Faraway Mountaineers Adjust To Life In Big 12
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The mere thought of the Kansas Jayhawks is enough to disgust fans from Kansas State. Texas is feuding with Baylor. And there's a reason folks refer to every Oklahoma-Oklahoma State showdown as "bedlam."But poor West Virginia. The 2012-13 basketball season is less than a month away, and the newest member of the Big 12 is still struggling to identify a rival. "It's probably Iowa State," WVU coach Bob Huggins said. "They're the closest -- only 853 air miles." It may seem like an odd fit because of its location, but West Virginia couldn't be receiving a warmer welcome into the league. "Everywhere [Huggins] has been, he's won," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "And he's done it his way. You're going to have to beat them because they're not going to beat themselves. He's one of the great coaches and one of the great personalities in our game." That was evident Wednesday, when Huggins' quick wit and dry humor kept reporters cackling throughout his 15-minute news conference. Before taking the West Virginia job, Huggins spent one season in the Big 12 as Kansas State's head coach in 2006-07. At that time, the league was split into North and South divisions, and teams from one division would visit schools from the opposite division every other year. "I didn't get to go to Lubbock," Huggins deadpanned. "I almost wanted to stay just so I could go to Lubbock the next year, know what I mean?" Huggins said he's disappointed he won't have the opportunity to go against former assistant Frank Martin, who took over at Kansas State after Huggins left for Morgantown. Martin is now the head coach at South Carolina.
Isaiah Austin Ready To Shine At Baylor
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Isaiah Austin has nowhere to hide. No hoodie or ball cap can disguise this 7-foot-1 Baylor freshman.So far, Austin doesn't mind the barrage of attention. "It's cool," he said. "A lot of people ask me a lot of questions. I like meeting new people. I like meeting my fans. At Baylor, anybody who walks up to me, I want to talk to them and see them walk away saying I was pretty nice."
Kansas Determined To Keep Streak Alive
Chris Walker's Test Run Begins In Lubbock
Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg
Preseason Coaches' Poll
3. Oklahoma State
5. Kansas State
6. West Virginia
8. Iowa State
9. Texas Tech
Kansas State's Rodney McGruder
They Said It
Baylor: "I know, right now, our coaching staff, with five freshmen, we're just trying to make sure we're passing to the right guys and defensively getting to the right spot. So really, we're not worried about that yet."
-- Coach Scott Drew on postseason possibilities
Iowa State: "It's a great group of kids. The best thing about it, I don't have to coach effort with these guys. They bring it every single day, and that is a great feeling as a coach."
-- Coach Fred Hoiberg
Kansas: "I think we'll have some nights where we really look good. We'll have some nights where we don't look good at all, in part because of our inexperience. I think it will be a lot of fun."
-- Coach Bill Self
Kansas State: "I hope we can make it a rivalry. Obviously, it's a rivalry, but we hope we can compete and have a chance to really get them worried about us also."
-- Coach Bruce Weber on KU
Oklahoma: "The starting point is different now than it was a year ago. Guys have a much better idea of what the goals are, of what our expectations are."
-- Coach Lon Kruger
Oklahoma State: "I haven't seen too many players who make as many extra-effort plays as Marcus Smart. I was telling our team the other day, everybody kind of does what I tell them to do. He goes above and beyond what I tell him to do. It's just very refreshing."
-- Coach Travis Ford
Texas: "We never looked at them as being young. We've never used that term with them either -- we're this, that or whatever. We just know that we've got to coach them and teach them to compete every single day in practice."
-- Coach Rick Barnes
TCU: "Now the kids in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that have bypassed TCU in the past, they're playing in one of the premier conferences in the country, if not the premier conference. So now they can come, get a quality education and play at a high level."
-- Coach Trent Johnson
Texas Tech: "I use my moral compass in all situations. I aim before I shoot when it comes to kids."
-- Interim coach Chris Walker
West Virginia: "They asked me who our rivalry in the conference was going to be, and I said it's probably Iowa State. They're the closest. Only 853 air miles."
-- Coach Bob Huggins
Texas' Rick Barnes
Oklahoma State's Le'Bryan Nash
Preseason All-Big 12
Kansas' Jeff Withey
Big 12 Preview Content
For a Blue Ribbon breakdown of every Big 12 team, click here.
More Big 12 coverage:
• Jason King and Mitch Sherman cover Big 12 media day
• Myron Medcalf's five things he can't wait to see in the Big 12
• Fran Fraschilla answers five burning questions for the conference
• Chad Ford on the Big 12's best NBA draft prospects
• Our ESPN.com staff meets at the Big 12 roundtable
• Brennan's Three Big Things on Kansas and Baylor
• Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg chat with Kansas coach Bill Self on the ESPNU podcast
• King rates and analyzes the nonconference schedules of the Big 12
• Reggie Rankin identifies the top freshmen and potential recruits in the Big 12
• ESPN.com's Summer Shootaround preview of the Big 12
• For more Big 12 coverage in the Nation blog, click here.
TCU's Trent Johnson
Oklahoma's Romero Osby