Well the final standings are starting to come into place in the Big 12 as it looks like Kansas will be gobbling up another conference title with Texas late season drop. What we think the reasons for the Longhorns drop is just one area we touch on as we also get into what coaches we think should maybe get the boot as well as if Jacob Pullen has set himself up for Big 12 Player of the Year honors.
Questions below and our answers after the jump, as always feel free to comment on our answers.
Jacob Pullen: Big 12 Player of the Year?
What programs in your opinion in the Big 12 need to fire their coaches and start fresh?
Why can't Missouri win on the road?
Who or what is too blame for Texas late season swoon going on?
What arena in Big 12 that you haven't ever been too would you most like to go and watch a game? What about in the country?
(1.) Jacob Pullen: Big 12 Player of the Year?
EP: I think that Pullen is making a strong case for himself, but is third in voting at the moment. Last week I thought it was Jordan Hamilton, but he has flubbed the past two games - as have the Longhorns - so I'm now leaning towards Marcus Morris.
MP: I like Pullen, but I think we still have to count the beginning of the season. If he had started a little better (and not been suspended), I think he'd be a lock. I'm going to go with Jordan Hamilton because if you look, when he struggles, Texas struggles. He led this team into the one-seed conversation. Everyone has rough patches, his just came towards the end of the season. Regardless, I have to go with Hamilton (though I expect Pullen will make a real case for conference tournament POY).
JL: I think he probably has earned it with his play as of late. Marcus Morris would have probably been the choice a few weeks ago but he is maybe hurt a little by all the talent surrounding him and the position he plays. Pullen has been seen more since the ball is in hands far more frequently than Morris.
(2.)What programs in your opinion in the Big 12 need to fire their coaches and start fresh?
EP: I think the best scenario for Nebraska was to lose out and go to a new conference with a new coach. Now they beat Mizzou and Texas and will probably make the NIT, making a transition more difficult. Pat Knight is the obvious answer though. He took a team projected to be around the top half of the conference into the bottom quarter. The Oklahoma schools have been bad this year, but both Ford and Capel can recruit, so they should remain safe.
MP: I think Pat Knight needs to be first to go. He's had ample opportunity to succeed at Texas Tech and has come up short. A new coach would help rejuvenate the program. I'm not sure who they could get, but I'd be interested to see a Billy Gillispie type get a second chance. I think Jeff Capel is on very thin ice. Oklahoma needs to look at the recruits he's got in the pipeline and decide whether or not now is a good time to move. His last couple of years have been disastrous, and while not all of the problems are his fault, it might be best for Oklahoma and Capel to start fresh. Doc Sadler is an interesting case. He fits Nebraska's "history" (or lack thereof). I never see him contending in the Big 10; really, his ceiling seems the first round of the NCAA Tournament every couple of years. If that's what they want, stick with him. If they want to put a little more emphasis on basketball, they probably need to make a change
On a side note, I think the Nebraska students have been terrific this season. Every game I've watched played in Lincoln has had a great crowd that was clearly excited about a relevant basketball team. My guess is they'd like a little more emphasis on basketball, so you can take that for what it's worth.
JL: Personally I think Oklahoma ought to seriously think about showing Jeff Capel the door. I love Matt's suggestion of Billy Gillispie, if you could get him at OU or heck Texas Tech I say pull the trigger on it. As with Doc Sadler, I really don't know if anyone can win there. Yes they are building a new facility but come on the school doesn't care about winning in basketball or else they would have won at least 1 ncaa tournament game since the Big 12 began.
(3). Why can't Missouri win on the road?
EP: aint that the million dollar question? I have a feeling they feed off the energy of the crowd and obvious road crowds aren't pulling for them. Other than that I just can't answer it. I would understand if this was CU, and they used the altitude to their advantage, but Columbia is probably 2 feet above seas level. I just don't get it.
MP: I'm not sure. I think it's because the Tigers struggle to rattle opponents away from Columbia. Missouri also may play a little less confidently away from home. Sometimes things like this get in your head, and it's hard to break out of them (or in your opponent's head). I'm very, very interested to see the Tigers play Kansas at home and then in the tournament. I've started taking their road losses for granted, but the Big Dance isn't played on the road.
JL: Count me in as I have no idea. Think it has to be a mindset with them now or something. You can talk about how refs treat them on road versus at home but no amount of home cooking should equate to a Top 25 team going 1-7 on the road in conference. Who knows maybe next year will be better for Missouri when get to travel to every Big 12 away gym so get some road games at places like Texas Tech and Oklahoma.
(4.) Who or what is too blame for Texas late season swoon going on?
EP: In a "Conference Call" from the beginning of February I asked if Texas was peaking too early.I just saw what happened last year with a young, talented team in Austin and thought the same might happen here. But to answer your question I think that it is a combination of youth and Jordan Hamilton mis-placing his shot.
MP: I blame the defense. Now how much of Texas' defensive struggles come from taking bad shots that lead to run outs? I'm not sure. Tristan Thompson is still playing really well, but Jordan Hamilton is in a tough slump that seems to have worn off on Cory Joseph. Rick Barnes' needs to get this team's confidence back at Baylor this week, and get them some momentum going into the conference tournament.
JL: I'd say a combination of some bad luck along with some poor shooting mixed in with some less than stellar defense. I didn't see the Colorado game but it sounds like CU just wasn't missing in 2nd half no matter what the defense was doing. Then I don't know if Texas can survive with Hamilton taking so many shots and not connecting since they are already short handed on offense with Dogus Balbay in the game. I understand he is a good defender and can get the ball to the rim at times but am I the only one who feels that he just screws stuff up for Texas at times on the offensive end when he is in the game.
(5.) What arena in Big 12 that you haven't ever been too would you most like to go and watch a game? What about in the country?
EP: I'd love to go to the Octagon of Doom. Those fans just look rowdy. Nationally it has to be Cameron, right? Wouldn't that be #1 on anyone's list?
MP: I've never been to the Phog, so it's the top of my list. I think Bramlage would be a lot of fun too, but it doesn't have the same history as Allen Field House.
JL: I have only been to two of them but it's the two you both mention above in Bramlage and Allen Fieldhouse. Both are fun, obviously with Allen Fieldhouse it's a cool place to visit and take in the history of the place but with Bramlage they have a much larger student section which creates a louder environment in my opinion. If I had to pick a place to go that I haven't been in the Big 12, I would say Gallagher-Iba looks pretty cool and seems to be very loud. Nationally I would say probably Cameron as well since it seems pretty awesome too. The Carrier Dome would be cool just to see when its filled with people for a basketball game.