Tuesday, January 17, 2012
3-point shot: Jamie Dixon leans on Howland
By Andy Katz
1. Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said Sunday night that his team's poor shooting that began with the Wagner loss (seven games ago) is hard to explain. Losing two expected stars -- Travon Woodall (groin) and Khem Birch (transferring) -- was also a legitimate hit. He has had many text conversations with his good friend and mentor, UCLA coach Ben Howland, who recently experienced going through a tough season.
2. I know Kansas fans are salivating to pounce on those of us who didn’t pick the Jayhawks to win the Big 12. But it was impossible to predict how KU would deal with the lack of depth (losing two key newcomers) and their overall inexperience. After losing to Davidson last month, the Jayhawks have been been stellar and have the best homecourt in the country. Kansas will be in the thick of the race with Baylor and Mizzou (two places they still have to go to this season). While SDSU’s Steve Fisher could be a favorite for national coach of the year, the Jayhawks' Bill Self is now fully in the race and possibly nudging ahead of Mizzou’s Frank Haith and Baylor’s Scott Drew with this latest surge.
3. Murray State coach Steve Prohm said he was humbled by the No. 10 ranking in the coaches poll Monday. To him, it was even more important that it came from the coaches, which he said shows tremendous respect from his peers. Prohm said staying unbeaten while juggling lineups without second-leading scorer Ivan Aska makes it even more special and says the team's ceiling will depend on how long the Racers can continue this streak.