Dogus Balbay caps comeback in Lawrence, Kansas
The Big 12 Conference is full of excitement, surprises, upsets, and some of the best basketball fans in the nation.
This conference currently has four teams in the Top 25 and have proven in many other ways that this conference competes with the Big East as the top basketball conference in the nation.
Let us now see who are the best teams in the Big 12 and why.
Jacob Pullen sums up the wildcats season with this expression
12. Iowa State Cyclones
11. Texas Tech Red Raiders
10. Oklahoma Sooners
9. Nebraska Cornhuskers
8. Oklahoma State Cowboys
7. Kansas State Wildcats - Preseason All-American Jacob Pullen and Head Coach Frank Martin have struggled greatly this season. They need to treat each game as "must-win" for the rest of the season in hopes of making the NCAA Tournament.
6. Baylor Bears - Although Baylor has a decent record, their only three conference wins came against extremely weak opponents. They had their shot to make an impact with a Big Monday game at home against Kansas, only to get blown out by 20.
After three miserable seasons under coach Jeff Bzdelik, the boys in Boulder are finally on the right track. Tad Boyle’s first season as the head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes has been a surprise to everyone.
After starting the season 11-4, this Colorado squad has knocked down, at the time, a Kansas State team that was ranked 20th and a Missouri team that was in the top ten at #8.
Led by senior Cory Higgins, this young team is 10th in the nation in scoring. They are getting consistent scoring performances by sophomore sensation Alec Burks and big man Marcus Relphorde.
After starting the conference season 3-0, the Buffaloes have lost three in a row to a mediocre Nebraska team, an embarrassing Oklahoma team, and national powerhouse Kansas.
The last team this school made the NCAA Tournament was 2003, but a trip to the big dance for this team is still a possibility.
The “Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball” is living up to expectations. Mike Anderson’s “Forty Minutes of Hell” defense is causing turmoil to all of their competition and has this program ranked eleventh in the AP Poll and thirteenth in the ESPN/USA Today Poll.
The Tigers finished their non-conference schedule 14-1 with key wins over a pesky Vanderbilt team and against the always-good Fighting Illini. Their only non-conference loss came from a heartbreaking loss in Kansas City against Austin Freeman and Georgetown.
Mizzou is ranked sixth in the nation in scoring and gets a majority of its points from junior Marcus Denmon and last year's junior college player of the year, Ricardo Ratliffe.
They are also sixth in the nation in assists, getting them from Michael Dixon and freshman phenom Phil Pressey. With losses to Colorado and Texas A&M, the Tigers started conference play 1-2. Then the Tigers blew out both Kansas State and Iowa State.
This Saturday the Tigers travel to Austin and play one of their biggest games of the year against the Longhorns. The Tigers have made the NCAA Tournament the past two years, and look for them to make another deep run like they did in 2009.
Texas A&M has been one of the biggest surprises in college hoops. Head coach Mark Turgeon has been able to have his team outsmart and outplay their competition.
With a record of 17-2, the only two games the Aggies lost was a nail-biter to Boston College and a blowout against the Longhorns. This team is currently ranked 13th in the AP Poll and 11th in the ESPN/USA Poll.
Khris Middleton and David Loubeau are leading this team further up the standings. The most shocking thing about this team is that they are ranked 101st in the nation in scoring and 109th in the nation shooting from the field.
How does a team that averages 72.6 points a game and shoot 45 percent from the field keep winning? That seems to be the question many people are asking, and no one can figure out an answer.
The Aggies have made the big dance five times in a row and look for them to make a run in this year’s tournament.
Marcus and Markieff Morris
The Kansas Jayhawks are one of the greatest teams in the country. Bill Self has his Jayhawks beating up on everyone and this team has a record of 19-1. The Jayhawks are currently ranked sixth in both the AP and the ESPN/USA Today Polls.
The Jayhawks are the complete package. They have a great coaching staff, two of the best big men in the nation (and they also happen to be twins), a terrific back court, and players that can score anywhere on the floor.
Many people, including myself, did not think this team from Lawrence was going to be able to do what they have done so well in the past without key players like Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins. Well, we were wrong.
Juniors Marcus and Markieff Morris are dominating the paint and freshman Josh Selby is taking college basketball by storm. The Jayhawks are ninth in the nation in scoring, fifth in assists per game, and the best shooting team from the field in the country.
Bill Self’s team would be undefeated, however, they blew a 12-point halftime lead against the Longhorns. That game snapped the nations longest home game-winning streak.
Don’t even for a second think the loss to Texas is going to hurt this team. Look for that loss to teach the Jayhawks a lesson that will help the Jayhawks in the long run.
The Jayhawks have made the NCAA Tournament 21 seasons in a row, and I don’t see the 2008 National Champs stopping that streak for a long time.
The Texas Longhorns have played one of the hardest schedules in all of NCAA Basketball, and at the same time, they find themselves 17-3 and ranked seventh in the AP Poll and eighth in the ESPN/USA Today Poll.
Head Coach Rick Barnes has his team out-rebounding everyone and finding ways to win each game. The Longhorns have beaten very good teams in Illinois, North Carolina, Michigan State, Texas A&M, and Kansas.
The only three losses this team has are against highly ranked Pittsburgh, at USC, and against another highly ranked Connecticut Huskies.
Sophomore guard Jordan Hamilton is leading the team in scoring; averaging 19.5 points per game, and Tristan Thompson is leading the Longhorns in rebounding.
Rebounding seems to be the key to the Longhorns success by being ranked fifth in the nation in rebounding. After coming back to beat Kansas at the Phog, Texas came back strong and blew out Oklahoma State in Stillwater.
Texas gets a tough game at home when they host the Missouri Tigers on Saturday. The Longhorns have danced in the postseason 12 times in a row.
At this pace, they might hook themselves a date in the big dance, which so happens to be played in, you guess it, Texas.
Thanks for reading.