College Basketball Nation: Romero Osby

Conference Power Rankings: Big 12

March, 8, 2013
3/08/13
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The final game of the regular season will also be the most important one for Kansas and Kansas State. The Jayhawks can clinch at least a share of their ninth straight Big 12 title by defeating Baylor in Waco. And Kansas State can claim at least a share of the conference championship for the first time since 1977 by beating Oklahoma State in Stillwater. A loss by K-State would give KU the outright title, and vice versa. The stakes couldn’t be any higher for both teams. Here is the final edition of the Big 12 power rankings.

1. Kansas. Ben McLemore may be a better NBA prospect, but center Jeff Withey has been the MVP of this team. He ranks first in the nation among active players in blocks with four swats per game. On the season he's averaging 13.8 points and 8.6 rebounds. But in his past eight games those numbers have risen to 16.3 and 9.5, respectively.

2. Kansas State. Just as Withey is the clear choice (at least in my opinion) for league MVP honors, the same can be said about Bruce Weber for Big 12 Coach of the Year. The Wildcats haven't lost since falling to Kansas in Lawrence on Feb. 11. And they're one of the few ranked teams that has gone the entire season without being upset. KSU's losses are against Michigan, Gonzaga, Kansas (twice) and Iowa State (on the road).

3. Oklahoma State. Wednesday's loss at Iowa State marked just the second defeat in 12 games for Travis Ford's squad. The Cowboys have a chance to pick up a good résumé win this weekend when they host Kansas State in Stillwater. K-State defeated OSU, 73-67, in Manhattan on Jan. 5. Marcus Smart should be named freshman of the year, both in the Big 12 and nationally.

4. Oklahoma. Lon Kruger isn't receiving nearly enough credit for the quick turnaround that has taken place in Norman. The Sooners have won six of their past eight games, and both of the defeats have come in overtime. Forward Romero Osby is one of the nation's most underrated players. He averages 15.6 points and seven rebounds per game.

5. Iowa State. Not many leagues in the country boast a fifth-place team as good as the Cyclones, who lost two overtime games to Kansas. It's a shame this team couldn't perform better on the road. Fred Hoiberg's squad is better than a No. 10 or 11 seed in the NCAA tournament. Someone is going to cringe on Selection Sunday when they see themselves matched against Iowa State in the first round.

6. Texas. Texas is 4-3 since Myck Kabongo returned from his 23-game suspension, and three of those wins are against teams (Iowa State, Oklahoma and Baylor) ranked ahead of the Longhorns in the Big 12 standings. Another victory is possible in Saturday's regular-season finale against Texas Tech in Lubbock.

7. Baylor. The Bears' NCAA tournament hopes are all but gone following back-to-back losses to Kansas State and Texas. Even if Baylor shocks the world and beats Kansas on Saturday, it will still need to win some games in the Big 12 tournament to make the field. It's amazing how far the Bears have fallen since going 30-8 and reaching the Elite Eight last season. Of course, Kentucky won the NCAA title last spring and probably won't make the NCAA tournament this year, either. So the Bears aren't alone.

8. West Virginia. Bob Huggins' team has dropped six of its past seven games, and all but one of the defeats has been by double figures. Not a single player averages double figures in scoring, and the leading rebounder snares just 5.9 boards per contest. Needless to say, West Virginia's inaugural season in the Big 12 has not been pretty.

9. Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have won just three conference games -- and two of the victories are against TCU. Interim coach Chris Walker has done a nice job of getting the undermanned Red Raiders to play hard most of the time. Still, Texas Tech needs an experienced head coach to turn this program around. One person who needs to be considered is Middle Tennessee State's Kermit Davis, who has done wonders in Murfreesboro.

10. TCU. The season can't end quickly enough for Trent Johnson and the Horned Frogs, who actually showed some positive signs in Tuesday's 79-68 loss at Kansas State. Kyan Anderson scored 29 points on 10-of-15 shooting.

Video: Romero Osby on upset of Kansas

February, 9, 2013
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Oklahoma forward Romero Osby discusses the Sooners' 72-66 victory over No. 5 Kansas, the Jayhawks' third consecutive loss.

Conference Power Rankings: Big 12

January, 25, 2013
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Kansas took a huge step toward claiming its ninth straight Big 12 title by defeating Kansas State 59-55 Tuesday in Manhattan. The Jayhawks won't face a more difficult road environment all season. The rest of the league is as balanced as any conference in the country. Heck, even rebuilding Texas Tech forced its way into the mix Wednesday with a mammoth upset of Iowa State, which was No. 2 in these rankings last week. Here is the latest list.

1. Kansas. The Jayhawks' defense has been excellent lately, allowing an average of just 51 points in its past four victories. Offensively, though, Kansas is averaging only 58.5 points in that span. Ben McLemore (16.1 points per game) has been the one constant.

2. Kansas State. The Wildcats are maximizing their potential under first-year coach Bruce Weber, who could be among several candidates for national coach of the year if K-State finishes second in the league. Weber's squad faces Iowa State on Saturday in Ames, where KSU had won five straight before a two-point loss last season.

3. Baylor. Led by Pierre Jackson and Isaiah Austin, the Bears got back on track Monday by defeating a talented Oklahoma State team 64-54 in Waco. Baylor's past four Big 12 opponents are averaging 50.8 points. Jackson is scoring a Big 12-best 18.6 points but also averages 3.3 turnovers.

4. Oklahoma. Forward Romero Osby is blossoming into one of the top players in the league. The forward had 29 points and eight rebounds in Monday's win over Texas and is averaging 19.2 points and 7.2 rebounds in his past five games. He'll need to come up huge Saturday at Kansas.

5. Iowa State. Wednesday's loss at Texas Tech was one of the worst by any Division I team this season. The Cyclones scored a season-low 51 points and shot 35.3 percent against one of the Big 12's worst teams. They were also outrebounded. With K-State coming to town Saturday, Fred Hoiberg's squad had better turn things around in a hurry.

6. Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have lost four of their past six games, and their only two Big 12 wins are against TCU and Texas Tech. Marcus Smart is shooting just 40 percent from the field, 30 percent from 3-point range and is averaging three turnovers per contest. Crucial home games against West Virginia and Iowa State are next.

7. West Virginia. The Mountaineers' three Big 12 losses have come by a combined 13 points. Bob Huggins' squad defeated TCU by 21 points Wednesday, but five days earlier it was drubbed by 21 points by a mediocre Purdue squad in a nonconference game. A tough stretch lies ahead with a game at Oklahoma State (Saturday) and a home contest against Kansas (Tuesday).

8. Texas. Rick Barnes' team fell to 0-5 following a hard-fought 73-67 loss to Oklahoma on Monday in Norman. Leading rebounder Jonathan Holmes broke his hand in that game and will miss the next three to six weeks. Texas' 0-5 Big 12 record marks its worst start in conference play since 1976.

9. Texas Tech. Freshman point guard Josh Gray scored a career-high 16 points and had four assists in Wednesday's 56-51 upset of Iowa State in Lubbock. At 2-4 in league play, Texas Tech has already doubled last season's Big 12 win total. Another victory could come Saturday against last-place Texas in Austin.

10. TCU. The Horned Frogs fell to 0-6 in Big 12 play following Wednesday's 21-point loss at West Virginia. Trent Johnson's injury-plagued squad probably won't win a conference game, although it hosts a Baylor team Saturday that it led at halftime in Waco just two weeks ago.

Numbers to Know: Monday recap

January, 22, 2013
1/22/13
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Player of the Night - Romero Osby, Oklahoma
Osby scored a career-high 29 points to lead the Sooners to a 73-67 win over Texas. During one stretch, he scored 21 of Oklahoma’s 33 points. He joins Blake Griffin and Eduardo Najera as the only Sooners with 29 points, eight rebounds and three steals in a game over the past 15 seasons. Meanwhile, Texas is 0-5 in Big 12 play, its worst conference start since 1976.

Stat Sheet Stuffers - Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson, Baylor
Both Austin (10-14-5) and Jefferson (11-11-6) finished with at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in Baylor’s 64-54 win over Oklahoma State. It’s just the second time in Big 12 history that teammates have done that. Back in 2000, Chris Mihm and Chris Owens both had 10-10-5 games in a blowout of Colorado.

Freshman of the Night - R.J. Hunter, Georgia State
Hunter scored a career-high 27 points and had a pivotal block, as Georgia State toppled Towson 71-69. The son of head coach Ron Hunter, R.J. ranks eighth in the nation among freshmen at 16.2 ppg.

Scorer of the Night - Lovell Cook, New Orleans
Isaac Mack had the game-winner, but it was Cook’s career-high 32 points that led New Orleans to a 96-94 triple-overtime win over NJIT. That included 13 points during the overtime periods. It was the Privateers' first triple-overtime win since 1990.

Bench Player of the Night - Patrick Cole, Coppin State
Cole came off the bench to score a career-high 29 points in the Eagles’ 67-65 overtime win at Hampton. That’s the most points off the bench for a freshman against a Division I opponent this season.

Conference Power Rankings: Big 12

January, 18, 2013
1/18/13
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Kansas State has moved up a spot in this week's Big 12 power rankings -- and the Wildcats could be even higher by this time next week if they capitalize on two huge opportunities in the coming days. K-State's next two games are against Oklahoma and Kansas -- both at home. The Sooners and Jayhawks are the only schools in the Big 12 besides K-State that have yet to lose a league game. Should be a fun week. Here are the latest rankings.

1. Kansas. The Jayhawks' offense has sputtered a bit lately, but defensively Bill Self's squad has been stout. The Jayhawks held Baylor to 44 points on 23.2 percent shooting Monday. Leading scorer Ben McLemore injured his ankle but is expected to play against Texas on Saturday in Austin.

2. Iowa State. After nearly upsetting KU in Lawrence nine days ago, Iowa State has defeated Texas by 20 points and staved off a late rally by West Virginia. The Cyclones' next two games are road tilts against the league's worst two teams: TCU and Texas Tech.

3. Kansas State. No other player in the Big 12 has been as good as Rodney McGruder since the beginning of conference play. The senior is averaging 22 points per game against Big 12 opponents and is shooting 54 percent from the field. Center Jordan Henriquez has given his team a nice boost off the bench in recent weeks.

4. Baylor. The Bears can't be as bad as they looked against Kansas on Monday, can they? Baylor is in for a long Big 12 season if it doesn't show more discipline and start taking better shots. Baylor plays a nonconference game against Hardin-Simmons on Saturday before hosting Oklahoma State in a crucial contest Monday night.

5. Oklahoma. The Sooners hit the jackpot by hiring Lon Kruger. Oklahoma is one of the league's three remaining undefeated teams along with Kansas and K-State. Romero Osby leads the team in points (13.7) and rebounds (6.3). Saturday's game at K-State is huge for both teams. Four of OU's next six games are on the road.

6. Oklahoma State. By the time they take the court for Saturday's game against Texas Tech, the Cowboys will have had a week to think about last weekend's 77-68 loss to rival Oklahoma in Norman. Marcus Smart has shown great leadership, but he's shooting just 41.3 percent from the field and 29.7 percent from 3-point range.

7. West Virginia. The Mountaineers haven't lived up to their expectations, but they certainly appear to be getting better, especially in the toughness department. Bob Huggins' squad erased an 18-point second-half deficit against Iowa State but lost when Cyclones forward Georges Niang hit a layup with 2.5 seconds remaining. WVU is a threat to beat anyone in the conference.

8. Texas. The Longhorns have lost four of their past five games, including two in overtime. With Kansas visiting this weekend, things probably won't get better soon. Sheldon McClellan played just one minute in last weekend's 20-point loss to Iowa State as coach Rick Barnes, displeased with McClellan's effort, sent the team's leading scorer a message.

9. Texas Tech. Chris Walker's squad has lost its past three Big 12 games by an average of 22 points. Jaye Crockett leads the team in points (13.8) and rebounds (8.3). Texas Tech's next two games (at Oklahoma State on Saturday and at home against Iowa State on Wednesday) will be tough. But a Jan. 26 tilt at Texas could be interesting.

10. TCU. The Horned Frogs led Baylor at halftime Saturday before losing 51-40. Trent Johnson's squad simply doesn't have the personnel to compete with major college schools. No one would be surprised if TCU finished 0-18 in league play.

Conference Power Rankings: Big 12

December, 7, 2012
12/07/12
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Last season, the Pac-12 was the toughest conference in the country to power-rank each week. This season, that honor falls on the Big 12. Other than Kansas, the league is filled with mediocre teams that -- at least for now -- don’t appear to have much potential for a deep run in March. But hey, on the positive side, the parity will make for some close, exciting games once Big 12 play begins in January. Here is how the conference looks thus far.

1. Kansas. The Jayhawks clearly have separated themselves from the rest of the Big 12, yet even Bill Self will admit his squad hasn’t looked all that great. Chemistry and depth are issues in the backcourt, and Kansas still is searching for a leader. Saturday’s home game against Colorado is scary.

2. Iowa State. As I mentioned, ranking the Big 12 is a crapshoot at this point, but Iowa State is 6-2 with losses against a pair of ranked teams (Cincinnati and UNLV). The Cyclones boast plenty of weapons with Will Clyburn, Korie Lucious, Tyrus McGee, Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang. And they’ve got a great coach. Good enough for me.

3. Oklahoma State. I know Virginia Tech has surprised some people, but the Cowboys still shouldn’t have lost to the Hokies by double figures last week in Blacksburg. Travis Ford’s team is too talented to let that happen. Oklahoma State deserves credit, however, for bouncing back with a nice effort in Wednesday’ 61-49 home victory over South Florida.

4. Kansas State. Rodney McGruder appears to have snapped out of his funk and is averaging 19 points in his past two games. Kansas State has played just one good team (Michigan) and lost handily. It’s tough to get a read on the Wildcats at this point, but they’re definitely one of the more experienced squads in the conference.

5. Oklahoma. Lon Kruger has made the Sooners relevant again. Oklahoma competed its tail off before losing to Arkansas 81-78 in a difficult road environment Tuesday. Romero Osby is averaging a team-high 12.5 points per game for the Sooners, who are off until Dec. 15.

6. Baylor. It seems unheard of for a team to beat Kentucky in Lexington and then drop four spots in the power rankings. But the Bears can’t be trusted. Not yet, at least. Considering its depth and talent, Baylor’s home losses to College of Charleston and Northwestern were two of the worst setbacks by any Division I team all season. And it easily could have lost to downtrodden Boston College. There’s no excuse for this team to be playing so sloppily and uninspired.

7. West Virginia. The Mountaineers appear to be on an upswing following Wednesday’s victory over a solid Marshall team, although the victory was marred by a near-brawl that led to the ejections of four WVU players for leaving the bench. Bob Huggins’ squad could gain even more momentum by beating undefeated Virginia Tech on Saturday.

8. Texas. As if a 12-point loss to Division II Chaminade wasn’t embarrassing enough, the Longhorns scored a measly 41 points in Tuesday’s setback against Georgetown in the Jimmy V Classic. Even the return of point guard Myck Kabongo might not be enough to save Rick Barnes’ team, which plays UCLA on Saturday in Houston.

9. Texas Tech. The Red Raiders finally played a quality opponent last week and, predictably, got exposed in an 85-57 loss to Arizona. Still, there are reasons for optimism in Lubbock. Guard Josh Gray is averaging three steals, and Jaye Crockett is scoring 15.3 points per game. This team will win some Big 12 games, and not just against TCU.

10. TCU. The Horned Frogs lost to Houston on Tuesday and will be looking to bounce back at Tulsa on Saturday. Coach Trent Johnson is doing well on the recruiting trail but simply lacks the personnel to win many games during his first season in Fort Worth.

Conference power rankings: Big 12

January, 23, 2012
1/23/12
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Here are this week’s Big 12 power rankings:

1. Kansas: Bill Self said Saturday’s 69-66 victory at Texas was his team’s best win of the season. Not because the Jayhawks played particularly well against the struggling Longhorns, but because they found a way to grind out a victory in a tough road environment. Kansas is 36-7 in Big 12 road games in the past five-plus seasons.

2. Missouri: Ricardo Ratliffe scored 27 points in Saturday’s 89-88 win at Baylor, but many of those came on easy baskets against the Bears’ soft interior defense. The bigger story was the performance of point guard Phil Pressey, who had 18 points, seven assists and six steals in the Tigers’ most impressive victory of the season.

3. Baylor: Saturday’s 89-88 loss to Missouri was more lopsided than the final score indicates. The Bears were outscored 14-0 on second-chance points in the first half, when they were out-toughed and out-hustled in the paint by the undersized Tigers. The Bears trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half. Perry Jones III has a nagging ankle injury that has limited his performance the past two games.

4. Iowa State: Success in its next three games (at Texas and at home against Kansas and K-State) would go a long way toward improving the NCAA tournament hopes of a Cyclones team that is 14-5 overall and 4-2 in league play. Juco transfer Tyrus McGee had six 3-pointers in a 20-point effort in Saturday’s win at Texas Tech.

5. Kansas State: The Wildcats have won their last two games (against Texas and Oklahoma State), but their free-throw shooting has been abysmal. Frank Martin’s squad has made just 44 of its last 79 attempts from the foul stripe (55.7 percent). Center Jordan Henriquez has been suspended indefinitely.

6. Texas: The Longhorns are improving, but it hasn’t shown up in the win column. Texas’ last two losses (to K-State and Kansas) have come by a combined seven points. Freshman guard Sheldon McClellan is averaging 15 points in his last two games.

7. Texas A&M: Billy Kennedy’s team got a huge confidence boost when it defeated Oklahoma in overtime Saturday in College Station. It may be short-lived. Three of the Aggies’ next four games are against Kansas, Baylor and Kansas State. Khris Middleton, who is regarded as Texas A&M’s top player, missed most of Saturday’s game after bumping knees with a teammate and is questionable for Monday’s game at Kansas.

8. Oklahoma: The Sooners have a huge chance to regain some momentum when they host Baylor on Tuesday. Forward Romero Osby is averaging 17.3 points in his last three games, but he may have trouble against the Bears’ size and length. Upcoming road games at Kansas State (Saturday) and Kansas (Feb. 1) won’t be easy.

9. Oklahoma State: The undermanned Cowboys turned in an impressive performance before losing at Iowa State on a buzzer-beater last week. Saturday they fell at home to Kansas State for their third straight loss. Missouri visits Stillwater on Wednesday. The Cowboys are 9-10 overall.

10. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are 0-6 in Big 12 play, and their losses have come by an average of 17 points. Billy Gillispie’s squad averages just 63.1 points per game. The biggest question the rest of the way will be whether Texas Tech can get a conference win. Its best chance may be at home against Oklahoma State on Jan. 31.

Conference Power Rankings: Big 12

January, 2, 2012
1/02/12
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Not much has changed in this week’s Big 12 power rankings. But with each school beginning conference play, next week’s list could look quite a bit different. Be sure to check back.

1. Baylor: The Bears are off to their best start in school history at 13-0, and no one can say they accomplished the feat because of a weak schedule. Baylor touts wins against five top-50 teams, with the most recent triumph coming in a two-point victory Wednesday against Mississippi State. The Bears open Big 12 play Monday against struggling Texas A&M in Waco.

2. Missouri: The Tigers had to come from behind in the final two minutes Friday to beat an Old Dominion team with a 6-7 record. Still, all road wins are big, and the close win against the Monarchs will help the Tigers down the road. Missouri faces a pesky, well-coached Oklahoma squad in Tuesday’s conference opener in Columbia.

3. Kansas State: The Wildcats have won six in a row since an overtime loss to West Virginia on Dec. 8. But tough times could lie ahead. Kansas State opens Big 12 play at Kansas on Wednesday before hosting Missouri and Baylor. Then comes a tough road game at Oklahoma. Does any school in the country have a tougher league-opening stretch than the Wildcats?

4. Kansas: An eighth straight Big 12 title isn’t out of the question -- especially if forward Thomas Robinson continues the dominance he displayed in Saturday’s win over North Dakota (30 points, 21 rebounds). But the Jayhawks’ bench continues to struggle, as Connor Teahan was the only non-starter to score against the Fighting Sioux.

5. Texas: J’Covan Brown is averaging 19 points for a team that got back on the winning track Saturday against Rice. The Longhorns could establish a ton of momentum by beating Iowa State on the road in Wednesday’s Big 12 opener, especially considering they have what should be two home wins after that against Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. A 3-0 start is definitely possible.

6. Oklahoma: The Sooners dropped their second game of the season Thursday when they squandered a 12-point lead with six minutes remaining in a 56-55 loss at Cincinnati. Still, with a 10-2 record, Oklahoma has been the league’s biggest surprise thus far. Mississippi State transfer Romero Osby is averaging 9.1 rebounds for a team that opens Big 12 play Tuesday at Missouri.

7. Iowa State: The Cyclones survived a scare Saturday before pulling off a two-point home win against Mississippi Valley State. But it should be noted that leading scorer Royce White (flu-like symptoms) played just three minutes. Iowa State has been mildly disappointing thus far. The team appears to lack chemistry.

8. Texas A&M: Highly touted freshman Jamal Branch announced last week that he was leaving the team, which certainly wasn’t a good thing for an already struggling program. The Aggies had gone nine straight games without breaking the 70-point barrier before Saturday’s 76-58 win over Arkansas Tech.

9. Oklahoma State: This team is bad. The Cowboys needed double overtime to defeat SMU in Dallas last week before suffering a home loss to Virginia Tech on New Year’s Eve, their second to the Hokies this season. It will be interesting to see what Oklahoma State’s administration decides to do with fourth-year coach Travis Ford if things don’t get better.

10. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders have won four of their past six games and are steadily getting better. They’re playing weak competition, sure. But that’s just what this rebuilding program needs as new coach Billy Gillispie attempts to instill discipline and confidence in his players. Wednesday’s game at Oklahoma State will be interesting.

76 preview: Saint Louis vs. Oklahoma

November, 27, 2011
11/27/11
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Breaking down the 76 Classic final:

Saint Louis was supposed to be a contender for the 76 Classic final.

Oklahoma was not. But New Mexico never got out of the first round against Santa Clara to even face the Sooners.

The Billikens were projected to be an Atlantic 10 title contender. Oklahoma wasn’t supposed to be close to being in contention in the Big 12.

Maybe the Sooners will now.

The 76 Classic didn’t have a stellar field, but the winner of Sunday night’s final between Saint Louis and Oklahoma at the Anaheim Convention Center will have significant momentum going forward.

SLU already made its mark on this young season with a huge home win against Washington. Dispatching a rebuilding Villanova -- which is sure to be in the mix somewhere in the Big East -- elevates the SLU resume, too.

Oklahoma took down a subpar Washington State and a middling Santa Clara out of the WCC.

Saint Louis should win. The Billikens should be a Top 25 team.

But if Lon Kruger’s Oklahoma team continues this upward trajectory, there is plenty of room for the Sooners to make a move in the Big 12. Missouri is the class of the league so far this season, with Baylor and Kansas chasing the Tigers. Texas A&M will be in the mix as well. Texas is young. Oklahoma State hasn’t found itself yet. And it’s hard to tell what to make of Kansas State or Iowa State just yet. Oklahoma has room to grow and can make a play for a top-five finish.

Oklahoma is playing much better defense than it did a year ago. The Sooners have an emerging star in junior Steven Pledger, who is averaging 20 points a game and will be a chore to shut down for the Billikens. Juniors Romero Osby (11.5 ppg, 9 rpg) and Andrew Fitzgerald (9.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg) have excelled early in the season.

But the Sooners haven’t faced a defense like Saint Louis'. The Billikens, as is the norm with a Rick Majerus-coached team, have been stingy. Opponents are averaging just 52.4 points a game against the Billkens. SLU scored 24 points off 12 Villanova turnovers and forced Boston College to turn the ball over 20 times Thursday. Washington, which likes to run, scored 23 points fewer than its average. And in the season opener, Tennessee State scored a meager 37 points against SLU.

The diversity of scorers in Jordair Jett (how can you not like that name?), Cody Ellis, Brian Conklin and Kwamain Mitchell give SLU a different look. The Billikens made 14 3-pointers in their win against Villanova.

Kruger has made his mark in Norman in a short amount of time. He’s an experienced coach who has excelled no matter where he has coached. He won the 76 Classic a year ago while at UNLV. Majerus was a few minutes away from a national championship at Utah in 1998. He has gone through quite a personal trial with his health and in rebuilding this once-proud program.

Beat Oklahoma, win the 76 Classic and the Billikens will be ranked. But that’s not all. SLU will be even more of a threat to challenge Xavier and Temple for the A-10 title and make the NCAA tournament.

It is only November. But the impression SLU is leaving in California is one that can’t be ignored. And for the Big 12, Oklahoma’s awakening is also a reason to pay attention to the Sooners when there was no reason to consider them a factor a month ago.

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