Big 12 Conference Notebook
by Mitch Schneider
It was an interesting first week for the Big 12’s top three teams. Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas (Hoopville’s No. 2, 3 and 5 teams, respectively) proved that even the Big 12’s best have some glaring weaknesses.
Though the Jayhawks routed Holy Cross on Tuesday, 81-57, the Crusaders actually held a 17-15 lead nine minutes into the game. Holy Cross took advantage of Kansas’ small front court and poor perimeter defending, but just ran out of steam at Allen Fieldhouse.
The fact that undermanned Holy Cross momentarily rattled the Jayhawks spells trouble for Kansas in its future meetings with bigger ball clubs.
Oklahoma was soundly thumped, 68-62, by a solid Alabama squad last Thursday. The Tide actually had an eighteen-point lead in the second half, and cruised to victory. While OU guards Hollis Price and Ebi Ere played well in combining for 43 points, no other Sooner made a significant impact on offense.
If Oklahoma plans to contend for any major championship this season, someone other than Price and Ere must quickly assert himself on the glass and in the paint.
As for Texas, the Longhorns overcame a second-half, ten-point deficit to upend Georgia, 77-71, last Friday. T.J. Ford, UT’s sensational sophomore guard, paced the Horns’ with 22 points and eight assists. In the win, Ford showed that he has the rare ability to control a game from his guard spot, and he will be the main reason Texas rises or falls this season.
Though Ford is brilliant in the back court, the Longhorns’ front court may be in for a long season. Texas’ starting big men struggled against Georgia’s mid-size forwards, and combined to hit only 5 of 16 shots for 13 points. While the Lone Star State may be big in size, Austin’s front court is anything but.
Unfortunately for Big 12 teams the old adage is trueâ€¦ size does matter.
Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech all begin their seasons Friday at home. All four of these teams started off the 2001-02 campaign by netting three wins in their first three games, and could very well repeat the feat this season.