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Big 12 Notebook

January 7, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Big 12 Conference Notebook

by Mitch Schneider

Hot streak

Talk about starting the New Year off with a bang.

As of last weekend, every Big 12 school is currently riding a winning streak. That’s right… all twelve teams are presently sitting on some kind of a hot streak, and their numbers are impressive.

Here’s a quick look at all twelve streaks:

Baylor: 2 straight wins, 4 of 5 overall
Colorado: 5 straight wins, 7 of 8 overall
Iowa St.: 5 straight wins, 10 of 11 overall
Kansas: 6 straight wins
Kansas State: 6 straight wins
Missouri: 2 straight wins, 8 of 9 overall
Nebraska: 2 straight wins
Oklahoma: 2 straight wins, 8 of 9 overall
Oklahoma State: 8 straight wins, 10 of 11 overall
Texas: 4 straight wins
Texas A&M: 2 straight wins
Texas Tech: 4 straight wins, 9 of 10 overall

With all these wins, it’s no wonder why all Big 12 teams have won at least seven games so far this season. It should also be noted that all 12 schools have records over .500.

Overall, the Big 12 conference is a sizzling 103-28 (79%)… not too shabby.

Take that, ACC.

Clipped ‘Hawk

As well as the entire conference has played as of late, Kansas (9-3) may be the hottest Big 12 team out there on the floor.

The Jayhawks’ six-game victory streak includes wins over Tulsa, UCLA, and California as Roy Williams’ squad hasn’t lost in almost a month. Three of KU’s six wins were by more than 50 points, and Kansas has averaged a blistering 95.2 PPG over this span.

Unfortunately for the Rock-Chalk-Jayhawk faithful, those numbers may soon fall with the loss of forward Wayne Simien.

The 6-9 sophomore will miss, at least, two games after dislocating his right shoulder in a win over Missouri-Kansas City last Saturday. A similar injury caused Simien to miss six months in high school, and it’s unclear how long his banged-up shoulder will keep him out of the Jayhawks’ lineup.

Simien, Kansas’ leading rebounder, is currently averaging 15.9 points and 8.7 boards per game. His loss will greatly affect a Jayhawk team that heavily relies on its starting five – a unit that collectively averages 30-plus minutes per night.

“Hopefully, things will work out for the best,” Simien told the Associated Press. “But I don’t know. They may have to go in and do some repair work. They won’t be sure until they get some tests run. But they might have to do that. And that might be it for me this season.”

Fine from the line

Kansas topped Iowa State to start conference play. Speaking of the Cyclones, ISU guard Jake Sullivan has been taking full advantage from the charity stripe.

The junior guard has nailed 61 of 66 free throw attempts this season, and leads the Big 12 in FT percentage (92.4%).

After converting all five attempts he took in November, Sullivan’s productivity from the foul line has actually tailed off. In December, Sullivan converted just 56 of 61 attempts (91.8%), including a terrible 10-12 effort in a win over Binghamton.

Following that game, Sullivan missed free throws in three of Iowa State’s next five games, going a horrid 28 for 31 (90.3%) over that stretch.

It only goes to show that nobody’s perfect.

A perfect New Year

As mentioned before, each school in the Big 12 is riding some kind of a winning streak. While this fact alone is remarkable, this abundance of victories has led the conference to another noteworthy feat: an unblemished 2003.

Since New Year’s Day, the Big 12 is undefeated heading into conference play. Big 12 teams have combined to win all twelve of their games since January 1, with seven of those victories coming last Saturday, January 4.

For you stat geeks (such as myself), Big 12 squads won each game by an average margin of 21.1 points. Kansas registered the biggest blowout – a 54-point dismantling of Missouri-Kansas City – while Oklahoma edged Michigan State by two in the tightest affair.

In fact, not a single Big 12 team has posted a loss in more than a week. Saturday, December 28, was the last day a Big 12 school had lost, as both Oklahoma and Nebraska were defeated by Mississippi State and Arizona State, respectively. Since then, the conference is a perfect 22-0.

I guess the Big 12’s New Year’s resolution for 2003 was, simply, not to lose.

So far, so good.

Intriguing match-ups of the week:

Tuesday, January 7th – Connecticut at Oklahoma
Tuesday, January 7th – Colorado State at Colorado
Saturday, January 11th – Iowa State at Texas


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