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Big 12 Hoops Conference Call

We have seen the light at the end of the off season tunnel! With Texas playing a game that counts on Monday the season is officially upon us.To get us in the mood, here's the latest Big 12 Hoops Conference Call. The answers from the three panelists are below The Jump.

Today we wonder:

1. Exhibition play has begun, so we have gotten a little taste of Big 12 basketball. We asked this question in an article last week, but now it’s time to face the music. What can you derive from watching exhibition college basketball games?

2. At the outset, the Big 12 used to be known as a bruiser conference (think Big Country Bryant Reeves or Marcus Fizer). In the 90's if you went inside you could expect to get dinged up a bit. I would argue that with the players we have this season, it is more of a finesse conference. First, would you agree with that statement and why? Second, which style do you prefer to watch as a fan?

3. We spend a lot of time on here talking about the frontrunners: Kansas, Kansas St, Mizzou, Baylor, Texas. We also spend a fair amount of time on what the coaches poll suggests are the “second tier”: Colorado, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma St. So in the spirit of equality, what can fans of Nebraska, Oklahoma or Iowa State hang their hats on? What should they look forward to this season?

4. According to rosters on ESPN.com there are 11 players in the league under six feet tall. Which would you take first when drafting an under 6'0 team and why?

5. Also according to rosters on ESPN.com there are four players in the league listed at seven feet or taller. Which would you take first when drafting an team of trees and why?

1.        Exhibition play has begun, so we have gotten a little taste of Big 12 basketball. We asked this question in an article last week, but now it’s time to face the music. What can you derive from watching exhibition college basketball games?

MP: Not a whole lot.  Last year Syracuse lost to a D-II team, but had a terrific season.  A lot of times teams are dealing with the jitters or just don't take the games super seriously.  I think they're best for seeing how new players fit into the mix (hello Tristan Thompson).

JL: After thinking about this question and having a debate on it I think if you have a young team or inexperienced team you can get a fair amount out of it. For a team like Oklahoma where have almost a whole new roster this year, I think the fans can go and watch and get an idea of what the new players can do on the court, how athletic they are & who is probably going to play more minutes. For a more veteran team I would say almost nothing since the other night Frank Martin didn't even have Curtis Kelly in the starting lineup.

EP: I think it is beneficial for the players to play against guys other than themselves.  If the O is trying to run itself and the D knows where each cut happens and to look out for each backdoor, you lose a little bit of the edge.  Against other opponents, at least you have guys who aren't as familiar with the Os or how to best break a trap.

2.       At the outset, the Big 12 used to be known as a bruiser conference (think Big Country Bryant Reeves or Marcus Fizer). In the 90's if you went inside you could expect to get dinged up a bit. I would argue that with the players we have this season, it is more of a finesse conference. First, would you agree with that statement and why? Second, which style do you prefer to watch as a fan?

MP: I'd definitely agree.  Though I'd add to that and say that the Big 12 will be a very athletic conference this year (look at Baylor, K-State, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, etc.).  Growing up watching the ACC has made me love the finesse game.  While I appreciate the more physical teams (Pitt has been physical but awesome to watch the last few years), there's something beautiful about the "softer" game.  I hesitate to say that it's a sign of skill, but it just makes for cleaner basketball games.

JL: I don't know if I would call the Big 12 a finesse league as alot of the teams get down and play some serious physical D, teams like A&M, KU, KSU & Missouri. I can see though why people might say that though since alot of the big men now in the league are athletic guys who can step out and hit a jumper on a regular basis and doesn't stay down low and bang around. I personally like watching a physical basketball game, although not to the point of the Pat Riley Knicks of yesteryear. It annoys me with some finesse players when they go down low and if they get grazed even a little they are whining for a foul, man up and take it strong and finish.  

EP: Well, I wrote the question so I think it is a finesse league. I look around and the players who grab the spotlight are mostly perimeter players who can slash, find an open man or hit an outside J. As a fan, I prefer this style also. I'll leave the slow-tempo, bruiser style to the Big 10.

3.       We spend a lot of time on here talking about the frontrunners: Kansas, Kansas St, Mizzou, Baylor, Texas. We also spend a fair amount of time on what the coaches poll suggests are the “second tier”: Colorado, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma St. So in the spirit of equality, what can fans of Nebraska, Oklahoma or Iowa State hang their hats on? What should they look forward to this season?

MP: Well, Iowa State should be thrilled with the work Fred Hoiberg has done to get some impact transfers to come to Ames (it sounds like Royce White won't be able to play this year, but still).  He's really dedicated to making the program better, and I think he'll be very loyal (given his storied Cyclone past).  As for Oklahoma, things can't stay this crazy.  It's been a rough year or two for Jeff Capel, but I think he's a good enough recruiter and coach to help the Sooners get relevant again... I'm not sure Doc Sadler is the answer in Nebraska, but you had a pretty good football season so far.  And the Big 10 is only a year away.

JL: I agree with Matt, if I were an Iowa State fan I would be excited about the future, not necessarily this year. Even though some of the transfers like Chris Allen are only there a year it should allow the Cyclones to be very competitive while giving Hoiberg time to recruit. With his NBA history he should be able to get some kids there I would think. With Oklahoma I personally think its going to be a long season, the fans can look forward to seeing a group of players who hopefully try hard on every night unlike last year where malcontents like Willie Warren & Tiny Gallon were dragging them down. To be honest, on Nebraska I am changing my tune somewhat on their chances this year. Not saying they are going to win the conference or anything but in Standhardinger, Jorge Brian-Diaz & incoming juco Andre Almeida they have put together a pretty large frontline. They have a senior point back in Lance Jeter who was playing better towards the end of last year and they have some guys who can shoot the 3 ball. Could be a interesting season in Lincoln.

EP: Hoiberg is the correct answer. He was the perfect choice at ISU, now the question will be whether kids are apt enough to know who he is, and what his story with ISU is.  He is "The Mayor" for crying out loud. Sooner fans can look forward to freshmen Cameron Clark and TJ Taylor. If they are as good as advertised, OU may not be the bottom dwellers the experts predict them to be.  He is a straight baller. As far as the Hiskers go, this is tough. The one thing fans might fancy is that they are moving from a man to a zone defense.  They are hoping to slow things down to their team make up.  Zone works at Syracuse, so who knows. Right?

4.       According to rosters on ESPN.com there are 11 players in the league under six feet tall. They are: Kansas guard Niko Roberts, K-State guard Jarrod Kruger, Missouri guard Phil Pressey, Nebraska guard Trevor Menke, Oklahoma State guard Keiton Page, Oklahoma State guard Ray Penn, Texas guard Jai Lucas, A&M guard Blake McDonald, A&M guard B.J. Holmes, Tech guard Javarez Willis, Tech guard John Roberson
Of those listed, which would you take first when drafting an under 6'0 team and why?

MP: I'm taking Tech's John Roberson.  He may be the key to Pat Knight's coaching future (at least in Lubbock) as he'll be a crucial sidekick for Mike Singletary.  Phil Pressey also should have a great year at Mizzou.  I think he fits right into Mike Anderson's system.  I'm still going to take Roberson though.

JL: Well if it's a team for only this season I would take Keiton Page from Oklaoma State as the guy is just a good ballplayer and he can step up and hit huge 3's for you. If I had to worry about what class the kid was in I would go with Phil Pressey as he is going to be a good player in the Big 12 for 4 years here to come.

EP: You guys tiptoed around, but nobody staked a claim to Pressey, so I'm going to go with him.  Like Matt said, he is a perfect compliment to the Anderson system at Mizzou and should a lot of floor time.

5.       Also according to rosters on ESPN.com there are four players in the league listed at seven feet or taller. They are: Baylor center Dragan Sekelja, Colorado center Ben Mills, Kansas center Jeff Withey, K-State center Jordan Henriquez-Roberts,
Of those listed, which would you take first when drafting an team of trees and why?

MP: I'll take Henriquez-Roberts.  He might not get a ton of minutes, but he averaged a block a game last year (in less than ten minutes) and two and a half rebounds, which is exactly what I'm looking for out of my back up center.

JL: Well my first thought was to take Withey as he was a pretty good recruit when he went to Arizona but he has trouble staying healthy. I am not a huge fan of Henriquez-Roberts yet but he has some ability and has shown flashes in games last season so I will go with him for this question on the caveat that if Withey can ever stay healthy I would pick him.

EP: I have to go with Withey also.  His upside is much bigger than the other trees.