SELF PLEASURE: A preview of the 2010-2011 Big 12 men’s basketball season – Part II (teams 1-6)

Previously, we have covered the teams that will most likely finish in the bottom half of the Big 12 for the upcoming season. This was done in an effort to provide equal coverage to all conference teams. It should not be implied that anybody gives a crap about those 6 teams, because they don’t.

So on to the teams that matter:

(6). Texas A&M Aggies

Remember when this guy was good at his job? Me neither.

The Aggies, believe it or not, are one of only 2 schools to have made the NCAA Tournament each of the past 5 seasons AND won at least 1 game each year (Pitt being the other). Billy Clyde Gillispie, who actually at one time knew how to coach, started the revival of the Texas A&M program, and Mark Turgeon has continued it. The Aggies lost a lot of talent from last year’s team, including their top 3 scorers and top rebounder. They will depend heavily this season on the leadership of guards Dash Harris and B.J. Holmes. It would seem that A&M would be poised to take a step back this year, but never underestimate Turgeon, who happens to be the only surviving member of the Lollipop Guild. Just as he did with Wichita State, he quietly and consistently puts his teams in position to compete for conference titles and postseason berths. His teams are seldom flashy, but they’re usually good, and this one will be as well.

(5): Texas Longhorns
Talk about an enigma. At one point last season, the Longhorns were 17-0 and ranked #1 in the nation for the first time in school history. They had beaten Michigan State, Pitt, and UNC by double digits and looked like the best team in the country. Then in their 18th game, they were blown out at Kansas State and it triggered a complete collapse that coach Rick Barnes was never able to stop. Barnes, who I’m convinced is also best selling novelist John Grisham, is saying all the right things about this year’s team. Saying last year was a fluke and that it will have no effect on this year’s team. But the fact is that nobody really knows what to expect from Texas this year. They have talent, with Gary Johnson, Jordan Hamilton, and super freshman Tristan Thompson leading the way. But talent doesn’t always correlate to wins, and if it doesn’t again, then Barnes/Grisham will have plenty of time to work on his latest shitty novel.

(4): Missouri Tigers

Best state ever, right?

I have often been unfairly accused of having a bias against Missouri. This hurts my feelings, because I love the state and the school. I don’t know why this perception is out there, but it is – and there seems to be little I can do do change it. So I’m not going to preview Mizzou; instead I’m going to turn it over to someone who knows the team well, a former sports editor for the school newspaper and valedictorian of a recent graduating class. Take it away, Sir:
“Thank you Profit and thank you four the oppertoonity to talk about the Missouri Tigers the college that I love so much and the team is the most faverite that I have. I will say wright off the bats that I don’t agree with you putting them at number for in your rankings I perdict they will win the big 12 confrence this year because their is alot of talent and we will win the confrance this year. This is true because our coach Mike Anderson runs a style of play called the fastest 40 minutes in basketball which means that we are faster then the other teams and trhe resulting in that is that we will win our games. I see the Final For as a vary realisticly goal for our team. Because we play the fastest 40 minutes in basketball. We play it so fast that it only takes us 36 minutes to play it HA HA HA! that was a joke because I know that annidotes are funny. But for really we are the best team in the big 12 again. And we are fast and that is why we will win thank you.”

No, thank you. And because I allowed a respected member of the print media in Columbia to write that preview, I hope it lays to rest the fallacy that I don’t like Missouri.

(3): Baylor Bears
Suddenly, some of the nation’s top recruits are interested in Waco, Tx. Which wouldn’t be that unusual if it weren’t for the fact that suddenly some of the nation’s top recruits are interested in Waco, Tx. Questions are swirling around the recruiting practices of Scott Drew, and the program received yet another broken jaw, er black eye, this summer with the arrest and subsequent suspension of star player ShoeLaceDarius Dunn. Fortunately for Dunn, he plays for a team on which players have been known to murder other players and coaches lie about it to protect themselves. So a little thing like beating in the face of a defenseless teenage girl isn’t that big of a deal. The 3 game suspension for that will be plenty. At any rate, despite all the controversy surrounding this team off the court, they are quite effective on it. Coming off an Elite 8 appearance last season, the Bears have one of the most talented freshmen in the country in Perry Jones, in addition to Dunn who might be the best player in the Big 12. My assertion that this is one of the elite teams in the Big 12 is fact. My belief that this might be a team full of scumbag cheaters is still pending…

(2): Kansas State Wildcats

Beard win.

These are exciting times in the Little Apple. Most experts are predicting K-State will break rival KU’s streak of conference championships. Like Baylor, the Wildcats are coming off an Elite 8 appearance. Unlike Baylor, it appears they are doing it the right way in Manhattan. Their head coach, Frank Martin, has gone from being an obscure Bob Huggins assistant to one of the top coaches in college basketball. Martin, a longtime Don in Miami’s Cuban Mafia who is believed to have assassinated over 300 people, has left the crime syndicate life behind. The Wildcats love their coach and leave everything they have on the court every single game. They do lose the very talented Denis Clemente, but so many other key players return, including Jacob Pullen, Curtis Kelly, Jamar Samuels, and Wally Judge. Pullen, a graduate of the C. Everett Koop School of Beard Trimming, is the Big 12 coaches’ preseason selection for player of the year. The senior guard is the heart and soul of a team that should be better than anyone else in the conference and would then need only to get past Kansas to claim the league title. Of course, that is something they have had trouble doing lately: they were 0-3 against KU last year, and since Big 12 play began their record against the Jayhawks is 2-33. That’s 2 wins and thirty-three losses and that is NOT an exaggerated statistic. And that’s why I have gone against most people and put them #2 in my preseason league rankings. Because until they lose their grip on it, this league’s supremecy still belongs to the:

(1): Kansas Jayhawks
Everything points to this being the year somebody else steps up to win the Big 12. The Jayhawks lost All-American Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, and one-and-doner Xavier Henry. But this team seems to have better chemistry and just might surprise a few people this year. The Morris twins, up-and-coming-future-sensation Thomas Robinson, and (in small stretches) Arizona transfer Jeff Withey give the Hawks presence inside, and a rotation of 47 guards will make it difficult for other teams to stay as fresh as Kansas. This will be Bill Self’s fastest team yet, and a very exciting one to watch. There are questions, and then there are also facts. Kansas has:
* the longest current streak of consecutive NCAA Tournament Appearances in the country (21);
* the longest current streak of consecutive home victories (61);
* the most winning seasons in Division I history (91);
* the most conference championships in D-1 history (53);
* the most consensus All-Americans in D-1 history (20).
Granted, these numbers have little to do with the upcoming season, but I like throwing them out there anyway. Kind of like these numbers:
* Bill Self, entering his 8th year as the Jayhawks head coach, has a record of 204-43 at the school. And his record at Allen Fieldhouse since becoming head coach? It’s the best home record among all active coaches by far: 115-6.

So to summarize: The Big 12 has several crap teams, 2 of which are thankfully leaving after this year.  There are several very good teams, and potentially 2 or 3 great teams. I have no bias against Missouri. Frank Martin is the greatest mobster/assassin/coach in the country. And after all the dust settles, Kansas is still the team to beat.

The more things change, the more they remain the same…

SELF PLEASURE: A preview of the 2010/2011 Big 12 men’s basketball season

SELF PLEASURE
A preview of the 2010/2011 Big 12 men’s basketball season
Part I (teams 7-12)

____________________________________________________

The more things change, the more they stay the same…

In what will be the final year of play for the Big 12 as we know it, Kansas will once again be the team to beat. It has become a familiar refrain: they lose several key contributors from the previous year’s team, but through excellent recruiting and the continued development of guys who were once just role players, they come back and just keep winning.

Most years, they absolutely dominate this conference. But this year, there are a few teams that could actually challenge the Jayhawks’ league supremacy, beginning with one just down the road. But until one actually knocks them down, they remain the favorites to win the league.

How it’s going to look:

Wrong finger, Doc.

(12): Nebraska Cornhuskers
Clearly, Big 10 Conference commissioner Jim Delany was not made aware of the fact that in order to get the football team, they had to take the basketball team. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure he would have called the deal off.

Fact: Nebraska hasn’t won a conference title since sharing the Big 8 title in 1950. In case you don’t possess basic math skills (which if you’re a Nebraskan, you probably don’t), that was 60 years ago.

Fact: Nebraska is one of only 3 BCS programs (Northwestern and South Florida being the others) to have never won a single NCAA tournament game. Not ever. Not once. Never. Not even by accident. Doc Sadler does return 3 starters from last year’s team, but considering last year’s team won only 2 league games, I don’t know how this is a good thing. Expect more of the same in their final year in this conference.

(11): Colorado Buffaloes
Also a lame duck team, the Buffs are off to the glamour of the Pac-12 Conference (nee Pac-10). A jovial Larry Scott acted as if he had pulled off a major coup by accepting Colorado into his conference, when in fact he did the Big 12 a great favor. In case nobody has noticed, Colorado has pretty much sucked at everything they’ve done for several years, with the exception of dragging down the strengths of schedule for their fellow conference teams. I’ll give them credit, they are the best at that.

For their last season in the Big 12, there is some hope in Boulder, as they do return 2 fairly good players in Cory Higgins and Alec Burks. They won’t be nearly enough and, like Nebraska, Colorado will go out on a low note. And I’m not entirely sure how, but SOMEhow, Cody Hawkins will enter a few of the basketball games this season and immediately throw a couple of interceptions. His dad will say, “That’s my boy!”, and then return to the unemployment line.

"Do you smell something?"

(10): Iowa State Cyclones
I remember vividly when noted Iowa State basketball fan Mother Teresa (she once dated Johnny Orr in college) came to Ames to speak. She was introduced to an enthusiastic crowd of thousands, and as she stepped to the podium amid wild cheers, she said, “Thank you so much. Thank you. God Bless you. Thank you. What a wonderful university you have here. By the way, why are the chicks in this town so fat and why does the entire state smell like shit?!” She had a point.

As for the basketball team this year, Fred Hoiberg returns to his alma mater and will attempt to restore the Hilton Magic of old. Eventually, Hoiberg wants to implement a fast paced, high scoring, exciting style of play. With the current roster of players he inherited, however, about the only thing they’ll do quickly this year is exit the conference race.

(9): Oklahoma Sooners
There is a rumor floating around that there are actually other things to do in Norman besides sleep with your sister and watch football, but I have not been able to confirm that. One thing is certain: Jeff Capel’s basketball team has more new faces than the Beverly Hills Ladies Auxiliary weekly luncheons. The good news is that these new players will almost assuredly have more chemistry than the highly disappointing team of last year, which went 13-18 for their first losing season since 1981. The bad news is that none of these new players are named Blake Griffin. Capel should get this team back on track, but it isn’t happening this year.

Quitter.

(8): Texas Tech Red Raiders
As part of my crackerjack investigatory research, I sometimes am forced to employ questionable tactics. Such is the case a few years ago when the rumors were swirling that Bob Knight was about to resign. I knew that if I was going to get the story, I would have to use the old hidden camera/microphone trick. I just needed a safe place to keep it. Somewhere that it would never be noticed, somewhere that it would be safe from inspection, somewhere that not a single person would ever be tempted to look. So I put it on the inside of a Tech cheerleader’s skirt. What I got was Coach Knight telling his son, Pat, that indeed he was abruptly retiring; Pat saying, “But you always tell the kids never to quit”; Bob punching Pat in the Adam’s apple; Pat crying and screaming; Bob saying, “SHUT UP! It didn’t hurt that bad!”; Pat saying, “That’s not why I’m crying. I’m crying because you’re leaving me in charge of THIS team!”. And it’s been downhill ever since.

The good news is that Pat Knight apparently didn’t inherit the dickhead gene from his father – by all accounts he’s a nice guy. The bad news is that he also didn’t seem to inherit any of the coaching genes, either. One thing this team has going for it is that they will have 4 senior starters this year, including F Mike Singletary, the league’s most underrated player. This team can score. The problem is that they gave up an average of 213 points per game last year, which was probably a record.

(7): Oklahoma State Cowboys
The loss of Big 12 player of the year James Anderson is really going to hurt Travis Ford’s team this season. One of the things Ford has going for him is that this team is deep. So while no single player will be able to make up for Anderson’s departure, a continuing rotation will ensure that players will remain fresh as the committee approach will be utilized. As always, another thing in Oklahoma State’s favor is their building, Gallagher-Iba Arena. Named after legendary coach Henry ‘Hank’ Iba and his former assistent, a comedian who smashes watermelons with a giant hammer, this is one of the best venues in the country in which to see a college basketball game. But perhaps the most exciting thing for Cowboys fans this year is the ‘Eddie Sutton Experience’, a very unique program. For only $500, one lucky fan per home game will get the chance to be Eddie Sutton for an evening. Approximately 2 hours before game time, this fan will be escorted to a hospitality suite where they can enjoy appetizers that Sutton enjoyed, such as hot wings, onion rings, and Vicadin sandwiches. This lucky fan will also get a chance to look through Sutton’s favorite drink menu, which is considerably thicker than the Oklahoma State media guide. And finally, this fan will get to sit in Eddie Sutton Seat on Eddie Sutton Court – the exact same seat where he spent so many seasons dozing off during games. Exciting times in Stillwater.

So there you have it, Part I of the Big 12 preview. I do realize that some people don’t take me seriously and I know I have my share of detractors. Many of these naysayers have even started clubs (I believe they are called ‘not-for-Prophet organizations’). But remember, I correctly predicted the outcome of every single NCAA tournament game last year. I mean, maybe not EVERY game, but most of them. Although I didn’t have any of the Final Four teams, I came close. Other than the team I predicted would win it all didn’t get out of the first weekend. Actually, come to think of it, I pretty much suck at this. At any rate, Part II shall follow later in the week…