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Big 12 Notebook

December 17, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments



Big 12 Conference Notebook

by Mitch Schneider

And then there was one

In last week’s notebook, I mentioned the Big 12 still had three undefeated teams within its ranks. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Iowa State, Texas Tech and Missouri all carried perfect records into mid-December. Now, the Tigers (6-0) are alone at the top, as the Cyclones (7-1) dropped one to Boston College, 85-78, and Tech (5-1) was upset by Wyoming 67-62.

The Red Raiders’ loss on Saturday seemed the most surprising as Bob Knight’s team had previously destroyed every opponent in its path. In Texas Tech’s five-game winning streak to open the season, Tech had outscored each opponent by an average of 28 points.

Iowa State was also flying high before B.C. weathered the Cyclones. Like Texas Tech, ISU began the year with a five-game victory streak, and all wins were by an average of 24 points.

Unfortunately both Texas Tech and Iowa State ran into a pair of hot teams (Boston College and Wyoming are a combined 11-5), and the Big 12 conference has two more losses to show for it.

Mizzou’s clean slate will last until at least this weekend. The Tigers next play undefeated Illinois (7-0) this Saturday in Missouri.

I’ll hazard a guess and say that one of these teams will no longer be undefeated come Sunday.

Emm-inent force

Though Texas Tech’s run at perfection came to a halt, Red Raider guard Andre Emmett has yet to slow down.

The junior leads the Big 12 in scoring (21.5 PPG), and has poured in 20 or more points in five of Tech’s six games this year.

Last season, Emmett flourished in Knight’s motion offense and averaged 18.7 points per game (fourth in the conference). Emmett was the only sophomore selected First Team All-Big 12, while leading Tech in scoring, field goal percentage and steals.

Emmett’s scoring average could be significantly higher this season, if it weren’t for his poor shooting from the charity stripe. Emmett has converted just 14 of 28 free throw attempts (50%), and is just 6 of 15 (40%) in the month of December.

You think The General’s aware of Emmett’s poor foul shooting? We’re pretty sure Andre’s been reminded once of twice.

Cat fight

The Texas Longhorns had a chance to momentarily turn the basketball world upside down last Sunday, but failed to do so.

No. 8 Texas came up just a few points short of shocking No. 1 Arizona last weekend in Tucson. Playing without injured star Luke Walton, the Wildcats downed the ‘Horns, 73-70, in what seemed like a tune-up for March Madness.

Texas pushed Arizona to the brink of defeat, but couldn’t overcome bad three-point shooting (6-20, 30%), and poor ball handling (14 turnovers, 6 by T.J. Ford).

Still, the Longhorns (5-2) played solid basketball against the nation’s top team, and nearly pulled off its biggest win of all time.

After losing back-to-back games to Notre Dame and Arizona, Texas should rebound to win its next four contests. McNeese State, Princeton, Louisiana Tech and Mount St. Mary’s all travel to Austin during the next three weeks, and will all face a UT team looking to avenge its previous losses.

Sorry, guys. Now’s not a good time to mess with Texas.

Wright-on

And if you’re not yet sick of news from the Lone Star State, here’s one more Texas tidbit to oil your spurs.

Texas A&M freshman, Antoine Wright, is quickly making a name for himself as one of the top youngsters in the nation.

Wright ranks seventh in the Big 12 in scoring (18.1 PPG), and has tallied 20 or more points in three of A&M’s (5-2) last four wins.

Before this season started, Wright was labeled one of the most talented recruits ever to land in College Station. Wright has clearly backed up this claim, as the frosh leads the Aggies in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks.

Wright has also helped form one of the Big 12’s best one-two punches along with fellow guard Bernard King (16.3 PPG), giving Texas A&M fans something they’re not used to: a sizzling backcourt.

Intriguing match-ups of the week

Wednesday, Dec. 18 – New Mexico at Texas Tech
Saturday, Dec. 21 – UCLA at Kansas
Saturday, Dec. 21 – Illinois at Missouri

     

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