NewsOn6.com Big 12 Blog


Tuesday, March 10th 2009, 4:24 pm
By: News On 6


NewsOn6.com's Kyle Dierking is at the Big 12 Championship providing updates, insight and thoughts on the tournament.

By Kyle Dierking, NewsOn6.com

Saturday, March 14

7:39 p.m.

Here's who I picked for the Big 12 All-Tournament Team:

Most Outstanding Player: DeMarre Carroll, Missouri: 20 points and nine rebounds versus Baylor.

Mike Singletary, Texas Tech: A tournament-record 43 points in a win against Texas A&M.

Dexter Pittman, Texas: 26 points, 10 rebounds against Colorado; 19 points, 20 rebounds versus Kansas State.

James Anderson, Oklahoma State: 20 points in only 28 minutes against Missouri, had double-digit scoring efforts versus both Iowa State and Oklahoma.

LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor: 18 points versus Nebraska, 24 points against Kansas, 16 verus Texas and 11 in the championship game. Gave the Bears a spark in every game, most consistent player in my opinion.

Saturday, March 14

7:33 p.m.

The Big 12 Championship is in the books.

Missouri 73, Baylor 60.

The Mizzou basketbal program is back, as if it wasn't already.

It had their ticket punched to the NCAA Tournament, but winning the Big 12 Tournament Championship gives the Tigers momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament.

Missouri used 11 different players who played a minimum of six minutes against the Bears.

Tigers coach Mike Anderson has stressed in each of his press conferences how Mizzou was built for tournaments like these with such a deep rotation.

Again, Baylor playing four games in four days didn't help either, but the Tigers just played better tonight.

Saturday, March 14

5:22 p.m.

Well it is certainly not the Big 12 Championship people expected.

But that's probably been the best part about this tournament -- so many close games and so many unexpected twists and turns.

Missouri will be back in the NCAA Tournament, but it is win or go home for the Bears.

It will be Baylor's fourth game in as many days. I know I keep talking about that, but I think it gives Missouri a built-in advantage from the start.

I think its what helped the Tigers take down Oklahoma State last night.

But hey, expect the unexpected here. Baylor will probably win.

Friday, March 13

11:04 p.m.

It was another close game at the Ford Center tonight.

This time, the OSU Cowboys were on the losing side.

Missouri 67, OSU 59.

Byron Eaton left the game midway through the first-half and returned at the start of the second-half by dishing out two assists on the Cowboys first two offensive possesions.

Tonight, guard play really made a big difference for both teams.

Missouri's Matt Lawrence had 11 points and hit key three pointers to supplant Missouri's lead, while Zaire Taylor had 19 points.

Despite being in foul trouble, James Anderson had 20 points in only 28 minutes of play. Obi Muonelo had another good night, scoring 13 points and hitting 3 three-point field goals.

OSU fans packed the Ford Center. It was an arena full of orange with only a few specks of yellow.

It's Baylor versus Missouri in the Big 12 Championship tomorrow night at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, March 13

8:33 p.m.

Baylor does it again. They went from being a NCAA Tournament pick at the beginning of the year to a 5-11 record during the conference season.

The Bears are back. They're in the Big 12 Championship game.

One more win away from an automatic NCAA Tournament bid.

Baylor shutdown 6-foot-10, 298 pound big man Dexter Pittman, limiting him to 7 points, three rebounds and only 24 minutes due to foul trouble.

It was another team effort from the Bears. Three players scored in double figures. Kevin Rogers had 20 points, LaceDarius Dunn had 16 while Curtis Jerrells added 13.

Baylor also had seven steals on the night.

Friday, March 13

8:14 p.m.

Texas/Baylor is almost over. I'll have more following the game.

For now, another edition of the starting lineups for the Oklahoma State and Missouri game.

Oklahoma State

G      Byron Eaton

G      Terrel Harris

G      Keiton Page

F/G   James Anderson

F/G   Marshall Moses

Missouri

F  DeMarre Carroll

F  Leo Lyons

G  Zaire Taylor

G  Matt Lawrence

G  J.T. Tiller

Friday, March 13

5:36 p.m.

And now...the starting lineups...

Baylor

C    Josh Lomers

F    Kevin Rogers

G    Tweety Carter

G     LaceDarius Dunn

G    Curtis Jerrells

Texas

C    Dexter Pittman

G/F  Damion James

G   A.J. Abrams

G   Dogus Balbay

G   Justin Mason

Friday, March 13

3:35 p.m.

Baylor and Texas share a big similarity heading into tonight's Big 12 semi-final.

Both teams have put their post players to work the last two games.

The Bears used the height of seldom used centers Josh Lomers and Mamadou Diene to take down an undersized Nebraska team.  Against Kansas, the duo limited first-team All-Big 12 center Cole Aldrich to five shot attempts and eight points.

Lomers and Diene barely logged 10 minutes per game this season. Lomers logged 22 minutes against Nebraska, recording a season-high 11 points and 5 rebounds. Diene had a season-high 25 minutes, nine points and four rebounds versus Kansas.

Longhorns center Dexter Pittman resembles a 6-foot-10 bowling ball.  He's big and physical inside the paint and has been somewhat of a project.  He's averaging 10 points, five rebounds in 15 minutes per game this season.

Pittman has five double-doubles this year, two of which have been in the Big 12 Tournament. He had a season-high 26 points and he also grabbed 10 rebounds versus Colorado in 28 minutes.  Against Kansas State he had 19 points, 20 rebounds and four blocks in 34 minutes of work -- recording season-highs in rebounds, blocked shots and minutes.  

A double team might help contain Pittman's tough inside play, as Lomers and Diene are longer and less physical.

Friday, March 13

1:45 p.m.

The last time Missouri and Oklahoma State played it was on January 21st and the Tigers won 97-95.

The two-point loss was pretty remarkable for the Cowboys, considering they dug themselves out of a 20-point hole midway through the 1st half of the game.

Oklahoma State never led and had 19 turnovers -- a considerable difference from the five they had against Iowa State on Wednesday and the 10 turnovers against the Sooners last night.

It's amazing to look at the evolution of the Cowboys this season. Travis Ford deserves a lot of credit for shaping this team and being able to take OSU as far as he has without a true post player. The players have to execute the gameplan on the court, but first it takes smart coaching.

This could shape up to be another close game. The Pokes are going to have to come out energetic, despite playing their third game in three days.

Friday, March 13

12:50 p.m.

Some Sooner stats to swallow from last night's Bedlam game...

Blake Griffin

1st half: 4-6 FG, 11 points, 5 rebounds

2nd half: 2-3 FG, 6 points, 14 rebounds

Game: 6-9 FG, 17 points, 19 rebounds

Besides the desperation three-pointer he threw up at the buzzer, Griffin didn't attempt a field goal the final 8:29 of the game.

OU Guards

1st half: 4-13 FG, 4 turnovers

2nd half: 8-16 FG, 5 turnovers

Game: 12-29 FG, 9 turnovers

Griffin still easily got a double-double with limited touches, but OSU's mission was to minimize Griffin's involvement in the offense and make the Oklahoma guards win the game.

"I thought we did an excellent job on the big fella," said OSU coach Travis Ford. "We just didn't want to give him 25, and we did a pretty good job of doing that."

When OU and OSU played last Saturday, the Cowboys only lost by four. Take a look at the game Griffin and the OU guards had:

Griffin: 12-15 FG, 33 points, 14 rebounds

Guards: 9-22 FG, 7 turnovers

Those extra touches Griffin got in the March 7th game made the difference between a win and a loss. The Sooners need its guards to step up in the NCAA Tournament because its opposition will adapt the same strategy Ford put together to claim a one-point win over Oklahoma.

Friday, March 13

11:52 a.m.

It may be Friday the 13th, but all the spooky surprises happened at yesterday's Big 12 Tournament.

Three of the top four seeds lost, leaving Missouri as the lone survivor heading into today's semi-finals.

Ninth-seeded Baylor plays fifth-seed Texas in the 6:00 game this evening, while lucky number seven Oklahoma State faces third-seed Missouri at 8:30.

I'll be the first to admit that I had the tournament pegged wrong.

I thought after taking a blowout loss to Texas A&M last Saturday, the Tigers were stumbling to the finish line.

Now they might have the best chance to win the entire tournament.

Mizzou has played one less game than the other three remaining teams, giving the Tigers an extra day of rest -- perhaps an extra day to regroup from that regular season finale loss.

Although that didn't seem to make a difference yesterday with Baylor beating Kansas, Texas taking down Kansas State and Oklahoma State stopping Blake Griffin and the Sooners.

The Bears, Longhorns and Cowboys all will be playing its third game in as many days.

At some point, fatigue has to factor in, but at least one of those teams will end up playing for a Big 12 Championship on Saturday night.

 

Thursday, March 12

9:50 p.m.

Blake Griffin had beaten OSU two previous times.

Thursday night the Cowboys took Griffin out of the equation and got the win.

Griffin only attempted nine shots the entire game. He still got 17 points, but OU committed 19 turnovers - a problem that's been plaguing the Sooners lately.

"It's why we've struggled," said OU coach Jeff Capel. "Even when we beat Oklahoma State at our place last Saturday, we would get up 10 or 11 points and then we would get a couple turnovers and they would make you pay for them."

Ford said he was watching film into the wee hours of the morning, trying to figure out how to stop Griffin.

"The last two games we have been trying to double team him as soon as he got the ball," Ford said. "We just kept realizing how unsuccessful it was because when we would go to double team him, he would either split it or pick us apart as our defender was coming to him."

"So we made the decision to try to go ahead and full front him as much as possible and we have a weak-side defender behind him and leave the weak side open."

The loss leaves OU going back to the drawing board before the NCAA Tournament next week.

"We don't have a choice but to regroup," Capel said. "Because if you don't then we are going to be done pretty quickly."

OSU continues its late-season tear and a Bedlam win gives the Cowboys a boost and a step closer to a Big 12 Tournament Championship.

Three of the top four seeds went down on day two of the Big 12 Tournament.

We'll see how much OSU has left for tomorrow's game. It's tough to play three games in three days.

Thursday, March 12

8:15 p.m.

Oklahoma State's James Anderson stood at the free throw line with a chance to tie or win the game.

Oklahoma State 70, Oklahoma 70.

Timeout Sooners.

Anderson went back to the free throw line after the time out, got his feet set took a few words of advice from Byron Eaton and sank the second free throw to put OSU up one.

Oklahoma State 71, Oklahoma 70.

2.3 seconds remaining.

Taylor Griffin threw a baseball pass down the court and hit Blake Griffin, but the clock never started.

The officials crowded around and looked at the play over and over again.

The Cowboys pull out the win in Bedlam part III. What a game.

Thursday, March 12

6:35 p.m.

Kansas State coach Frank Martin made his plea to get into the NCAA Tournament following  his team's loss to Texas.

He went on for 2:50 on about the Wildcats and why they belong.

"Did we have a great non-conference schedule? No," Martin said. "Everyone in the country that played Butler gets credit for playing a good basketball team. No one played Butler at Butler other than its conference teams. We go to play Cleveland State at Cleveland State, everyone views that as a bad win."

Bedlam in progress. I'll have more coming up!

Thursday, March 12

4:25 p.m.

So the lower seed prevails again...Texas 61, Kansas State 58.

Dexter Pittman had 19 points and 20 rebounds to lead the Longhorns.

More to come from the post-game press conference soon.

Thursday, March 12

3:10 p.m.

Some other Kansas/Baylor bits...

Baylor is the only team to knock off the top seed in the Big 12 Tournament. They did it today and the Bears took down top-seeded Iowa State in 2001.

We've established that Kansas will be doing the rock-chalk walk-of-shame tomorrow, as the Jayhawk players return to class. Self says to expect a tough practice as well.

"We will practice as hard as we have ever practiced in the next two days and get them thinking about the (NCAA Tournament) as opposed to worrying about what just happened."

Thursday, March 12

2:50 p.m.

Just when you thought Texas A&M falling to Texas Tech was gong to be the biggest upset of the Big 12 Tournament, top seed Kansas loses!

The Jayhawks looked terrible for the first 13 minutes of the game and it ended up costing them a trip back to Lawrence, Kansas.

"First thing we are doing when we get back is we are going to school tomorrow," said Kansas coach Bill Self following the 71-64 Baylor loss. "We're going to make all the players walk around class tomorrow with all the other students wondering why are you back here already?"

Ninth-seeded Baylor lives to see another day and plays the winner of Kansas State/Texas which is in progress right now.

Bedlam III is in a few short hours...

Thursday, March 12

11:20 a.m.

Here we go again! It's day two from the Big 12 Tournament. Today the top four seeds are in action, beginning with Big 12 Champion Kansas.

The Jayhawks take on a Baylor team that beat Nebraska with its play inside the post yesterday.

I still can't believe the Texas Tech upset from last night.

Oh by the way, Bedlam part III takes place tonight. It should be another great day.

More updates to follow.

Wednesday, March 11

10:57 p.m.

Texas Tech 88, Texas A&M 83

By far the biggest upset of the day with the biggest NCAA Tournament implications.

The Aggies led by a staggering 19 points at halftime.

"I called them out pretty good at halftime," said Texas Tech coach Pat Knight.

Texas Tech's Mike Singletary only had eight points at halftime.

Singletary finished the game with 43 points and led the Red Raiders to a five-point win.

"I was just in the zone," Singletary said. "We didn't want to lose this game, we didn't want to go home."

The Aggies, who were on the NCAA Tournament bubble, might have had that bubble bursted since they lost to a Texas Tech team that is 14-18 and only has three conference wins.

Texas Tech has had a a couple of impressive wins lately, beating Kansas on March 4th and now they play third-seeded Missouri Thursday evening at 8:30.

Wednesday, March 11

10:30 p.m.

Oklahoma State 81, Iowa State 67

The Cowboys had trouble containing first-team All-Big 12 player Craig Brackins.

He scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the first-half on 5-9 shooting from the field.

The second-half was a different story.

The Cowboys came out  and double-teamed Brackins, limiting him to five shot attempts and eight points.

The result: a 14 point win for the Cowboys and a third round of Bedlam tomorrow night at the Ford Center.

With Wednesday's win OSU has probably locked up its first NCAA Tournament bid in four years, but that doesn't mean that Thursday's Bedlam game has any less importance.

"It is a big game for us because they have already beat us twice and it really bothers me," said Oklahoma State forward Obi Muonelo, who scored 18 points against Iowa State, hitting 6-of-10 from the three point line.

"This is a big time game," said OSU forward Marshall Moses. "We need to win. We need this win."

The Cowboys did a great job of containing Brackins in the second-half of Wednesday's game, but Blake Griffin poses a more physical threat -- something the Cowboys will have to combat if they want to win.

OSU has played close in both Bedlam games this season. The first contest in Stillwater back on January 26th was a seven point win for the Sooners. Last Saturday, OU was again victorious, but only won by four.

The Cowboys are inching closer, but the big question is do they have an answer for Griffin?

Wednesday, March 11

5:49 p.m.

I just received the starting lineups. Here's how it looks:

OSU

G   Byron Eaton

G   Terrel Harris

G   Keiton Page

G   James Anderson

F   Marshall Moses

Iowa State

G  Lucca Staiger

G  Diante Garrett

F  Alex Thompson

F  Craig Brackins

G  Bryan Petersen

Wednesday, March 11

5:15 p.m.

Oklahoma State plays its first tournament game against Iowa State in just a little bit. Yes, an OSU wins means Bedlam round three, but lets get to tonight's game first.

The Cowboys have to find an answer for big man Craig Brackins. He scored 27 points and had nine rebounds when OSU defeated the Cyclones 86-67 back on February 14th.

That was also the same contest in which head coach Travis Ford went to a five guard lineup. James Anderson scored 27 points, Terrel Harris had 21 points and Byron Eaton added 16 points.

Ford said earlier this week that the five guard line-up has its advantages, evidence of three players scoring in double figures last time OSU played Iowa State.

Marshall Moses has emerged as a good defender in the post and Anderson has been on a hot streak, scoring 37 points in last Saturday's Bedlam game in Norman.

More updates to come. OSU vs. Iowa State at 6:00 and Texas A&M and Texas Tech play at 8:30.

Wednesday, March 11

5:00 p.m.

Texas 67, Colorado 56

Colorado didn't have an answer for Longhorns center Dexter Pittman. He scored 26 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

Pittman's performance is a far cry from the four points and no rebounds he had in only 12 minutes last time the Longhorns faced Colorado.

The Texas win sets up a second-round match-up with Kansas State tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday, March 11

4:06 p.m.

Baylor can smile about its victory over Nebraska -- for now. They will have another early game and against top seed and Big 12 Champion Kansas.

They were able to play well, emphasizing post play. In fact, 6-foot-9 Baylor forward Kevin Rogers outrebounded the Cornhuskers 20-18 and 18 of Rogers' rebounds were on the defensive glass.

"Who are we going to match up with Josh (Lomers) and (Rogers) together? We're just not going to," said Nebraska coach Doc Sadler.

More on the Texas-Colorado game to come soon and I'll have a preview of tonight's Oklahoma State - Iowa State game as well.

Wednesday, March 11

1:32 p.m.

Game 1: Baylor 65, Nebraska 49

The Bears Play top-seed Kansas tomorrow morning at 11:30 a.m.

Baylor center Josh Lomers was a game time decision for its opening round game against Nebraska.

On paper, his status didn't seem to hold much weight toward the Bears advancing in the Big 12 Tournament.

His season stat line heading into today's game: 8.5 minutes, 2.8 points, 1.4 rebounds.

But Nebraska's absent post presence provided a big mismatch and a big win for Baylor.

The 7-foot Lomers towered over Nebraska small lineup, scoring 11 points. He was often guarded by 6-foot-4 guard Ryan Anderson and 6-foot-5 guard Ade Dagunduro.

Lomers wasn't the leading scorer but he made the difference in Baylor's victory.

I'm headed to the post-game press conference. More to come from game one and the rest of the day's games.

Wednesday, March 11

11:20 a.m.

The first game of the Big 12 Championship is about to tip-off. Nebraska plays Baylor in the 8/9 match-up. The Bears went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 20 years last season. They were expected to be back in the big dance picture, but have played sub-par through the Big 12 schedule. Nebraska defeated Baylor by four points in the regular season finale and it should be an interesting opening game at the Ford Center.

Wednesday, March 11

10:00 a.m.

The Big 12 Championship in Oklahoma City is here. I'll be providing updates throughout the tournament, but first let's examine the Big 12 teams, their triumphs and possible pitfalls as they head into the madness that is March.

1. Kansas (25-6, 14-2 Big 12)
Stock: Rising
Explanation: The Jayhawks starting lineup this season has mostly consisted of a pair of freshmen, two sophomores and junior Sherron Collins-the only major contributor back from last season's national championship team.

Kansas' only eyebrow raising loss was to lowly Texas Tech on March 4, but 10 of its 14 conference victories were by 10 points or more. Big 12 Coach of the Year Bill Self might have four other regular season conference titles, but this season's outright championship is his most impressive.

2. Oklahoma (27-4, 13-3 Big 12)
Stock: Steady
Explanation: No player has meant more to his team this season than Blake Griffin. The evidence is in the two games he missed due to a concussion, both of which resulted in losses to Texas and Kansas.

As Griffin goes, so do the Sooners. Anything short of spectacular play from the Big 12 Player of the Year could mean an early exit from the NCAA Tournament.

3. Texas A&M (23-8, 9-7 Big 12)
Stock: Rising
Explanation: It's not often that one game defines a team's season, but the Aggies annihilation of 12th-ranked Missouri sent its NCAA Tournament chances soaring. Texas A&M started out 3-7 in conference play, but has won six straight and is peaking at the right time.

4. Missouri (25-6, 12-4)
Stock: Falling
Explanation: The Tigers have been another Big 12 surprise this season, but in wake of its loss to Texas A&M (see above), Mizzou's roar through the conference schedule has been suddenly reduced to a whimper.

All six of the Tigers losses have come on the road or on a neutral court-a locale Missouri will be experiencing the remainder of this season. The best thing they can do is hope the Aggies win its first round game, setting up a rematch with Texas A&M. That could give the Tigers revenge and road confidence.

5. Oklahoma State (20-10, 9-7 Big 12)
Stock: Rising
Explanation: Travis Ford's first season as head coach has had its periods of peaks and valleys. At one point, the Cowboys lost six of eight conference games. OSU has since surged, winning six of its last seven.

During that stretch, sophomore guard James Anderson has scored 30 or more points in two games and averaged 24 points. Ford has done a remarkable job this year and a first-round win over Iowa State should secure the Pokes its first NCAA Tournament bid in four years.

6. Texas (20-10, 9-7 Big 12)
Stock: Shaky
Explanation: The Longhorns played a tough non-conference schedule and won 11 of its first 14 games. Texas played just well enough in the Big 12 (9-7) and with a first-round win over 12-seed Colorado, it will probably secure its bid to the big dance.

7. Kansas State (21-10, 9-7 Big 12)
Stock: Steady
Explanation: By virtue of a tie-breaker, the Wildcats secured the fourth-seed and an all-important first-round bye in the Big 12 Championship. K-State has played slightly better than the middle-of-the-pack Big 12 teams this season, with wins against Missouri, Texas and Texas A&M.

A second-round match-up with the Longhorns is likely and a win could be a proving point for the NCAA Tournament committee.

8. Nebraska (18-11, 8-8 Big 12)
Stock: Shaky
Explanation: The Cornhuskers draw Baylor in the first round of the Big 12 Championship, a team they defeated by three points last Saturday. The winner gets top seed Kansas, who Nebraska played close with in last season's conference tournament.

9. Baylor (17-11, 5-11 Big 12)
Stock: Falling
Explanation: Baylor has gone from being last year's feel good story to being back in the basement of the Big 12. The Bears returned their top three scorers from their 2007-08 NCAA Tournament team, but have only managed five conference wins and had an extremely weak non-conference schedule.

10. Texas Tech
Stock: Shaky
Explanation: Its been a tough first full season for Red Raiders head coach Pat Knight. The biggest surprise and point of pride came just a few days ago when Texas Tech took down conference champion Kansas.

It will be hard for them to beat red-hot Texas A&M in the opening round, though the Red Raiders lost by less than 10 points both times the two teams met during the regular season.

11. Iowa State (15-16, 4-12 Big 12)
Stock: Falling
Explanation: The Cyclones had zero impressive wins in conference play (Baylor, Colorado, Nebraska, Texas Tech) and dropped early season games against Hawaii, Drake and South Dakota State. The lone bright spot has been All-Big 12 first team member Craig Brackens, who averaged 20 points and nine rebounds.

12. Colorado (9-21, 1-15 Big 12)
Stock: Falling
Explanation: One win in the Big 12, nine wins overall. In these tough economic times, canceling the trip to Oklahoma City might have saved the athletic department a few bucks.