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Big 12 Hoops Conference Call

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Lots of hot topics as we round the 3/4 mark of the conference season. The tournament is a month away, so let's dive right into it...

1. How many Big 12 teams make the NCAA Tournament? Which ones?

2. And who gets a #1 seed? Texas, KU, Both, Neither?

3. Does a 5-6 team (Nebraska) defeating an 11-0 team (Texas) show that the Big 12 has parity, or that the conference isn’t as good as we thought?

4. Jordan Hamilton, Marcus Morris, LaceDarious Dunn, Marcus Denmon, Alec Burks. With four games to go, who's your Big 12 Player of the Year right now?

5. Any thoughts on the Melo-To-The-Knicks trade?

Answers to these, and lots more, after The Jump.

1.       How many Big 12 teams make the NCAA Tournament? Which ones?

Matt Patton: Texas, Kansas, Texas A&M, Missouri, Kansas State and one more.  I'm worried without a fairly deep conference tournament run (and maybe beating Texas) Baylor is on the outside looking in.  Nebraska and Colorado both have a lot of work to do, but I think both have a little more opportunity.  Right now, I'm going to go with Nebraska.  They've won three in a row and have two winnable road games ahead against Colorado and Iowa State.

Joe Loyd: I would say 6 teams would be my guess.  Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Texas A&M, Nebraska and Kansas State. Get back to me on this question next week though on those last two teams I mentioned.

Evan Pfaff: I gotta go with five. Texas, Kansas, Mizzou, A&M, K-State. I know Nebraska is the trendy pick right now, but I'm not sure if their non-conference schedule is stout enough for them to get in. I'm also worried about K-State. I put them in because I figure there isn't a way that the conference doesn't get at minimum 5 teams in, and they seem like the last one in.

2.       And who gets a #1 seed? Texas, KU, Both, Neither?

MP: I don't think both will get it.  I'm inclined to say whoever wins the Big 12 Tournament, but I think if either team wins out it's a lock.  The only way both get it is if they both win out and Texas wins conference tournament, or other potential ones give them lots of help.  Right now I think Kansas is the better all-around team but I've got questions about their defense and leadership, so I'm going to go with Texas.  Horns have a great resume so far but the losses to Nebraska and USC aren't good (unless Nebraska can make it to the Dance).

JL: I think only one of those teams gets a #1 seed and I think it might be Kansas. I can see Texas losing again and if KU wins the Big 12 tournament I think they pull a #1 seed easily. And can I say if KU keeps shooting it like they did against Oklahoma State good god.

EP: The reason I don't think both can get #1 seeds is that Ohio State and Duke will win their conference tournaments. I also think that the committee will award Pitt another #1 seed for winning the Big East. I don't think San Diego State will get any of the #1 seed coming out of the Mountain West, so that leaves one spot remaining. I also see Kansas getting the #1 seed because, like Joe said, I feel another Texas loss is immanent.

3.       Does a 5-6 team (Nebraska) defeating an 11-0 team (Texas) show that the Big 12 has parity, or that the conference isn't as good as we thought?

MP: I think it just goes to show that going undefeated is really difficult.  All it takes is an off-night on the road to fall.  Right now, the loss to Nebraska looks like a bad night not a sign that Texas was overrated.  But truthfully there is a lot of parity throughout the country every year.  I still think the Big 12 will do very well come the tournament this year.

JL: I would lean more towards parity than anything else since upsets happen on the road in every conference. I think the conference is really competitive just look at how hard teams have had to work to get wins at Iowa State this year.

EP: I think it shows that winning on the road is more difficult than people think, especially when you have a target on your back like Texas did. They are a young team, and were playing in a hostile environment.

4.       Jordan Hamilton, Marcus Morris, LaceDarius Dunn, Marcus Denmon, Alec Burks. With four games to go, who's your Big 12 Player of the Year right now?

MP: Hamilton. Book it. One of the best scorers in the country. Has become a solid on-ball defender. Take Morris off Kansas and it's still a top ten team; take Dunn off Baylor and it might be better (the offense would run through Jones instead); Denmon is Missouri's most valuable, but without him they still look like a similar team; and I don't think Colorado is good enough to justify Burks. Without Hamilton, I think Texas' offense would be absolutely abysmal. J'Covan Brown and Cory Joseph are too inconsistent, and Thompson is a better second or third option.

JL: I would say Jordan Hamilton as his team looks to be on pace to win the conference and he has been the leader for them.

EP: At midseason I pointed to Jordan Hamilton as POY, and am sticking with it. Fourth in the league in both scoring and rebounding. Yes sir.

5.       Any thoughts on the Melo-To-The-Knicks trade?

MP: At first I thought it was a terrible trade for the Knicks, but the more I think about it the more I like Melo fitting into their system.  I'm not sold on Billups thriving in the up and down system or the disgusting lack of defense we're about to see, but the Knicks probably weren't going to be able to keep Chandler anyways.  I think Denver was to the point of choosing "something" over "nothing."  And really Chandler, Felton and Gallanari are good building blocks for a franchise.  I don't think any of them can be true franchise players (that's clearly where Mozgov fits in...not), but I think all three are solid starters.  Basically, I'm thrilled the speculation is over and I think all three (if you count Minnesota) teams benefited from the deal, at least in the short run.

JL: I don't like how the NBA seems to be turning into baseball with all the stars (except Durant) going to the big market cities. As for the trade I look forward to sending text messages to my friend Shannon (Knicks fan) when the Knicks lose in the first round of the NBA playoffs with Melo and Amare both not playing any defense.

EP: Living in Denver I am happy to see Melo go. You couldn't go anywhere in this town without hearing Melo talk over the past six months. So for that I'm grateful for the trade, grateful that all the talk will end. Melo's wife LaLa Melo didn't want to be here. And I say if you don't want to be someplace, leave. I am sad for Chauncey Billups though. That guy is everything basketball in the state of Colorado is and should be.