylor or Kansas?

2. Texas, yes Texas, stands at 5-6 after a big road victory at Texas A&M on Big Monday. With the toughest part of conference play mostly over, will the Horns sneak into the NCAAs?

3. Oklahoma had a great chance to better their résumé but lost to Mizzou at home. Time to cast the Sooners into oblivion?

4. About a month ago, K-State seemed like the clear choice for fourth best team in the Big 12. Should we be worried?

5. Going off topic here, but if you were watching a huge college basketball game, who would be the TV guys (announcer and analyst) you'd like to have on the call?

1. Who will go farthest in the Tournament: Missouri, Baylor or Kansas?

Joe Loyd: It's gotta be KU as Evan mentioned they have the inside/outside combo with Taylor & Robinson. The Jayhawks don't need to rely on their outside shots falling as they can dump it down in the post to Robinson and let him go to work. I can't say I am super high on Baylor but they have found a way to just win games and they did make an Elite Eight a couple of years ago though right so who knows really but I'll go with KU.

Evan Pfaff: Well, I don’t think it’ll be Baylor. Just don’t trust Scott Drew coaching big games. I think KU has the two most critical pieces locked down. They have a guard playing out of his mind and perhaps the best big man in the game. However, I’ll go with Mizzou. Everyone talks about the matchup problems Mizzou faces when going against big teams, but what about the matchup problems Mizzou gives teams that can’t keep up with their quick hands and quick feet? I also think that because of their style of play they will be difficult to scout for on the second day of the weekend games. So if they can get past the Thursday/Friday games, I don’t see them losing on a Saturday/Sunday.

E. Carnes: I'm torn between Kansas and Mizzou. I'll say Kansas, I guess. They can win ugly even if they have an off shooting night, unlike Mizzou. Of course, the Tigers don't have many off shooting nights, do they? The one thing I'm not torn about is this being a conversation about Kansas and Mizzou. I'm with Evan about Scott Drew and the big games.

Nathan Kotisso: I think it's Baylor. Sure Scott Drew's not the best coach but it's so hard to ignore their crazy depth. To have nine players getting regular PT, that just might be able to overcome the coaching deficiencies.

2. Texas, yes Texas, stands at 5-6 after a big road victory at Texas A&M on Big Monday. With the toughest part of conference play mostly over, will the Horns sneak into the NCAAs?

JL: I just don't see them making it as four of their last seven games are on the road and one of the home games is Baylor. I think they just miss the cut.

EP: Yes, and here’s why. Texas can scratch Mizzou and ISU off their schedule. They have K-State and Baylor at home, while traveling to Lawrence. I don’t see the Big 12 getting 60% of the conference in the tourney, so they must finish in the top half to get a bid. We know KU, Mizzou and Baylor are in and it’s looking like ISU is on the fast track for the conference’s fourth slot. That leaves the winner of Saturday’s K-State-Texas game in the driver’s seat for fifth place. With games at Texas, Baylor and Mizzou left (OK, and at A&M), plus home games against ISU and KU, K-State’s final run is brutal. Texas has more winnable games, and should finish fifth in conference.

EC: I think so. For a while I thought Texas would be battling Iowa State for the last spot, but now it looks like the 'Horns will be trying to edge out K-State. Like Evan mentioned, the worst part of Texas' schedule is over and K-State's is just beginning. Texas should finish 5th in the Big 12 and get that last tourney slot (assuming the Big 12 gets 5). Texas beating K-State in Austin this weekend is crucial, though

NK: Probably not. But remember that Temple win in December? Looks pretty good right now with the Owls in sole possession of first place in the A-10. They don't have the sexiest of out-of-conference schedules so in my mind they would have to win the last six of seven and maybe one in Kansas City to take some pressure off on Selection Sunday.

3. Oklahoma had a great chance to better their résumé but lost to Mizzou at home. Time to cast the Sooners into oblivion?

JL: I think they were in oblivion even before the Mizzou game to be honest. Lon Kruger is a good coach though so the future should be good at OU, lets hope people in Norman actually turn out to watch it as that OU vs Missouri game was embarrassing to see the crowd.

EP: Yep. My team to watch is no longer watchable. Actually that isn’t true, but they lost games against Mizzou and Baylor that, had they won would have given that program some life. As it is, unless they win out (unlikely as 5 of their remaining seven games are on the road) they really aren’t playing for much but pride.

EC: It's time for them to join oblivion. They can sit with Tech and A&M. They seemed like they were going to be exciting for a while, but Pledger, who is honestly a lot of fun to watch, can only do so much. I wonder if the crowd in Norman will be as thin when they play Texas on February 14. Probably. Seeing your team lose is kind of a buzzkill on Valentine's Day.

NK: I was sipping from the same Sooner Kool-Aid as Evan was but it's done. If Pledger returns, Kruger could have Lloyd Noble rockin' and rollin' as early as next year.

4. About a month ago, K-State seemed like the clear choice for fourth best team in the Big 12. Should we be worried?

JL: I don't really think they should be worried as I have kind of thought all along that this team wasn't as good as some people were making them out to be. Now they have even played worse at times than I thought was possible but they are kind of what I thought they would be which is a middle of the pack team, although I gave them a chance to finish 4th but that ain't happening. A look at Frank Martin's roster shows a lack of any possible NBA players and in the Big 12 you need some major difference makers.

EP: Going along with my answer to #2 above, K-State is fighting for their tournament life and has a dickens of a remaining schedule. It’s not impossible for them to finish fourth, but fifth is more likely and sixth the most likely.

EC: I'd say Iowa State has 4th place sewn up unless there are some major gamechangers. I'd bet on Texas for 5th. It looks like 6th for K-State unless they pull out some major wins in the next few weeks.

NK: I don't think so. Other than the obvious similarities, Frank Martin and WVU's Bob Huggins share a remarkable trait and that is their refusal to let their team die whether it be facing a deficit in a game situation or stretch of them. But I'm greedy. I'd love to see all six contending teams make it in the Tournament.

5. Going off topic here, but if you were watching a huge college basketball game, who would be the TV guys (announcer and analyst) you'd like to have on the call?

JL: Bob Knight and Brent Musberger, just kidding I woud fully have to agree with Evan on Gus Johnson, his K-State v Xavier calls from the tournament a couple of years ago were classic. Two other guys I like to listen call games are Doug Gottlieb and Kevin Harlan.

EP: No question about announcer, Gus Johnson. As an analyst, I actually like the job Jay Bilas does. He’s to the point, doesn’t fluff anyone and tells it like it is. He’s got a dry sense of humor that I like and think he would be able to handle Gus’ crazy calls.

EC: My favorite analyst is also Jay Bilas. He's smart and keeps the platitudes to a minimum. And the announcer would have to be Gus Johnson, of course. In fact, sometimes I pretend he's announcing the menial tasks I have to do (it makes them much more exciting, you should try it — "The check needs to be deposited, but the BANK. IS. CLOSED! Heartbreak city! What a game!")

NK: Gus is one of the best out there, and I like him, but I'll have to give the nod to Kevin Harlan. He's got an awesome voice to start and when he screams it feels like you have to stand at attention. As far as analysts go, Bill Raftery is at the top of my list. His chemistry with just about every play-by-play guy is uncanny not to mention he's insightful and is incredibly funny on the air.

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