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Big 12 Notebook

December 27, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

Big 12 Conference Notebook

by Mitch Schneider

Tigers lock-up Snyder

Good news for all hair salons in central Missouri.

Last Friday, Mizzou signed head coach Quin Snyder to a two-year contract extension, meaning the Big 12’s best-haired and best-dressed coach will remain in Columbia through at least 2008.

At 36, Snyder is one of the top up-and-coming coaches of his generation. A former protégé of Duke’s legendary coach, Mike Krzyzewski, Snyder has posted a 68-39 (64%) mark through three-plus seasons at Missouri.

The deal will pay Snyder a little more than a million dollars per year over the next five campaigns.

On top of his impressive win-loss record (including a 4-3 mark in three years of NCAA Tournament play), Snyder’s Tigers have been as proficient in the classroom as they have been on the basketball court. All six of Snyder’s players who finished their eligibility received a degree.

And what did Mizzou’s most-famous alumni, Tony the Tiger, say after hearing about Snyder’s extension?

“That’s grrrrrrr-eeaatt!”

‘Cats on the prowl

Speaking of undomesticated animals, the Wildcats of Kansas State have also had plenty to cheer for as of late.

After starting the season 2-4, Jim Wooldridge’s crew has notched four straight wins in a 12-day period, improving to 6-4. Over KSU’s victory streak, the Wildcats have won by an average margin of 22 points, while shooting a blistering 56% during that span.

Though Kansas State only boasts one player who is scoring more than 12 points per game, six other ‘Cats are averaging over seven points a night. KSU has, arguably, the most balanced scoring attack in the Big 12, one that has netted nearly 90 points per contest over its current winning streak.

Leading the way for the Wildcats is forward Gilson DeJesus. The senior, who is averaging 12.6 points per game (15.2 in the December), poured in 21 points and grabbed 10 boards to help his team to a 90-72 win over Oregon State last week.

In that game, DeJesus nailed all six three-point shots he attempted. This season, he has connected on a league-best 34 tri-fectas (3.4 per game), having converted 13 of his last 17 heaves from behind the arc.

John Turturro’s character may have said it best in the movie The Big Lebowski:

“Nobody (messes) with De-Jesus.”

Nobody has lately messed with K-State, as well.

Ridin’ on dubs

Colorado forward Stephane Pelle — the only returning Big 12 player to have averaged a double-double in the conference last season — is on pace to replicate the feat.

Presently, Pelle is averaging 10.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game for the Buffs. The 6-8 senior has tallied two double-doubles in CU’s last three games (both wins), and ranks second in the conference in boards per contest.

Pelle is one of just three players in the Big 12 to currently averaging double-digits in both scoring and rebounds, as Texas’ James Thomas (12.7 PPG, 11.2 RPG) and Iowa State’s Jackson Vroman (13.0 PPG, 10.1 RPG) are also posting similar numbers.

For his career, Pelle has registered 28 double-doubles. Besides all of his double-double games, the Cameroon native is just 125 rebounds shy of breaking Colorado’s all-time record for career boards (971 by Cliff Meely).

But with just one more board, Pelle will pass former New Edition star, Bobby Brown, in terms of career rebounds.

Sunday in the park

The Big 12 conference had a rare, perfect Sunday last weekend.

All four Big 12 teams who played last Sunday, December 22, notched wins in their respective home gyms.

Iowa State (76-55 over Drake), Texas A&M (107-66 over Louisiana-Monroe), Kansas State (90-72 over Oregon State) and Texas (57-54 over Princeton) all helped in giving the conference its first perfect Sunday this season (in which more than one Big 12 team hit the floor).

This year, Big 12 teams have combined to go 11-4 (73%) on the day the mail stops.

While this little statistic proves absolutely nothing in the world of college basketball, it’s nice to know Big 12 teams haven’t altogether rested on the day the rest of the country does.

Intriguing match-ups of the week:

Saturday, Dec. 28 – Oklahoma at Mississippi State
Saturday, Dec. 28 – Texas Tech at Minnesota
Saturday, Dec. 28 – Kansas at California


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