Eric Bailey's Big 12 Insider
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
1/29/13 at 3:17 AM
Kansas: How is this for consistency for Kansas, which was 18-1 before Monday's win at West Virginia? The Jayhawks have started with an 18-1 record in three of the past four seasons. KU took care of business with wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma last week and extended its nation's-best winning streak to 18 with its win in Morgantown on Monday. The Jayhawks will entertain Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Baylor: The Bears have produced plenty of talented big men in recent seasons (Ekpe Udoh, Perry Jones, Quincy Acy, Quincy Miller). The one to watch this season is junior Cory Jefferson (6-9, 210), who is averaging 12.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game. "He's the Blake Griffin of the Big 12," Kansas coach Bill Self told the Waco Tribune. "He dunks everything. He's kind of replaced Quincy Acy in that regard. He's a good player."
TCU: Trent Johnson is having a rough start in his first season as the Horned Frogs coach and in TCU's inaugural campaign in the Big 12 Conference. The Frogs are 0-7 in league play for the first time since the 1978-79 season. A big reason? TCU cannot find consistency on offense. It ranks 344th out of 347 Division I teams in average points per game (54.6).
Senior leadership: Kansas was voted No. 1 in the USA Today coaches poll and No. 2 in the Associated Press poll on Monday.
Coach Self pointed toward leadership as a reason for the team's success. The Jayhawks are starting four seniors - Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Kevin Young.
"It is a bonus," Self said. "I've always said that talent trumps experience, but when you have them both, that's when you may have something special.
"You can have seniors and they could not be as experienced as sophomores," Self added. "You could have a sophomore as seasoned as anybody. In our particular situation, our seniors have played in big games. We went to the championship game last year and all of them played a huge role in the success that we had."
A local sidenote: Self's first experience at coaching against West Virginia's Bob Huggins came when Self was leading the Tulsa program.
Self's team defeated second-seeded Cincinnati 69-61 in the second round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament en route to an Elite Eight appearance.
Finally a win: Texas avoided an 0-6 start to the conference season with Saturday's 73-57 victory over Texas Tech.
Longhorns coach Rick Barnes is optimistic the league victory will be a springboard into the rest of the Big 12 season.
"That's what you hope," Barnes said. "We had some really tough losses this year. It is what it is. We weren't good enough to win those games when we had chances to do it.
"You're hoping that, as you win, you can build momentum. It's something we have to do. No one is going to give it to you."
Nabbing honors: Baylor's Pierre Jackson and Iowa State's Will Clyburn have been named the league's basketball player and rookie of the week, respectively.
Jackson, a 5-10 senior guard, averaged 19 points, four assists and two rebounds to lead Baylor to wins over Oklahoma State and TCU.
Clyburn, a 6-7 senior guard who transferred from Utah, averaged a double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds) in a loss to Texas Tech and a victory against Kansas State.
It was Jackson's first weekly honor and third overall. Clyburn landed the rookie award for the second time this season.
1. Kansas: Following Monday's win at West Virginia, Jeff Withey is just seven shy of tying Greg Ostertag's school record for blocked shots (258).
2. Baylor: The Bears recently have dominated in-state competition. Baylor has won 16 straight games against Texas schools, including six this season.
3. Kansas State: The Wildcats have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season after dropping contests to Kansas and at Iowa State.
4. Oklahoma: The Sooners' last hero at Allen Fieldhouse? Current UCO coach Terry Evans, who hit a last-minute 3 in a 1993 victory at Kansas. OU has lost 12 straight since that win.
5. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys showed resilience in a home win against West Virginia, overcoming an early 13-point deficit. Now if they could just solve those road woes.
6. Iowa State: Hilton Coliseum has become a nightmare for opponents. Eighteen straight visitors have been tagged with losses in Ames.
7. Texas: That sigh of relief heard around Big 12 country on Saturday? It came from Austin after the Longhorns avoided opening conference play with an 0-6 record.
8. West Virginia: Bob Huggins is a frustrated coach. His team has reached the 10-loss mark earlier in the schedule than any West Virginia team since the 2001-02 season.
9. Texas Tech: Scoring has been problematic for the Red Raiders in conference play. Texas Tech hasn't scored more than 63 points in seven contests.
10. TCU: Growing pains never hurt this much. The Horned Frogs' initiation into Big 12 play includes seven straight losses and an average margin of defeat of 15.9 points.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Oklahoma at Baylor, 6 p.m. Wednesday
This is a very important game for the Sooners, who cannot afford to dip too far down the league standings. Kansas and Baylor appear to be widening the gap from the league's top spots. OU will have to keep winning to stay within arm's reach of the conference's elite programs.