Eric Bailey's Big 12 Insider
BY Eric Bailey
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
1/15/13 at 5:22 AM
Kansas: The Jayhawks continue to roll through their schedule and have a 14-game winning streak after Monday night's win against Baylor. Kansas showed it can win a nip-and-tuck home game (Iowa State) and weather a poor shooting performance on the road (Texas Tech). But there are red flags going up following offensive droughts in both games. Kansas went more than eight minutes without a field goal against Iowa State and did the same in the final 11:13 of the first half against Tech. Those problems need to be fixed to have continued success.
Baylor: The Bears proved they can win basketball games without head coach Scott Drew on the bench. Drew served a two-game suspension for past NCAA sanctions at the start of Big 12 play and missed wins over Texas Tech and TCU. Baylor entered Monday's game with wins in six of its past seven games. The Bears have been led by Pierre Jackson, who is averaging 19.2 points a contest.
Texas: The Longhorns have lost four of their past five games and have a week off before a Saturday visit from Kansas. The break may not have come at a better time for Texas, which has struggled offensively. Texas is averaging only 64.1 points and is shooting a ghastly .401 from the field, which ranks near 300th nationally among Division I schools. Coach Rick Barnes said on Monday that the time off will help the team physically and mentally.
News and notes
Big Monday: The Big 12 Conference began Big Monday play with a Baylor-Kansas contest.
The Jayhawks are often highlighted in ESPN's Monday night programming. What does coach Bill Self think about the prime-time contest?
"The players enjoy it; I'm sure all the players across the league do," Self said hours before Monday's game. "The two-day turnaround, we've done it a lot but this team hasn't done it.
"Whenever you play a team that does multiple things and you only have an hour to practice, that always makes it nervous for a coach. That's the case when you play a Saturday and a Monday ... you certainly have to make the most of that hour."
Both Oklahoma Big 12 teams will make their lone Monday appearance on ESPN on Jan. 21. Oklahoma State visits Baylor at 4:30 p.m., while Oklahoma hosts Texas at 8:30 p.m.
Back to work: Baylor coach Scott Drew missed his team's first two Big 12 games after serving a two-game suspension for NCAA infractions regarding impermissible texts and phone calls.
The Bears defeated Texas Tech (82-48) and TCU (51-40) without their coach on the bench.
"It is great being 2-0 and our staff did a tremendous job," Drew said. "Every head coach is only as good as his staff. ... As with anything, when you are away from something you are excited and happy to be back.
"I'm most pleased with the conference start we have because every conference win is a good one."
Bouncing back: Last week, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg mentioned he was 0-6 as a player or coach in games played at Allen Fieldhouse.
His seventh loss to the Jayhawks was a stinging setback. Kansas' Ben McLemore banked in a 3-pointer with one second left to force overtime, and KU escaped with a 97-89 home victory.
Hoiberg didn't want to talk about the KU game during Monday's Big 12 coaches teleconference call. He focused on Iowa State's 82-62 home win over Texas.
"I was so proud of our guys for how they bounced back after that tough loss to Kansas. It was absolutely heartbreaking for everyone involved in it," Hoiberg said. "You don't get those opportunities very often to win at Allen Fieldhouse ... you always worry about a letdown after that type of scenario."
Nabbing honors: Two freshmen have been named the league's player and rookie of the week.
Kansas' McLemore, a 6-5 guard who earned player of the week honors, averaged 21.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in the Jayhawks' triumphs over Iowa State and Texas Tech.
Iowa State's Georges Niang (6-7 forward) averaged 15.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and two assists in the KU loss and 20-point victory against Texas.
1. Kansas: Jayhawks' McLemore didn't play like a freshman with a 33-point performance in OT win against Iowa State.
2. Kansas State: Wildcats continue to impress under first-year coach Bruce Weber. K-State has ripped off six straight wins.
3. Baylor: The Bears are still looking for their first victory in Lawrence, Kan., after losing Monday night.
4. Oklahoma: Sooners are searching for their fifth consecutive win in Wednesday's home game against Texas Tech. It would match the longest streak of Lon Kruger's two-year stay.
5. Oklahoma State: Cowboys play three of their next four games in the friendly confines of Gallagher-Iba Arena.
6. Iowa State: Cyclones offense is among one of nation's best. Iowa State hasn't scored fewer than 70 points in its first 15 games.
7. West Virginia: Busy travel week for the Mountaineers. The team plays at Ames on Wednesday followed by Saturday's nonconference game at Purdue.
8. Texas: The good news? The Longhorns (losers of three straight) get a week off. The bad news? Getting back to action means a visit from Kansas.
9. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders will hang out in Oklahoma this week. Tech plays at Oklahoma on Wednesday, at OSU on Saturday.
10. TCU: Baskets have been hard to come by for the Horned Frogs. TCU ranks 343rd in scoring nationally and has averaged just 46 points in its first three league games.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Oklahoma at Kansas State, 3 p.m. Saturday
There is a good chance the Sooners could be 4-0 in league play when coach Lon Kruger leads his OU squad against his alma mater. Oklahoma could take a big leap with a road victory at Manhattan. The challenge: K-State has a 10-0 home record this year.