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Big 12 Notebook

February 11, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Big 12 Conference Notebook

by Mitch Schneider

Making the grade

As the Big 12 conference enters the second half of its schedule this week, I thought it’d be fun to evaluate the play of each team thus far. With mid-terms just completed, here’s a quick look at the Big 12 grade sheet (and no, there was no grading on a curve).

Oklahoma State (18-3, 7-1): A

Eddie Sutton’s Cowboys have surprised everyone but Eddie Sutton as O-kie State has cruised to the top of the Big 12 standings, thanks to a solid eight-man rotation and stingy defense.

Oklahoma (16-4, 7-2): A

Despite the Sooners’ 67-61 loss to Texas on Monday, Oklahoma has played brilliantly this year with guards Hollis Price and Ebi Ere (combined 34.5 PPG) leading the way.

Kansas (17-5, 7-1): A-

The loss of Wayne Simien has done little to derail an impressive Kansas squad that has won eight of ten in his absence, while playing only 6 or 7 players.

Texas (16-4, 7-2): A-

Though the ‘Horns aren’t the biggest team in the Big 12, their talented backcourt (T.J. Ford and Royal Ivey) should take them far this post-season.

Missouri (14-5, 5-3): B+

Quin Snyder’s crew is also on pace to grab a Tournament bid, although the Tigers must step up their play against the nation’s best (0-5 against top 25 teams) if Mizzou hopes to dance deep into March.

Colorado (14-7, 4-4): B

With wins over Kansas and Texas, CU is enjoying its best season since 1996-97 – the last time they earned an NCAA Tournament bid.

Texas Tech (13-6, 3-5): B-

Bob Knight may have 800 wins himself, but his Red Raiders must win another 4 or 5 games to have a shot at March Madness.

Iowa State (12-7, 2-6): C

The season started out nicely in Ames as Iowa State went 10-1, but conference play will keep the ‘Clones from dancin’ this time around.

Texas A&M (11-8, 3-5): C

After an ugly 9-22 record last year, the Aggies have definitely turned things around this season and may be rewarded with an NIT invite.

Kansas State (11-10, 2-6): C-

The Wildcats entered Big 12 play on an eight-game winning streak (including a 68-44 thrashing of Texas Tech), but are just 1-6 since.

Baylor (10-9, 1-7): D+

If it weren’t for Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Missouri and, pretty much, the rest of the teams in the Big 12, Baylor would be right up there in the conference standings.

Nebraska (10-12, 1-7): D

No need to worry, Husker fans . . . football season is just six months away.

Scoring King

Texas A&M guard Bernard King didn’t exactly shoot the lights out in the Aggies’ 95-87 loss to Texas last Saturday (King shot 1-12 from the field). But his ten-point effort was still good enough for King to pass Marcus Fizer as the leading scorer in Big 12 history.

King, who’s only field goal came with 3:14 remaining, nailed a foul shot midway through the second half that gave him 1,831 points, one more than Fizer’s total at Iowa State.

After the shot, King was given a standing ovation by the College Station faithful. Unfortunately, his record-setting night could not turn away a Longhorns’ squad that outscored A&M 51-38 in the second half, giving Texas its 28th victory in the last 31 meetings between these two schools.

Bernard may now rule the record books, but Texas is still King of the South.

Buffalo soldier

Colorado swingman Michel Morandais has quietly been lighting up the Big 12 this season.

The 6-5 junior has scored 17 or more points in seven of the Buffs’ eight conference games, and is averaging a healthy 19.0 PPG in Big 12 play.

Morandais was instrumental in wins over Kansas and Texas, averaging 20.5 points and 5.5 assists in those two victories. Morandais also combined to nail all four of his three-point attempts against KU and UT, helping Colorado end 27- and six-game losing streaks to the Jayhawks and Longhorns, respectively.

A native of Guadeloupe in the French West Indies, Morandais has teamed with fellow foreigner Stephane Pelle (Cameroon) and David Harrison to give CU one of the better frontcourts in the Big 12. Unfortunately for Buffs’ coach Ricardo Patton and fans alike, this season will be the last for the talented trio, as Pelle will graduate at the end of the year and Harrison will likely turn pro.

However, there is still a lot of basketball to be played in Boulder, and with Michel Morandais in the Colorado line-up, the Buffs may very well stampede into the Dance for the first time in six seasons.

Intriguing match-ups of the week:

Wednesday, Feb. 12 – Missouri at Texas A&M
Saturday, Feb. 15 – Oklahoma at Texas Tech
Monday, Feb. 17 – Texas Tech at Texas


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