Can Shorthanded Jayhawks Extend Streak?
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas was picked to share the Big 12 regular-season title with Texas A&M, but those votes were tallied before the Jayhawks were informed that two key newcomers, Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor, would be ineligible.Dismissing that news would be a major mistake and should probably knock KU from its co-favorite perch. That's not the media making that statement or any other Big 12 coach. That comes from Kansas coach Bill Self. "I don't know how anybody could pick us after this decision," said Self during Big 12 media day Thursday. "I don't know. In this particular case it may be out of respect. We've been picked to win the league several times and had a nice little run. But to me the team to pick is Baylor. They have arguably the best front line in the country, and certainly the longest, with that 2-3 zone." The reason Self doesn't mind taking the Jayhawks down a notch is because of McLemore. "Ask Thomas [Robinson] and Tyshawn [Taylor] and they'll all tell you that the best pro prospect on the team was Ben," Self said. "That's a big loss. The one thing about it is that he's doing great in school. He's doing well this fall. He's hungry and he'll have something to prove, along with Jamari. We respectfully disagree [with the academic-ineligibility decision], but it is what it is and we'll deal with it."
The Talent Is Certainly In Place At Baylor
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- First they bombarded his Twitter account. Then they hit him up on Facebook and message boards. Hundreds of times after he announced his college intentions, people had the same question for freshman Quincy Miller.Why Baylor? "Everyone was like, 'Why would you want to go there?'" said Miller, a consensus top-10 recruit. "It really made me mad, because Baylor is a great place, a great school. We have a chance to do something special." Baylor turned some heads when it reached the Elite Eight two years ago. But this season's Bears could accomplish something even more significant by capturing the program's first conference title since 1950.
Talented as his team may be, head coach Scott Drew disagrees with the pundits who have pegged his team to win the league."Until someone beats Kansas, they should be picked," Drew said. The Jayhawks have won or shared the last seven Big 12 titles, but for the first time in his tenure, Bill Self's squad lacks depth and doesn't boast nearly as much talent as the Bears, who have two players -- Miller and forward Perry Jones -- who are projected to be top-10 selections in next summer's NBA draft. With KU, Texas and some of the league's other traditional powers in various stages of rebuilding, the time seems ideal for Baylor to finish at the top of the heap.
Can Transfer U Work At Iowa State?
Texas A&M's Khris Middleton
Kansas coach Bill Self
They Said It
Baylor: "[Boston College transfer guard] Brady Heslip is 6-2 and lost 24 pounds of fat. His stroke is the same, but now he can guard a bit. He's going to help us. We've got a lot of options now."
-- Coach Scott Drew
Iowa State: "[Royce White] is a very versatile player. He's unselfish. His best quality is as a passer. He's a good scorer and he'll have shooters around him in Scott Christopherson and Chris Allen."
-- Coach Fred Hoiberg
Kansas: "We've got eight guys on scholarship and we need all of them. I feel really good about our returning guys. Our new guys should have a huge impact. They'll have to step up."
-- Coach Bill Self
Kansas State: "Angel Rodriguez is a feisty, competitive kid. He's got the making of a point guard. When you walk into a practice you can tell who the point guards are, and when you walk into our practice you can tell Angel and Will Spradling are our point guards."
-- Coach Frank Martin
Missouri: "Ricardo Ratliffe has been awesome. He's been so assertive and he's been aggressive. I think Ricardo's numbers [weren't as good as they could've been] because he didn't get to the free throw line enough, and part of that was he didn't understand how to attack."
-- Coach Frank Haith
Oklahoma: "Andrew Fitzgerald is a guy who can score, get separation and face up. He knows how to hit the 17-footer and he's got a good feel for the game. He can get his shot, and he'll work hard every day."
-- Coach Lon Kruger
Oklahoma State: "Talent is the right word for [LeBryan Nash]. He's a very, very talented player. But like most freshmen, he has to learn how long he has to play and at both ends of the court. He's getting better each and every day. I'm excited for the moment that it becomes habit at both ends of the court. He's a great kid who has an enormous amount of talent."
-- Coach Travis Ford
Texas: "[Myck Kabongo] has a tremendous work ethic and love of the game. He'll go through growing pains. But he really wants to be good at this game. He's got a tremendous attitude. He's got enough guys around him. There are a lot of new players, but Myck can handle it."
-- Coach Rick Barnes
Texas A&M: "I think you kind of reset [expectations] every year. Personally, our expectation is to be really good again.
We have built a program that has been really consistent, we've won a lot of games every year, and we expect to do it again this year. We realize there are good teams in our league, but we expect to have another great year."
-- Assistant coach Glynn Cyprien
Texas Tech: "We've got 10 new guys. I know the staples of this team will be defensively and toughness and chemistry. We have to become a really good rebounding team. We've got to do things offensively through our defense. I'm really excited about this team even though there are a lot of unknowns."
-- Coach Billy Gillispie
Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie
Baylor's Perry Jones III
Big 12 Preview Content
For a Blue Ribbon breakdown of every Big 12 team, click here.
More Big 12 coverage:
• Jason King with Five Things I Can't Wait To See in the Big 12
• Fran Fraschilla examines five burning questions in the league.
• Andy Katz with 10 observations from KC
• King on how Texas is counting on the mature Myck Kabongo to lead an extremely young team
• Katz takes a team-by-team look at the league's nonconference schedules
• Katz's Daily Word looks into the future of the Big 12 and what the current basketball coaches would like to see
• John Stovall with a look at the recruiting picture in the conference
• Chad Ford analyzes the top draft prospects in the Big 12
• Video: Baylor coach Scott Drew talks about both of his parents being diagnosed with cancer
• New Faces, New Places: Profiles of Oklahoma's Lon Kruger, Texas A&M's Billy Kennedy, Texas Tech's Billy Gillispie and Missouri's Frank Haith (Video interview of Haith can be found here)
• Eamonn Brennan recaps a wild offseason in the conference
• Summer Buzz series: Brennan takes an in-depth look at Kansas, Baylor and Texas
• For more Big 12 coverage in the Nation blog, click here.
Kansas State coach Frank Martin
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg
Texas coach Rick Barnes