Eric Bailey's Big 12 Insider
BY Associated Press
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
1/08/13 at 5:53 AM
Kansas: The Jayhawks have won 11 consecutive games including a 69-62 triumph over visiting Temple on Sunday afternoon. KU's player of the game was Jeff Withey, who registered nine blocked shots. Kansas coach Bill Self thinks Withey deserves more recognition than just a shot-blocker. "That's the way it is with all shot-blockers. They should get more credit than just the shots they block, but the shots they alter." KU opens Big 12 Conference play at home against Iowa State on Wednesday night.
Kansas State: The Wildcats have captured five consecutive victories including a 73-67 triumph over visiting Oklahoma State on Saturday. Rodney McGruder, who was named the conference player of the week, scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half. Forward Nino Williams has averaged 16.5 points in the past two games. "There's some transition any time there is a new coach running some new things and especially with a veteran group," first-year coach Bruce Weber said about his team adopting his style. K-State will play at West Virginia on Saturday.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers have yet to record a top-100-RPI victory this season and are coming off a 67-57 home loss to Oklahoma over the weekend. Shooting the basketball has been an issue for West Virginia this season. It is the only Big 12 school to have a season shooting percentage below 40 percent. "At the risk of sounding simplistic, it would be nice if we made a shot once in a while," Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins said. "We haven't shot the ball very well. We haven't shot very well at 3."
News and notes
Back to work: Iowa State will have played only one game in the past 21 days when it visits Kansas on Wednesday night.
The Cyclones defeated Yale 80-70 on New Year's Day. That was their only game since a Dec. 19 home victory over UMKC.
"(Allen Fieldhouse) is a fun place to play," Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg said during Monday's teleconference call. "I've never won there in my six chances as a player and a coach, but it'll be a great experience for the players."
How has his team spent the past three weeks?
"It's been a lot of practice time," he said. "We're sick of playing each other and we're ready to play other people."
Remembering a friend: Kansas coach Bill Self was asked about his former director of basketball operations Barry Hinson. Hinson, a former Bishop Kelley High School and Oral Roberts head coach, is in his first season at Southern Illinois.
"It's going to take time to get his program where it needs to be because they have so far to go, but I'm really happy for him. I know he's real proud to be in Carbondale," Self said.
SIU is 7-7 and will play at Wichita State on Wednesday.
Learning curve: Texas Tech snapped a six-game conference losing streak and an 11-game Big 12 road losing streak with Saturday's 62-53 win at TCU.
Said first-year coach Chris Walker: "I've been doing this so long and, coming from a Big East and SEC background, you're always happy no matter (where you get your road win)."
Players of the week: Kansas State's Rodney McGruder was named the Big 12's player of the week, while Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart captured rookie of the week honors.
McGruder helped the Wildcats improve their winning streak to five games by averaging 21.5 points in victories over South Dakota and Oklahoma State. Against the Cowboys, he scored 26 of 28 points in the second half.
Smart averaged 24 points in losses to No. 10 Gonzaga and No. 25 Kansas State.
1. Kansas: Difficult to not look ahead at next week's Big Monday matchup against visiting Baylor.
2. Kansas State: Wildcats snapped a four-year skid by winning their conference opener for the first time since 2008.
3. Baylor: Bears should build confidence this week with a road game at Texas Tech and a home game versus TCU before heading to Lawrence.
4. Oklahoma State: Marcus Smart is a talented freshman. He's had double figures in 10 of 13 games and multiple assists in all but one contest.
5. Oklahoma: Romero Osby has been automatic from the free-throw line, knocking down 31 straight. He is six shy of a school record.
6. Iowa State: Cyclones get their second game in the past three weeks. But it comes at Kansas, which has won 30 straight at home.
7. Texas: Youthful Longhorns have been paced by freshman guard Javan Felix, who had a monster 26-point performance at Baylor on Saturday.
8. West Virginia: Bob Huggins is lamenting his team's field-goal-percentage defense this season, which sits at 43 percent.
9. Texas Tech: The schedule heats up for the Red Raiders, who defeated three SWAC teams and two Mid-Eastern teams in nonconference play.
10. TCU: Horned Frogs, under Trent Johnson, may have a tough time finding their way in Big 12 Conference play.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, 2 p.m. Saturday
Bedlam begins this season at Oklahoma, as the two teams will battle for bragging rights in the 223rd meeting between the programs.
The Sooners lead the all-time series 128-94 and have won the last eight games in Norman. OSU's last road win in Bedlam was a 62-52 victory in the 2003-04 season.
Kansas State's Rodney McGruder averaged 21.5 points in wins over South Dakota and OSU. ORLIN WAGNER / Associated Press