Long Distance Jayhawk

2014-15 Big XII Preview, Part 1 – There Will Be… by longdistancejayhawk
Googling Big 12 Conference brought up this gem. I'm personally super happy we ended up as Otto.

Googling Big 12 Conference brought up this gem. I’m personally super happy we ended up as Otto.

As I’m writing this, there’s snow falling in New York. We’re getting to that time of year when outside is miserable, inside is a little less so, and the basketball starts to really matter1. These are the games where you bundle up, as much to protect from the cold as to protect from the rivalries renewed and the potential blood baths on the horizon. Most years, hell, ten in a row, God’s Faithful have gone into this part of the slog with high expectations and a true belief that we can win the whole league. There’s certainly doubt, but if pressed on the issue, we all know that we would bet good money on Kansas to take the conference crown.

That confidence…where did it go?

The absence of a clearly dominant Kansas squad this season is what makes this year’s Big XII X XII conference slate so intriguing. We aren’t the clear favorite to win it all, though we’re not out of the conversation. Texas, a preseason darling to take the title, is lurking even if they haven’t made a strong, definitive statement on the issue yet. The Cyclones are frisky, playing a type of basketball that I can only describe as Anti-B1G. Meanwhile, the Bears aren’t hibernating and Oklahoma looms as a fringe contender following an impressive season last year. Yet none of these teams have an unblemished record, an achievement unique to the Horned Frogs coming into conference play.

Think about it. The Big XII X XII plays a round robin schedule, two games against each opponent. No one in this conference is a stiff, even poor K-State who barely made it .500 to start league play. There will be blood. There will be hurt feelings, tough games, bad losses, and glorious beatdowns. Don’t let anyone tell you that so-and-so upset so-and-so in this conference. Everyone could beat everyone. There are no upset when the bottom of the league is barely worse than the middle which is barely worse than the top.

This is going to be fun. Bloody, but definitely fun.


  1. TCU – 13-0
  2. West Virginia – 12-1
  3. Baylor – 11-1
  4. Texas – 11-2
  5. Kansas – 11-2
  6. Iowa State – 10-2
  7. Oklahoma State – 10-2
  8. Texas Tech – 10-3
  9. Oklahoma – 9-3
  10. Kansas State – 7-6

Shockingly, we’re not at the top or near it. Sixth is okay. Let’s play the vulture card, hovering in striking distance before swooping down and ripping through this conference one more time. Also, TCU? Really? Congrats, Trent. You’ve certainly turned that sinking ship around.

Now that we know where we stand, let’s get into the rankings. Each of these selections is mine and mine alone. I spent a full day looking at each team, examining their strengths, weaknesses, what got them here. Then, I picked every single matchup for every single team to come up with their conference record. And this…this is what came of all that work.

Also, I’ve decided that each team will be given an official Emoji-nal State this year. This was spurred by a joke you’ll read in like 10 minutes about TCU. Thanks to Jess for taking the time to read all these team profiles and help with the Emoji-nal States.

#10 – Texas Tech Red Raiders

Last Season’s Shame: 14-18 (6-12) – First year of Tubby Smith ends with Tubby’s first losing season as a head coach. I’m pretty sure we can all agree that the vodka-fueled dumpster fire Gillespie left in his wake is the real reason for this.
Emoji-nal State:
Texas Tech
Non-Conference Record:
Projected Conference Record: 2-16 
Projected Total:

Ranked Game Record: 0-03
Baller Wins:
Absolutely none. Seriously, look at their schedule. They’ve lost to pretty much any team that you might have heard of, even if it’s because they’re a football school.
Brutal Losses: 
Not to pass judgement on the Missouri Valley Conference here, but an 18-point shellacking at the hands of Loyola University Chicago has to qualify. I have a friend who went there because they have a solid stage production program, so you know they’ve got the finger on the pulse of hoops recruiting.

I know that, looking at the record alone, the Red Raiders look like a strong team. But as you’ll see with pretty much all of these previews, everyone in the Big XII X XII is crushing their way into the conference slate. I mean, K-State (in a minute, I promise) is the worst team in the league right now and even they haven’t managed to completely play their way out of the tournament quite yet. Neither have the Red Raiders, but it’s only a matter of time before the buzzsaw of a stacked league knocks them back to their rightful place in the conference standings.

I honestly wanted to award the continuity of the Tubby Smith era4 and give them a couple of extra wins just for having a competent coach who didn’t get run out of town after a single season (Billy Gillespie). Or the nepotism selection from hell (Pat Knight). I just couldn’t do it. They’ve played mediocre basketball so far this season against some truly laughable opponents. They just can’t be as good as their record here. Once they get into league play and have to go two-fer against the top…hell, even the middle…of this conference, they’re going to be in for a rude awakening and a fun time watching the tournament from Buffalo Wild Wings5.

#9 – Kansas State Wildcats

Last Season’s Shame: 20-13 (10-8) – A solid season for Sexual Frustration that saw them take one each off Kansas and Iowa State. Naturally, they made the tournament, only to get punted in the first round by perhaps the most loathsome Kentucky team in recent memory6.
Emoji-nal State:
Non-Conference Record:
Projected Conference Record: 4-14
Projected Total:

Ranked Game Record: 0-1
Baller Wins:
Slim pickings here, but I’m going to go with a ass beating of Purdue since I can’t honestly count losing by four to ‘Zona as a win7
Brutal Losses: 
Could a team have a harder time winning gimme games? I can’t decide if a 23-point assassination by Pitt is worse than a 2-point edging by Texas Southern. At least Pitt’s a major conference team, one that most likely has a dance invite waiting for them at the end of the season.

I really wanted to put K-State higher than this. I like it when the Wildcats can hang in games and make shit interesting. Mostly that’s because I miss Missouri. Like a lot. But what has K-State done so far this year to engender any faith? Look at the record, which would be totally fine if they’d taken their talent level into, say, Kansas’ non-conference slate. It isn’t fine though. They can’t seem to win winnable games. That’s not a good sign in this conference of death.

One thing that might help is that they’ve been reasonably efficient in scoring a horrific8 68.3 PPG. I don’t see much in them to fuel any faith in them being a defensive juggernaut, but if they can figure that end of the court out, they could prove me wrong. I just don’t see that happening, though. I don’t think this is Bruce Weber’s year and, if that’s the case, he might be moving on to greener9 pastures.

#8 – Texas Christian Horned Frogs10

Last Season’s Shame: 9-22 (0-18) – I don’t think there’s much to go over here. I believe this emoji based Photoshopping tells the tale pretty accurately.
Emoji-nal State:
TCU-Poop on FIRE
Non-Conference Record:
Projected Conference Record: 6-12
Projected Total: 19-12

Ranked Game Record: 0-0
Baller Wins:
Tennessee State University is clearly the highlight of their schedule since I thought it was actually LSU for a minute. Not that LSU’s good at basketball, but that’s a team that’s probably in the running for “everyone else” after Kentucky in the SEC. Seriously. Look at the logos side-by-side and tell me that TSU isn’t totally trying to trick people:

Seriously! Look at that shit! If Knutford University was upset about our Trajan logo, I'm pretty sure LSU should be like double pissed about this business.

Seriously! Look at that shit! If Knutford University was upset about our Trajan logo, I’m pretty sure LSU should be like double pissed about this business.

Brutal Losses: Well, if you haven’t lost a game, you don’t have any brutal losses. Really, that’s just a technicality, but zero losses all the same.

Last year wasn’t a season to remember for the Horned Frogs. Going out backwards in Cofnerence play is pretty hard when you consider that even the Red Raiders managed to win a game or two here and there under Pat Knight’s stewardship. Winning a single Conference game should be difficult, but not impossible. Hell, last year’s 0-18 TCU team was just a year removed from a two win campaign that saw them take a game off of Kansas in perhaps the worst regular season performance of the Toupee era. See, that was a horrible team that still managed to fight their way out of a paper sack and win two games. So going un-feated? That’s a pretty heady accomplishment.

Now, if you thought that Trent Johnson’s squad was going to try and give Towson a run for their money for longest losing streak11, you were dead wrong. And I mean dead fucking wrong. Rather than continue to roll over, the Horned Frogs went the opposite way and have won every single game they’ve played this season. All of them. Look, I know, I didn’t believe it myself, but there they are: a sterling 13-0.

It’s super impressive. It’s also unsustainable.

Look, Trent Johnson might finally be turning the TCU program around. However, it is a long road from complete and total doormat to respectability and even further to contending for a conference title. I can’t put faith in Johnson, a .532 career coach, to turn it around completely. One huge red flag, aside from the quality of competition, is their leading scorer, Anderson, is the only Horned Frog to average double figures on the season. That’s troubling coming into league play where the competition is better and defenses aren’t going to be fooled by Anderson. Expect TCU’s scoring to dry up considerably12.

The bulk of their scoring is on the guards and the team as a whole is shooting a staggering 48.5% on the season. That’s great! It’s just that I don’t trust that number when it comes to playing against quality competition. Amric Fields is going to need to get better on the production side of things, improving from his current 8.0 PPG. He’s hitting at an insane clip (59.6%), so if he can increase scoring without damaging the percentage, TCU should improve in conference play. I think six games is more than enough improvement13.

#7 – Oklahoma State Cowboys

Last Season’s Shame: 21-13 (8-10) – A trainwreck of a season that featured a seven game losing streak at the worst possible time, Marcus Smart (justifibly, in my opinion) attacking a fan, and a mercy killing at the hands of Gonzaga in the tournament. I’m sure I had OSU slotted to get out of the first round, but I also ignored my own “don’t back any team that melted down for seven straight games” rule.
Emoji-nal State:
Non-Conference Record: 
Projected Conference Record: 7-11
Projected Total: 

Ranked Game Record: 0-1
Baller Wins:
A 74-72 OT win over Missouri. Missouri isn’t good at all, but I’m going to give props to any team that protects the world from Missouri joy.
Brutal Losses: 
A 26-point skull fucking by a middle-of-the-SEC-pack Gamecocks squad.

This team is a run-and-gun nightmare. Who needs assists when you can have two dudes average 17+ points? Fuck ball movement, jack it up, boys! Oklahoma State features Le’Bryan Nash has come into his own this season, averaging 17.9 PPG after averaging 13.8 in his first three season in Stillwater. He’s finally the player that everyone thought he would be and he’s doing it on an insanely efficient 47.5% shooting. Meanwhile, Phil Forte III is morphing into a reasonable approximation of Keiton fucking Page v2.0. More skills, better all around game added to a bombing white dude. Between Forte and Nash, there’s a shade shy of 35 points of production. No other duo in the cofnerence that I noted was combining for more.

Oklahoma State is good and they’ve clearly found a rythm for what they want to do on the court. My main issue is the lack of assists, though. Currently, they’re 64th in the country in scoring while 240th in assists. That’s not good. I’m sure Oklahoma State is going to be fun to watch and a nightmare for slow teams in the Big XII X XII, but how can they continue their path to victory when teams force them into full 35-second offensive sets? If they’re not able to get into a flow, I don’t see how they keep the scoring up. They’ll fall off a bit in conference, but that, as it has been with most of these teams, be a function of the toughness of the league, rather than them being a shitty team14.

#6 – Oklahoma Sooners

Last Season’s Shame: 21-10 (12-6) – A very good regular season capped by two quick tournament exits. Oklahoma deserved better last year than getting bounced in the first round by North Dakota State.
Emoji-nal State:

Non-Conference Record:
Projected Conference Record: 8-10
Projected Total: 

Ranked Game Record: 1-2
Baller Wins:
A convincing 10-point win over UCLA made all the more convincing when you consider it was in the Battle 4 Atlantis and their totally tits ballroom-cum-basketball court15. Also, they continued the theme of Oklahoma protecting the country from Misery happiness by curbstomping them by 19 in early December.
Brutal Losses: A two-point loss against the Creighton Bluejays, all the more shameful since Dougie McBuckets wasn’t there to score like 150 points and make it an actual rout. Also, Creighton’s going to be terrible this season, which will only make this loss look worse as the season wears on.

I like this team! Seriously! This isn’t a misprint or anything, I genuinely think Oklahoma’s a good squad this year and they’re the Maginot Line for the conference. You want into the Tournament? You need to overcome Oklahoma to ensure your entry, my friend.

The Sooners have been slowly building a decent contender, one that’s primed to erase the memory of that shit squad that Kansas routed three seasons ago16. I really like watching Buddy Hield play. Ditto Cousins. Hell, I’ll even (flow…thoughts arrive like butterflies) give some love to Spangler, who manages to be both an annoying shit and a really good fundamental college player. This season, Oklahoma does a lot of things well, and isn’t atrocious at anything while they’re at it. Lon Krueger is definitely continuing the upward trajectory of the program, even if, numbers wise, this is going to look like a bit of a slip.

One huge caveat, though: Oklahoma took advantage of a weaker Big XII X XII last season that saw a number of teams that should have performed better go into tailspins of various magnitudes. Is that door still open this season? Personally, I say no, but it wouldn’t shock me if the Sooners manage to sneak into the top three by the end of the season. Which is what made picking teams this year so hard. Everyone looks solid and at least one team that looks solid has to collapse. I feel like Oklahoma is the team most likely for that to happen, even though I think they’re really good. But being the dividing line between the good and the great isn’t to say they’ll have a bad year. Just more proof of how rough this conference slate is going to be.


That wraps up part one of my two-part MEGA Big XII X XII preview. Come back this afternoon for part two.



1 – And now, it’s snowing when this gets posted, too. Funny how that works. Of course, the snow’s a minor annoyance comapared to be a horrible cold snap coming. Consider yourself lucky if you get to drive places rather than walk to the subway in brutal cold. Back

2 – Yes, I’m well aware that I just blamed Tubby’s first losing season on picking up the chunks of limbs scattered around Lubbock following the departure of Billy Gillespie, but there’s just no way, no fucking way he manages to right that ship this season. The Big XII X XII is just too strong. Like, to the point where this preview is packed with some total judgement calls, rather than any strong feeling about a particular team. Back

3 – I mentioned it on Twitter, but I wrote this prior to the Big XII X XII Conference season starting…but then published it after the season started. So, yes, I’m aware that Tech just got through dropping their conference opener to Texas, but for the purposes of this, let’s just stick with non-conference ranked wins. As if I believed that shit held any water. Back

4 – Two years without a DUI or a player assault! Let’s pop some champagne! Back

5 – Hopefully, Tubby springs for a trip up to the city and a huge post-season feast for his squad at the Buffalo Wild Discotheque up in Times Square. Back

6 – I mean, every year they’re loathsome, but usually, they have the good graces to be unstoppable, like this year. If this year’s team doesn’t win it all, then they probably died in a plane crash or something. They’re that good and that makes them loathsome. No, last year’s Kentucky squad was a different breed of awful. That team of world-beaters managed to stumble their way to 11 losses. Eleven! All this while over-zealous Wildcat fans are getting tattoos to commemorate a 2014 Championship that never came…except that it very nearly became a reality. What’s worse than that? The universe finally give us what we all want (Kentucky shame) and they very nearly turned it into yet another National Championship. What I’m saying, there’s clearly no higher power or anything. Back

7 – Even though, as terrible as this team is, that’s totally a win. Anytime you can take a favorite for the title down to the wire, you’re doing something right. Even if only for a minute. Back

8 – Yes, yes, I know…Kansas struggles to score and all that jazz. Look, I’m freely admitting this is one of those “pot calling the kettle black” situations. Back

9 – Read: somewhere with a solid base of talent that’s already been recruited so he can look competent for a couple years before his inability to recruit becomes apparent and, like shampoo, he’s lat(h)er-r(un)se-repeat. Further reading: see Illinois tenure of Weber, Bruce. Back

10 – From here on out, I think the teams are not evenly matched, but considerably closer then the previous two. As such, the next seven previews are probably going to be more in-depth than the last two. Look, I want to bring you the kind of analysis you deserve, but seriously…Texas Tech and K-State are garbage and there’s no need to spend too much time worrying about them. Back

11 – Trent Johnson certainly isn’t winning any coach of the century awards for his career body of work, but he isn’t a slouch either. TCU retaining his services despite the debacle of last season is a testament to how little of a shit TCU gives about their basketball programt17. Back

12 – Somehow, they’re 47th in the country, scoring a ridiculous 75.2 PPG. Again, look at the competition they’re playing. I’m pretty sure a pickup team could notch that many points against the types of teams TCU has gone against so far this season. Back

13 – Seriously, having TCU end up in the seven spot might have been the toughest call here. I think they’re legit, but I think they’re legit the way that Baylor is three out of four years. Good players, well coached, terrible situation. If you moved TCU back into a mid-major, I’m pretty sure they’d be ripping limbs left and right. In the BigXII XII? They’re in a shitty situation and there’s little hope for more of the redemption narrative that’s taken place in their non-conference slate. Back

14 – It should be noted that I think this is the line for tournament teams from the BigXII X XII. Oklahoma State is probably in, but they have work to do. Same with the next team on the list. Back

15 – Full disclosure: I watched a lot of that tournament over Feast Week, thanks to my parents’ beloved UNC playing in the tournament. I tried to explain that they should be prepared for quite possibly the worst aesthetic basketball ever. Seriously, Atlantis…you’re not broke. Build a goddamned basketball court. Back

16 – I remember watching that one at my friend Jane’s spot with her former roommate Kyle. It was a typical game watching experience with Kyle, since he loved to make fun of Kansas’ dominance. In this particular matchup, Oklahoma fans left Lloyd Noble with like 15 minutes left in the second half. I’d like to blame an incoming snowstorm on the mass exodus that left the stands empty for a convincing KU win, but that’s not true. No, Oklahoma was just a train wreck that game (and really, that whole season). Back

17 – And honestly, they shouldn’t care too much about it since they’re like a reverse Kansas in that regard. Sure, they had some rough season on the gridiron the last couple of years, but the absolute demolition they delivered from start to finish on Ole Miss in the Chik-Fil-A Peach Bowl. Did they deserve to be in the playoffs? Probably. But they shouldn’t be disappointed with the hardware they did take. I mean, it isn’t like the hoops team’s going to be bringing anything home for the trophy case any time soon. Back


Know Your Enemy: Texas Tech Red Raiders by longdistancejayhawk
I'm sure she wouldn't appreciate being in these hallowed pages, but congrats to Wagle for helping end the threat of codified discrimination.

I’m sure she wouldn’t appreciate being in these hallowed pages, but congrats to Wagle for helping end the threat of codified discrimination.


Around the Long Distance Jayhawk offices, yesterday was a good day, what with the Kansas State Senate doing the right thing and kneecapping the idiotic anti-gay discrimination law1. Those of you who come here often are, no doubt, familiar with the anti-discrimination tirade I went on after Julian Wright went insane on Grammy night. So, it was pretty sad to me that the bill in question not only made it to a vote in the house, but that it got passed through that house. Thank fucking god for bicameral legislature, since it then had to go through the Senate.

And the Senate didn’t disappoint.

Slate has a pretty quick recap that comes to the conclusion that, by and large, the people voting against the bill didn’t want to look like bigots to their (current and future, presumably) grandkids. Which might be true. But I don’t think it matters, in toto, how you come to the conclusion that people need to be treated not only as equals, but not subject to arbitrary an capricious discrimination codified into law2. What’s important is that you treat everyone like you’d want to be treated.

Because if we didn’t the subway would be a fucking zoo. Let alone, you know, supermarkets and everything else that we use with the understanding that “I’m gonna be chill over here by the green peppers…you be chill by the arugula and we’ll all get out of here alive.” I’m glad that the Senate showed not only a spine, but human decency.

Which makes it harder for me to talk about the hopelessly mediocre Texas Tech Red Raiders…but, I have a job to do. And this is basketball. Let’s hit it!

Official Name: Texas Tech University
Location: Lubbock, TX
Nickname: The Red Raiders
Derisive Nickname: The Red Weddings3

Signature Win: Knowing what we know now of Oklahoma State and Baylor, Texas Tech’s wins over both might be more indicative of how overrated they were or how far they’ve slipped since conference play started. If this were a year ago, the Red Weddings could hang their blood spattered dirks on the fact they’d beaten two solid conference opponents. As it stands, it really does look like Roose Bolton and the rest of Walder Frey’s men getting Robb’s bannermen wasted so they’re too blotto to fight.

Of course, if this were last year, Billy Gillespie would still be coaching. And holding 15 two-hour practices per day. And strangling players.

So, that leaves an eight point win over Oklahoma as their signature win, in my opinion. Lon Krueger’s squad has looked solid, if unspectacular this conference season and I think they’re going to make it into the tournament. So, on Tech’s resume for the NIT, that win should translate to a higher seed4.

Look at that fucking hair! It's like those awful Old Spice commercials with the living hair hitting on women come to life.

Look at that fucking hair! It’s like those awful Old Spice commercials with the living hair hitting on women come to life.

Key Players: The Red Weddings feature the Tubbs and Crockett of the Big XII X XII, Tolbert and Crockett. Man, you guys really fucked that one up. Tolbert, you couldn’t change your name to Tubbs, just for me? Okay, fine. Crockett is a familiar face for Tech and this year he’s having a respectable season with 14.8 PPG on 53.8% shooting. Which would be really good as the second option to Tolbert’s 10.8 PPG (56.2%). You know, if Tolbert’s numbers weren’t significantly worse that Crockett’s. I don’t think either of them is having a coming out party tonight, since neither of them seem to be a dominant player.

But lets ignore the two most productive players and focus on the player you’re destined to love-to-hate: Dusty Hannahs! If that weren’t enough, he’s the Red Wedding’s answer to the riddle of “What until recently had a hideous haircut, is super white, and hits three pointers like some kind of Kyle Singler clone?” While Hannahs wasn’t the kind of distance shooter that kills us all the fucking time (a la Forte or Heslip), he did have a very solid game against us in the Big XII X XII tournament last year (25 mins, 15 points, 3-4 3PA/M) and he’s taking a team high xx shots from beyond the arc for 39.4%. Expect to scream “Guard the white guy with the Mike Miller hair goddamit!” a lot tonight.

Keys to Victory: Look, no one on this team is going to be mistaken for a world beater. In fact, up and down the roster we have the edge. Tharpapalooza is averaging 5.3 assists per game, while their assist leader is checking in 1.2 and no one else is even averaging 1. You could make the argument that they’re really spreading the ball around, what with everyone having at least a couple, but I’m pretty sure it just means that none of them is particularly good at passing in traffic, let alone passing to an open man. On the defensive end, they’re blocks leader, Kravic, is only getting 1.2 per game, which Lionslayer is crushing at 2.5 BPG. What that tells me is Kravic isn’t nearly the imposing interior threat the Embiid is. I fully expect Gentleman Tailor to expand on his post-ups and interior moves in this one en route to another impressive game (for points, anyway).

The only way this doesn’t go our way is if we get caught looking to the revenge game on Saturday against Texas. Unless that happens, I expect this one will be totally fucking sad, an exercise in Tech futility. Even at our worst, we should be able to clobber the Red Weddings, playing Roose Bolton to their Robb and Catelyn5.

Delicious Local (to the enemy) Beer to Avoid: Any ex-pats going to Lubbock are advised to avoid Yellow House Brewery. Never had it6, so I can’t actually attest to it’s quality and/or deliciousity, but you know the rules about no quarter. Drink only Shiner if you’re in Texas. If you’re anywhere else, I think you drink whatever you want with impunity.

Lionslayer vs. Red Raider: In a vacuum, Embiid would dress like a seven-foot tumbleweed and roll up next to the Red Raider, slip out of the disguise, whisper in his ear “You are the one who has been Raided!” before Dikembe laughing and snapping his neck. But since he’s coming off that back injury, I don’t think curling up into tumbleweed costumes is an optimal choice. As it stands, I think it comes down to whether or not Lionslayer can block bullets. Hint: he can. Embiid for the win!

Completely Mathematically Accurate Projection (Backed Up By Science)7Kansas 86-69 Texas Tech



1 – While it isn’t officially voted down as of yet, Wagle has said that there’s a majority of Republicans in the Kansas Senate opposed to the bill which means it’s doomed to fail. Which definitely makes me feel better about the great state of Kansas. I like to think that it was rationality winning out, but I’m pretty sure it was me quoting the greatest movie with built in drinking game, Wild Zero, what did it:

Okay, I’m going to leave it there, because I could go on forever trying to unknot the lunacy of the Kansas Republican party. Back

2 – If you’re interested in understanding the reasons behind the House’s votes, the Lawrence Journal-World has you covered here. I read through all of the explanations. Some of them were an admission that, you know, this bill was attemting to legalize discrimination on shaky grounds. Some decided to make some “Yeah, I’m voting NO, but the schools! Let’s not forget that we don’t put nearly enough money into schools in this state!” But the one that I found the most horrifying came courtesy of Charles Macheers, Keith Esau, Mario Goico, and Jim Howell:

The bill’s opponents have made false representations about new discrimination. States enacting same sex marriage – from New York to Hawaii – have also enacted specific protections for religious liberties as it relates to same-sex marriage, including Progressive governors like Andrew Cuomo and Martin O’Malley. Kansas is consistent with those states. It maintains the status quo.

Perhaps he’s talking about the other New York state, but that’s not the one that I’m currently a resident of. Yes, we do allow churches to decline to officiate a same-sex marriage (as if a gay couple would want to get married in a Westboro type of church…so much tacky early-90’s nylon!), but that’s about as far as we go. Hey, shit for brains’, YOU DIDN’T STOP THERE! You were trying to make it so that someone could discriminate in any capacity, including government services. Not the same. At all. Also, we don’t have it in the provisions that you can discriminate on a hunch, which is what this bill seemed to condone. Like what’s to stop someone from kicking a Middle Eastern person out of their establishment then claiming they thought said person was a homosexual? It’s ludicrous! Thank fucking god the bill got shot down. Back

3 – What Roose Bolton is to Robb Stark the Red Raiders are to enjoyable, aesthetically pleasing basketball. Back

4 – I’m not going to as far as Myron Metcalf’s not-likely prediction did in the ESPN Selection Sunday prediction column, saying that we’d get eight teams in the tournament because I think that’s just too far, even for such a strong league. The selection committee isn’t going to want to load it so far in our favor, even if we are the best conference. Mostly because if they have to leave out someone with a slightly better resume on the season only because of a 7th place finish in the Big XII X XII is “worth more” than a fourth finish in the American Conference. I think the committee is going to want to avoid that sort fo thing. That said, I think we get nine teams into post-season play, probably seven to the Big Dance and two to the Not In Tournament. Now, if you read through the above link, C.L. Brown’s bold prediction is that Texas is going to knock us off for top of the Big XII X XII. Really, Brown? You think so? The weird thing is that his reasoning read to me like he thought we had like six games with them left. I’m looking at the schedule, Brown, and I think we’re winning this one, outright at 14-4. Texas will be right there with us at 13-5, but God’s Team is taking the day here. Back

5 – Yeah, I know…that’s the opposite of what I said earlier about them being the Roose Bolton of basketball. It’s free! What do you expect from me! Back

6 – Though I’d be a lying sack of shit and a half if I didn’t admit that I’m intrigued by their Down the Hatch Green Chili Ale. I’m a sucker for combining beer with hot sauce, so this would just take that step out of the process. And I’m not going to argue with anything that saves me the seven seconds of having to put the sauce in there myself. Back

7 – Now with 100% more fiber! Back

Big XII Preview, Part 1 – If Thine Enemy Hunger… by longdistancejayhawk
Out with the old patsies and in with the new.

Out with the old patsies and in with the new.

A new year dawns and we’re finally getting to the part of the season where games start to me so, so much more.

We’ve been dealing with crap matchups, terrible non-conference games, and just a general lack of urgency on the part of anyone playing ball for too long now. That’s not to say that people aren’t interested in college hoops1. No people still care before conference play. It just isn’t quite the same. There’s something about remembering particular players and teams that have given your team trouble. It’s even more rewarding to beat a team that’s given you fits. For instance, was there a game that meant more to God’s Faithful than the Missouri game at the Fieldhouse last season?

My point exactly.

Even taking on Ohio State for a second round in the tournament, this time with Sullinger playing and a trip to the title game on the line, didn’t have quite the release of beating Missouri and in such spectacular fashion. There’s really no substitute for the thrill of conference play. In honor of our conference season beginning this Saturday, I’m dedicating two days to previewing the Big XII X XII, breaking down all the teams, from worst to first, as I try to see the future. As with most things, I’m going to be totally right, so if you’re looking for easy money with your bookie, feel free to use this as a guide.

Before we get into the meats of these potatoes2, let’s take a look at where the various constituents of our hallowed conference sit3.

STANDINGS AT THE END OF THE NON-CONFERENCE (tklastthreegamesstandings)

  1. Kansas (11-1)
  2. Kansas State (11-2)
  3. Oklahoma State (10-2)
  4. Iowa State (10-3)
  5. Oklahoma (9-3)
  6. TCU (9-4)
  7. Baylor (8-4)
  8. Texas Tech (7-4)
  9. Texas (8-5)
  10. West Virginia (7-5)

Yep, that’s right. We’re at the top, as it should be. A couple of thoughts on this list before I break it down. TCU is way too high. They barely score and they haven’t played anyone of note (more in a bit), so #6 in the conference is not at all sustainable for the Horned Frogs. Texas seems pretty low, which I don’t expect to last. Though, I also don’t think Texas is that good from a chemistry standpoint. Talented, sure, but they don’t seem to work well together (more on that later as well). Finally, West Virginia…what the fuck? You were supposed to give us a challenge, not suck shit in the cellar of the conference. Step up your game!

Alrighty, let’s get down to business. Again, these are all the important details about each team and how many conference games I think they’re going to win. Keep in mind, this is in reverse order. Today’s post counts down teams ten to six. Keep an eye out tomorrow for the rest of the conference.

#10 – Texas Tech Red Raiders

Non-Conference Record: 6-4
Projected Conference Record: 3-15
Projected Total: 

Ranked Game Record: 0-0
Baller Wins: 
Florida A&M sets the tone for them going into conference play; unfortunately, it’s actually the opposite tone for a still hopeless Red Raider squad
Brutal Losses: 
Probably a 15 point loss to Arizona State. I don’t know how many more ways I can say it: no one short of the worst of the worst should be losing to the Pac-12

Bobby Knight (en), coach of the Texas Tech Red...

Bad news, Tech fans. The General’s not coming back to save your garbage program.

Texas Tech is currently sitting at the eighth spot on the non-conference record. That seems a little ambitious for the perennially bad Red Raiders. Ever since the General used his grandson to announce his retirement, Texas Tech has been awful. First, they suffered through the Pat Knight era and now they’re being coached by Chris Walker, after the Billy Gillespie era ended in Hindenberg-esque fashion4. There’s no way that they manage to win many conference games. For one thing, they’ve completely overhauled their roster. I’m not saying Walker’s a good or bad coach, but he’s not John Calipari here. It would be unreasonable to expect him to coach an almost entirely new squad of players to a slew of conference victories. Especially when the conference is so top heavy. I just think there’s been too much turmoil at the program to turn it around in, what? Six weeks since Gillespie resigned?

For further proof that the Red Raiders aren’t going to be much of a factor in the conference, look at their record and how they got it. They’re just one game over .500 right now and they haven’t beaten anyone of note. Add to that the fact that they’ve dropped games to McNeese State, a mediocre Arizona State, and a exceptionally meh Alabama and you’re left with a very uninspiring entry into the meat of the season. If you’re down in Lubbock hoping for something to distract you from the fact you live in Lubbock, basketball isn’t it this season.

Might I suggest drinking or fly fishing?

#9 – Oklahoma Sooners

Non-Conference Record: 9-3
Projected Conference Record: 4-14
Projected Total: 

Ranked Game Record: 0-1 (a 72-47 blasting by Gonzaga)
Baller Wins: 
It must be heartening that they were able to beat the Mountaineers once outside of conference play. Perhaps there’s a team worse than the Sooners in the Big XII X XII…you know, that isn’t TCU…
Brutal Losses: 
From a points perspective, that loss to Gonzaga must have sucked; from a pure embarrassing standpoint, definitely losing to SFA

Don't expect big things from this Sooners squad. Kruger will tyrn things around. But not this year. And probably not next year either. But some year, yes...yes, he will.

Don’t expect big things from this Sooners squad. Kruger will turn things around. But not this year. And probably not next year either. But some year, yes…yes, he will.

This is the first of two bold opinion alerts that will happen over the course of my Big XII X XII previews: I don’t think Oklahoma is that good. I know they’re sitting pretty high at 9-3, good enough for fifth place in the conference. I see that. I’m not stupid, so lay off me. I’ve seen maybe one total game of the Sooners this season, broken over a couple of different actual games, and I saw absolutely nothing to inspire confidence in their ability to win a ton of games. I can testify that their fans certainly don’t see much to be excited about either as the Sooners are constantly playing to an empty Lloyd Noble. Which is sad because that team has been good as recent as four years ago.

Here’s the thing about almost all of their wins coming into conference play: they’re not quality. First off, almost all of the wins were barely there wins. Oklahoma, for instance, has only beaten three teams by more than ten points5. Let me recap for those in the back, that means that six of their nine wins have been by ten or less. Against teams that shouldn’t be keeping it that close. Look, I get it. There are times when you just can’t seem to shake another team or they’re better than you expected6.The problem I’m seeing is that this is happening too often for the Sooners to be a legit contender. Expect them to lose both games to at least four , possibly five conference teams (Kansas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas State) and split the rest of their series.

Again, this is a bold prediction. I’m willing to go down with this ship because I think the Sooners are pretenders.

#8 – Texas Christian Horned Frogs

Non-Conference Record: 9-4
Projected Conference Record: 5-13
Projected Total: 

Ranked Game Record: 0-0
Baller Wins Largest Margin of Victory: 
A total blasting of Centenary, which is D-III. Look, TCU looks so bad that any time they can basically double anyone’s score is probably a victory for them
Brutal Losses: 
An absolute shellacking at the hands of the Big XII X XII-killer Northwestern

Somehow this thing manages to be both adorable and absolutely disturbing at the same time.

Somehow this thing manages to be both adorable and absolutely disturbing at the same time.

Where the hell did TCU come from7? I have yet to see this team on TV and suspect that I’m only going to get a chance to see them when they finally play God’s Team. So, I’m basing pretty much everything I’m about to say on looking at stat lines and making educated guesses. This team seems to struggle to score. They actually have victories where they didn’t break 50 points (44-39 over Prairie View A&M, 47-45 Navy) while doing the same in three of their four losses. That’s not what you want to see from your team, especially going into conference play where you’re going to have to contend with Kansas or Oklahoma State. If you’re having trouble hanging points on Navy, you’ve got a huge problem.

I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “If they’re so bad, why are they eighth in the league?” That’s an excellent question, glad you asked. In their last couple of games, they’ve shown improvement, scoring over 60 in their last three. If you add the fact that they seem to be winning close games, it might be a sign that they’re just a stout defensive grinderman team. Which is boring as fuck to watch, but could result in a few upsets around the conference. In any event, I highly doubt these higher scoring lines are a complete turnaround, but it does bode well for them being able to actually hang with some of the mid-table teams in the conference. I’m not expecting this team to set the Big XII X XII on fire this season. Not by a long shot.

#7 – West Virginia Mountaineers

Non-Conference Record: 7-5
Projected Conference Record: 6-12
Projected Total: 

Ranked Game Record: 0-2 (34 point slaughter by the Zags8, a 15 point drubbing by the Wolverines)
Baller Wins: 
In a total absence of anything resembling a quality win, I guess I’ll go with the Marist game, where Huggy Bear’s squad shover their collective feet up the Ginger Foxes’ asses and walked them around like boots
Brutal Losses: 
Quite a few to choose from, but I’m feeling like losing to the Duquesne Dukes was pretty rough since they’re a marginal NIT team this season

In the most fitting recruiting of all time, Deniz Kilicli looks almost exactly like the dude who dresses as a mountaineer for WVU.

In the most fitting recruiting of all time, Deniz Kilicli looks almost exactly like the dude who dresses as a mountaineer for WVU.

Didn’t I say that I had two bold predictions coming over the course of this two-parter? It might actually end up being three, if you want to count the fact that I’m feeling good on West Virginia leapfrogging up three spots from their final non-conference spot into the seventh seat at the table. To start the season, the Mountaineers have been pretty horrific. They lined up a tough non-conference schedule, taking on #3 Michigan and #13 Gonzaga…and losing both. Those are acceptable loses, as is the Davidson one. But losing to Oklahoma? I don’t know, that seems kind of bush league.

So, what makes me thing they’re going to turn it around come conference time? Two words: Huggy. Bear. I’m not anything approaching a Bob Huggins fan9. I don’t think there’s any way that even a devoid of talent WVU team doesn’t manage to crack off a couple of big wins, finish the season strong, and give their toothless hillbilly fans something to look forward to next year. West Virginia isn’t going to be good. Pretty far from it actually. But they’re definitely going to be better than their soon to be bitter rival, Oklahoma10. All told, I don’t think six wins is unrealistic for them. I think the biggest problem is that too many of their wins are going to come from working the lesser teams in the conference, coupled with the odd upset here and there. All that translates to is an NIT berth, if you’re lucky.

#6 – Iowa State Cyclones

Non-Conference Record: 10-3
Projected Conference Record: 9-9
Projected Total: 

Ranked Game Record: 0-2 (8 point edge by the Cincinnati Bearcats, 12 point loss to UNLV)
Baller Wins: 
Pummeling BYU by 21, while Cougar fans kept wishing Jimmer would return
Brutal Losses: As their only unranked loss, I suppose it’s Iowa

In Year Dos of the Fred Hoiberg Experiment, the Cyclones look to be staying strong. Will they go up or down from last year? Only a few hardwood bloodbaths will answer that question.

In Year Dos of the Fred Hoiberg Experiment, the Cyclones look to be staying strong. Will they go up or down from last year? Only a few hardwood bloodbaths will answer that question.

Oh, Iowa State…you’re the last of the cellar dwellers. Unlike your leg-broken bretheren, mouth breathing and waiting for the sweet release of death11, you’re almost in the hunt. You’re right there, scratching at the door while the big boys get wasted and puke in buckets just on the other side. The side where the lights are on, the food is readily available and people actually know who you are outside of Ames12. Your non-conference record is admirable, if a little disappointing given that you probably could have beaten either UNLV or Cincinatti. Or both. You held your own against these worthy foes, but you didn’t manage to win. And that’s why you’re on the outside looking in.

It also doesn’t help that Royce White left for the greener pastures of the NBA13, leaving you without a star. It isn’t that the rest of the squad is bad, just that you’re missing a crucial piece. But I have faith in Hoiberg to keep you competitive, to keep you always in the conversation of best in the Big XII X XII. And who knows, a solid overall record, .500 in league play, and a solid conference tourney showing might be enough to get you a slot in the Big Dance. It’s not outside of reach for you guys. Keep fighting. Keep playing hard and you might get to come join us in the regular part of the house, rather than cellar.


Well, there you have it, part one of the Big XII X XII preview. Tomorrow, I’ll thrill you with part two. Until that time, I want everyone to know that I actually do know some of the players on the other teams, I just didn’t want to get too specific about the whole thing14.



1 – If I’m any indication, as well as the people who read this blog, enthusiasm is at a pretty high level already. But like most things, it could be better. It could matter for more than just a win to pad your resume. It could matter because you hate those shit bags from Norman. It could matter because Royce “Cray-Cray” White may be gone, but Iowa State still beat us at Ames and I’m still pissed about it. It could matter because all of these teams have history, demons, and ghosts surrounding previous games, previous vintages. This is when the war comes home, when these aren’t just fun games where you drop 40 on another team while seeing who can do the most hand-behind-head-BJ pose on a fastbreak dunk. This is when it matters and everyone of these shit bags must pay for having the balls to think they can stop the inexorable march towards a ninth straight Big XII X XII title for God’s Team. Shit…I think you all know who’s coming out on top of this one…or do you? Back

2 – Way better in my head than on paper, but given how much work a massive two-part preview is, there’s no time to turn back now. Onward and upward! Back

3 – You will, undoubtedly notice the addition of TCU and West Virginia. I’d like to welcome both of them to the conference. It’s been nice to see them struggle to score (TCU) or struggle to win (WVU) as we come into conference play. It’s going to be nice to have four extra wins on our resume. Plus, it’ll be nice for K-State to finally have a rival, even if, like us, it’s more of a one-way affair. Back

4 – Everything about that whole situation was fucked. First off, Gillespie managed to get 15 people associated with the program to leave. Then, he was accused of abusing his players by making them practice while injured among other things. Just before he was due to meet with Kirby Hocutt, the TTU AD, he was hospitalized for heart attack symptoms (probably brought on by the stress of the fact that they were probably going to fire him). Eventually, he had to check himself into the Mayo Clinic, at which point, he also resigned from the program permanently. Between him and Mike Leach kicking players in the jerries like he was D-Wade, I’m pretty sure the Red Raiders program is either snakebitten or only attracts psychopants coaches. There’s no in between. Back

5 – If you’re leveling the criticism at KU that we play nothing but chumps in the early going, do me a favor and look at Oklahoma’s pre-conference schedule. Go ahead, the tab will still be here when you come back. Satisfied? Yeah, that’s a pretty strong group of powderpuffs if ever I saw one. Back

6 – The faithful should have no problem conjuring up that actually entertaining, if nailbiting, Kansas tussle with Long Beach “The Beach” State last season. Casper Ware was an incredible player who made that one a fucking game. In case you were wondering, Ware is playing in Italy right now. Which is a shame because I really liked him and was hoping he’d make it to the Association. Back

7 – That’s a rhetorical question. I know they came from the Mountain West after reneging on their planned jump to the Big East. I’m more curious about where TCU managed to find a team that, based on their score lines, looks like a 1950s squad. Hey, Horned Frogs, you know you can dribble, right? Back

8 – Gonzaga might just be the Big XII X XII’s kryptonite this season. Based on their track record against our teams, I think we should do everything possible to avoid playing them in the tourney, including setting their bus on fire. You know, just in case. Back

9 – For one thing, he made things interesting at K-State for one year…until he bolted. Then, he’s spent most of his career wearing wind breakers on the sideline. Wind breakers. Who the fuck are you? Paulie Walnuts? I feel like he has to be mildly uncomfortable when he comes out for the pre-game handshake and Toupee’s on the other side wearing a $25,000 suit. Like, where are his wife and kids? Do you think they cringe when they see him out there, coaching these kids while dressed like he’s grabbing his paper in the morning? I know I would be embarrassed. Back

10 – When they first announced that the Mountaineers were coming to our conference, Schuyler and I joked a lot about the idea that now K-State would have a legitimate rival. Then, the more I thought about it, the more I started to think that most Wildcat students aren’t even going to think about it on that level. Maybe I’m alone in my rivalry narrative. Or maybe I’m creating it to try and make K-State fans feel less inferior to the real university of the state of Kansas. Who knows? No matter what, if K-State takes a hatred towards WVU, I can all but guarantee that the Mountaineer fans will not reciprocate (a pretty normal state of things for them). Now, I’m interested in whether or not Oklahoma becomes a conference rival, thanks to a loss at the hands of the Sooners in the Old Spice Classic earlier this year that adds a third game on top of the two in conference matchups. Things could get intriguing if they were to, say, meet up in the Big XII X XII tournament in March as well. Back

11 – You know, or the off season. Back

12 – I think it should be painfully obvious at this point…but the extremely bold prediction I’m making in part 2 is that Texas isn’t nearly as shitastic as they seemed to be earlier this season. It’s definitely hard to put them in the top five, but I did. Either one of two things is happening: 1.) I’m right and they’re better than they look; 2.) Sith Lord has pulled me in again with his…I don’t know, dark magic? It certainly isn’t charm that gets me to back him so often and irrationally. Back

13 – And has been trying his best to set said pastures on fire. Back

14 – Or not. I mean, 3,000+ words…about the conference…and I’m not even done. Anyway, here’s a short list of enemies I’m excited/terrified to face, either because they’re good or because they’re the kind of person that pisses me right the fuck off: Texas Tech – vaguely remember Jamal Williams…so, actually, no one15; Oklahoma – Steven Pledger, Romero Osby, Jimmy Bo Fraschilla; TCU – not to re-betray your trust in my analysis, but I’d like to reiterate that I haven’t actually seen this team play; West Virginia – Jabarie Hinds, Deniz Kilicli; Iowa State – Korie Lucious, Tyrus McGee. See, I know some of these players. Back

15 – To paraphrase Mr. Show, it’s perfectly understandishable based on the turmoil swirling around that program. Back

Let’s Have a Little Dance Shall We by longdistancejayhawk
January 26, 2012, 10:30 am
Filed under: Conference Recap | Tags: , , , , , , ,

This shot, which I found on Brooklyn Exposed, doesn't do justice to how fired up the place is on game day. Last Saturday, it was like a mad house of screaming KU fans. Not unlike Allen Fieldhouse but without all the big heads and CUNDIFF signs.

While my various ex-pat Jayhawks and I were gathered around the table and spilling onto the bar at the best sports bar in Brooklyn, Mulholland’s, so much happened in the world of college basketball. But since we all secretly long for the days of interminable solo drives to work and traction-less ice driving1, we were keyed in on what was happening in the hallowed conference known as the Big XII. Sure, we were excited to see Duke drop on a buzzer beating three pointer at Cameron. And we were interested in whatever games were happening during the commercial breaks of that too close for comfort Texas match up. All of these things rated, just not quite as much as the Big XII. Andrew pitched an idea, which will become a feature, about the goings on in the Big XII. This isn’t really that feature, mostly because I don’t want to steal his thunder. It’s more of an off-shoot of that idea. Well, a more serious one anyway.

So, let me preface this by saying, fuck the Big Ten. Every analyst on the planet goes around talking about how great that conference is, but it’s really hard to make out what there saying with Tom Izzo’s balls so firmly planted in their mouths. The Big Ten is a shit conference full of slow, grinderman basketball that’s about as much fun to watch as a defensive showdown between the Steelers and the Ravens. I suppose they’re qualitatively “good” basketball, but they’re boring. Seriously boring. Like I’d rather drill my eyes with dental hooks covered in razor blades than watch ten seconds of any Big Ten conference game. While everyone talks about the greatness of Izzo and whoever else is in the Big Ten, I’d like to take a minute to talk about the best conference in basketball, the Big XII. Without further ado, let’s take a whip around, quick take on all the teams, starting with the dregs of the conference and heading right up to the top of the pile.

While Gillespie is completely hammed out of his gourd in this photo, this is not his mug shot from that DUI he got. Or rather those three DUIs he got.

10. Texas Tech
Is it possible to be negatively ranked?
Record: 7-12 (0-7 Big XII)

What a fall from grace for Billy Gillespie. He’s the coach of the Aggies, bolts for the greener pastures of Kentucky, then the boosters and alumni kick him in the teeth after a not-quite-as-lackluster-as-I-remember second campaign at Kentucky. Sure, they were 8-8 in SEC play and lost 14 on the season. But they made the Not In Tournament quarters. That’s a feather in your cap. Now, he’s come back to Texas and he’s completely sucking. I’d blame the youth of his team, but Frank Martin and Calipari are proving that experience doesn’t always trump youth. No, I guess I blame all the guys that The General Jr. brought in? I’ve got nothing. This team is putrid and I wish they could forfeit all of their remaining games this season, if only they don’t fall into a Towson-style multiseason death spiral. Of course, beating K-State when you were within ten in the second half would have been a good start. Oh, well, I guess this one’s a wash, Mr. Gillespie.

9. Texas A&M
Record: 11-8 (2-5 Big XII)

Are the players on A&M trying to get Billy Kennedy fired before he has a chance to actually install some of his own players? I’m pretty sure that this is one of those situations where the exiting coach, Mark Turgeon2, recruited a bunch of players that aren’t totally in line with the Kennedy way of doing things. Well, unless Kennedy’s way of doing things is losing a bunch of games. Then they’re totally in step with the Kennedy way of doing things. I don’t think that’s the case, since he recruited winners to Murray State3. Whatever. A&M is looking at a long rest of the season, but the ultimate reward for players with no hustle: watching the tournament from home.

8. Oklahoma
I’m not totally sure why I listed this as a stat for every team
12-7 (2-5 Big XII)

Oklahoma must be glad they get to play the Red Raiders twice a season, since that’s two wins right there. I mean, Iowa State should have been two automatic Ws in the round robin format of the Big XII this season, but they’re having some kind of resurgence. Add those two Tech wins to the impressive nine point victory over #24 K-State and the Sooners aren’t quite as bad as their record. Until you realize that they’re a hopeless team and their own fans can’t even be bothered to show up at Lloyd Noble. Look, I know it isn’t football, but show some fucking pride.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves here, Cowboys. You're quite along way from being number one at anything. Well, anything other than storming the court after beating the Slavers.

7. Oklahoma State
After toppling Missouri, they could creep to #25
Record: 10-10 (3-4 Big XII)

Other than the drubbing that Baylor delivered in Waco to the Pokes, OSU isn’t the worst team in the league. Most of their loses have come at the hands of teams that used to be in the North division, and, with the exception of Baylor, hold all the top spots in the conference. There’s nothing be ashamed of here, especially after last night’s victory over Missouri and the completely justified court storming. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if OSU managed to scrape it’s way to number five in the Big XII by season’s end solely because the competition in the south is so weak and they still have a lot of games against all the Texas-based teams left4.

6. Texas
The Sith Lord’s magic isn’t working on the rankings, though his squad’s showing signs of life
 13-7 (3-4 Big XII)

You know what’s nice about this year’s Longhorns team? They skipped a few of the usual plot lines and went straight for fifth act in January. I do miss the bygone days of a Rick Barnes team, full of solid recruits, promise, and optimism. Teams that blaze out to a bunch of impressive wins, wins impressive enough for everyone to overlook the glaring flaw in their game plan, be it guard play or interior presence. Maybe they wake up one Monday to find themselves at the top of the mountain, the coveted number one ranking. Then, they crash and burn5. Or maybe they wait until tourney time to explode, leaving me, a gullible sap who follows this narrative every season, to pick up the shelled pieces of his bracket6. Either way, they skipped all the drama and decided to just straight up suck this season. Expect them to drop like the leaden albatross around their necks to like seventh or eighth.

5. Iowa State
Hm…not sure if they should be, though they’re actually decent…typing that, I just puked in my mouth a bit
14-6 (4-3 Big XII)

What. The. FUCK!? Why am I having to try and validate the reason that the Cyclones are fourth in the conference? My head exploded just now. I’m so used to them getting blown out all the time. I’m used to things like the time that Max Falkenstein told me that some ISU player was the player of the game because he was refusing to give up, despite the fac that Toupee had emptied the bench at this point and was practically begging our twelfth guy to stop hitting three pointers. So, yeah…uh, apparently Iowa fucking State’s good this year. I guess the Hoiberg hire wasn’t the total disaster I thought it would be. Looking at their games, the only real knock I have is that they lost to Texas. Other than that, uh, good job. Now, I’m going to do some research and make sure there isn’t LSD in the water in Brooklyn or something.

4. Kansas State
Record: 15-4 (4-3 Big XII)

McGruder rows only when he's hungry for babies. Human babies.

Sexual Frustration didn’t look as hot as they should have against Texas Tech. Well, they didn’t look so hot at about the 18 minute mark in the second half of the contest when the score was 33-237. But they pulled away, handed Tech yet another loss, and moved up one spot on the Big XII leader board. This position is about what I thought for K-State. I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved up one spot, but I’ll be shocked if they slip, short of McGruder Super Spy’s ankle blowing up of something. The Tramp Stamps are actually a solid team despite the bizarre game against us where we started off by slicing their faces off, then spent the rest of the game wearing them as a mask and Frank Martin didn’t scream once. They’ll make the tournament and I think move up the polls before settling somewhere in the mid-teens. Good job, K-State. Between you, Iowa State inexplicably being relevant, and Missouri nipping at our heels, my entire understanding of the world has been completely blown the fuck up.

3. Baylor
18-2 (5-2 Big XII)

Baylor’s good, but I do expect them to slip somewhat in the standings. They don’t close out games. Which in a way kind of makes the Bears like Kansas. Other than the two hour long blood letting they delivered to OSU, they haven’t played an impressive game beginning to end. Sure, they’ve won a lot of games and they’ll surely win a few more. It’s just that they need to show more than just an ability to win tight games. Every tight game you win means that you’re having to play your hardest the whole time. Sometimes, you got to get the starters off the court and let the bench get some reps. All these close games are going to kill any depth that Baylor might have. I believe that Scott Drew can figure something out. He just needs to do it sooner rather than later.

2. Missouri
18-2 (5-2 Big XII)

Seriously? You guys really are the biggest assholes on the planet, aren’t you? I’ll skip making any comments on the whole “You guys supported slavery” thing since 1.) that horse has been beaten to death, dragged to the desert, eaten by vultures, bone bleached, and it’s almost on the edge of turning completely to dust; 2.) none of us were actually alive when that shit happened, let alone our parents or even our grandparents. No, I’ll leave that old chestnut for when wee get around to squaring off with you guys later in the season. What makes you assholes are the fucking idiotic “Mizzou” jerseys you’ve been rocking this season and the fact that you’re practically flashing a giant middle finger to us as you make your final lap through the Big XII gauntlet. Why can’t you shit heels just bow out gracefully at like seven or eight? Why do you have to flaunt how good you are? I’m taking some amount of solace in the thought that, if you win the Big XII conference, all those wins will be vacated when it comes out that Frank Haith not only cheated at Miami but also bought all the players on this year’s Tiger team a gold plated Cadillac.

1. Kansas
17-3 (7-0 Big XII)

Raise your hand if you saw this coming? Put your hand up if you confuse “saw this coming” with your blind faith that we’ll always win everything all the time. That’s what I thought. I didn’t think that we’d be dead last or anything, I just didn’t expect us to start out with a pristine record in the Big XII. I mean, we’re a reckless team that sometimes feels like a group of guys who just met rather than the sequel to Team Family Over Everything. Sometimes, it’s thrilling the way we’ve been turning rotten lemons into lemonade that probably won’t kill you. Sometimes. Then, there are games like this week’s A&M tussle when we waited until the bitter end to finally get to that to do list8 that Toupee handed out before the game. This season’s nothing if not a roller coaster of emotions. That said, I think we’re stil in the mix for the title. Hey, blind faithers, put the laurels away. I didn’t roll out the coronation carpet. I guess the only real question I have to seriously answer if that happens: is it more rewarding to win a title when literally all the odds, including your team’s own abilities, are so stacked against it? Whatever. We have to finish ahead of Missouri. That’s pretty much all I care about this season.

Toupee doesn't totally understand how his team is on top of the Big XII either. I suggest you roll with it, William.



1 – Kidding! I’ll take walking through three feet of snow, blistering cold winds, and crowded subways that smell of bum piss at rush hour over the supposed thrill of trying to keep your car from sliding into a tree or, god forbid, another car any day. That and bars that don’t close until 4am and the always present option a gypsy cab ready to price gouge you when you’re trying to get from Williamsburg back to Park Slope. Back

2 – I kind of miss Turgeon. I mean, I kind of hated him when he was scowling at Toupee from the sidelines in College Station because he was a pain in the ass over complainer. But he’s a Jayhawk, so I can’t hate him. It’s a lot easier to like him now that he’s in College Park9. The other thing that’s been a pain in my fucking ass is the fact that we have Billy Kennedy at A&M and Billy Gillespie at Texas Tech. It’s confusing because there are two grown men coaching  in the Big XII who go by the name Billy and it’s also confusing because Gillespie used to coach at A&M before Kentucky blew up in his face. Now he’s at Tech. They’re both in Texas. Maybe it’s because both of them are so shitty this year, but I find this incredible confusing. Back

3 – The proof’s in the pudding: his last two seasons were winning seasons, he made the second round in the 2009-2010 2nd Round, and now Murray State looks like the prohibitive favorite to be the “don’t sleep on team x” of the 2011-12 season…all with Kennedy’s recruits. Sometimes, I wonder if he wishes he’d never left. Back

4 – Also important, they managed to play a team, Langston, which ESPN doesn’t recognize as a real college since they don’t seem to have a logo. Back

5 – That would be 2009-10, when the Rick Barnes used his dark side of the force powers to trick everyone into voting him number one. Then, he lost to K-State. Then, dropped a second to Uconn in a late season non-conference match up. The rest of the season was almost one win, one loss, before losing in OT to Wake Forest. Back

6 – The specific year I’m talking about is last year, but really, you could sub in any year and get the same results, all the way down to one quad of my bracket missing a Sweet Sixteen and/or Elite Eight team after the first weekend. It’s like Sith Lord’s Texas teams are some girl I keep going back to even though she bangs my best friend when I go down to visit my parents. Back

7 – They also didn’t look to have a pulse in the opening minutes either. How crazy is it that neither team scored for the first three minutes of the game? By my count, there were nine shots from both teams in that time and none of them fell. That’s probably the worst opening to a game I’ve seen all year. Back

8 – To Do: Feed T-Rob the ball; not induce any heart attacks or strokes; win. Back

9 – It must have been easy for him to update his business cards since all he had to do was cross out “Station, TX” and scribble “Park, MD” above it. Back

Texas Tech: The 15th Best NCAA Basketball Team in the Lone Star State! by asteinkuehler
January 13, 2012, 9:04 am
Filed under: Recap | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Hey, errbody! Since I’ve been busy with stuff, things, and other vaguely important matters, I’ve been a little lax with the old blog. The stake for this week was driven in by a work function on Wednesday night that precluded me from being able to offer my usually scathing review of us, our opposition and Bill Self’s continuing descent into acerbic comedy genius, so I asked my buddy Andrew to watch the game and offer a few thoughts. And he went above and beyond the definition of “a few” in this recap of the brutal hardwood-style curb-stomping we delivered to the Red Raiders. So, read on, my friends, as Andrew breaks it down. 

– Corbett

The Swashbuckler has been going above and beyond the call of duty, both with his basketball and his incredibly well-groomed beard.

It was a good night to be a Jayhawk fan. Anytime you can get a 35 point win in conference play, even if it is against a little known vocational school out of Lubbock, Texas, well, you’ve got to be grateful. We can all admit by now that this is a down year for God’s Team. Our guard play has been lacking, our chemistry has been off, and Joe Dooley just doesn’t seem as creepy as he used to. That we’re ranked 10th in the nation strikes me as more of a commentary on the sorry state of college basketball than anything else. But all that being said, who can argue with this?

THE GOOD: Releford continues to prove that there’s more to his game than the occasional left handed drive > spin move > ill advised layup combo. He was especially important early, when it looked as if Tech was poised to pull off an upset. MHBC Bill Self has attributed the Swashbuckler’s exceptional play over the past two weeks to a boost in confidence. My theory is that Relly’s been spending less time attending to his assiduously trimmed facial hair and more time in the gym. Just a thought.

Tyshawn did some good things tonight (15 points) and also managed to keep his assist to turnover ratio below 1:1 (5 assists, 4 turnovers). But I should go ahead and say that I consider TnT the most maddening Jayhawk of the past decade. Early in the game, he had one of his signature I-just-crossed-half-court-so-why-don’t-I-cross-over-and-leave-the-ball-suspended-directly-in-front-of-my-defenders-hand-for-about-two-seconds-because-that’s-a-good-idea moves, leading to an easy Tech layup on the other end. I was bracing myself for more of the same – play after boneheaded play – but thankfully things didn’t get out of control. The problem is, on occasion the Turnover will pull off some brilliant foray to the basket, lithely cutting through the defense and finishing with an acrobatic layup, that makes you forget that you’ve nicknamed him “The Turnover”. This is, I suppose, the price of fandom. When you have an emotional stake in the athletic performance of a mercurial 22 year old kid, expect that your sanity will be put to the test.

What can you say about T-Rob? 19 points on 8-11 shooting, 12 rebounds, and his second career 3 – all in 19 minutes. Without Robinson, we’d be hovering somewhere barely above .500. With him, we’re a Top 10 team. There’s a reason his name is starting to pop up in discussions for the Wooden Award.

Possibly the biggest surprise of the night was Naadir Tharpe going 3-3 from 3 point land. The 13 year old reserve guard proved that he could indeed make good on the scholarship he received straight out of middle school. Though the game was already out of reach for the Raiders by the time Tharpe started dropping bombs, his career high 9 points (kind of sad for a ESPN Top 100 recruit, right?) could give him a little swagger moving forward.

The scrubs were out in force this evening as well. Juenemann partisans will be disappointed to learn that he laid an egg in 5 minutes, but all you diehard Merv Lindsay fans should sleep soundly with the knowledge that the Mervster went 1-2 in an even briefer cameo, draining an open jump shot from the wing.

Maybe it’s just me, but did it seem like the ‘Hawks were actually running plays on offense tonight? After our atrocious showing against K-State, it was good to be reminded that we’re still capable of playing elegant, attacking basketball (I know we blasted the Wildcats by like 20 points, but did you watch that game? When Bobby Knight makes it down to Hell they’re going to peel his eyelids back Clockwork Orange-style and just run the film from that one on infinite repeat). It got to the point where it looked like the Lubbock Career Center All-Stars weren’t even on the floor, like we were just running sets in the practice gym. That may sound boring, but as John Wooden once said, “A player who practices well, plays well” – which is a good sign heading into our matchup with Iowa State this weekend.

THE BAD: We started the game a little sloppy and the Turnover got up to a few of his usual hijinks, but other than that I don’t really have anything bad to say about our performance. So how about I pour a little salt on the Red Raiders’ wounds instead? Cool? Cool.

Billy Gillespie’s squad came out of the gate looking good. For the first 10 minutes or so, they controlled the pace, spread the floor, and got quality shots on nearly ever possession. They also locked down on D, disrupting the flow of KU’s offense and showing good energy on the perimeter. But then things started to fall apart. First Gillespie gets a technical for, um, something (it was never really clear) and then Tech forward Terran Petteway gets ejected for intentionally throwing an elbow in the direction of Conner Teahan’s face. After the game, Petteway admitted that he had just wanted to “destroy something beautiful”. The momentum had already begun to shift in the Jayhawks’ favor, but at this point the flood gates were essentially thrown open. Kansas went into halftime with a 35-20 lead.

Look, when you’re a shitty team (and Texas Tech is a shitty team) the only thing standing between you and a 35 point blowout is your composure. If you keep your head and stay aware of your limitations, you’ll probably still lose but you won’t be humiliated. Tech, of course, managed to do neither and they were thoroughly, devastatingly humiliated. The team completely lost its composure, and it all started with Gillespie. The announcers (who were surprisingly excellent by the way) tried to pass his tech off as a motivational tool, a way to keep the team fired up. Bullshit. And even if that were the case, what the hell is Gillespie doing getting a technical intentionally when the score is tied and his team is likely playing its best basketball of the season? Why do they need additional inspiration at that point? Petteway’s flagrant 2 was just as bad. You’re going to throw an unprovoked elbow at a guy in such a way that it couldn’t even possibly be perceived as a basketball play? Great job. Fucking spectacular.

Merv Lindsay took the floor Wednesday night and made a bucket. Since this is the only shot I could find of him, Andrew's right. He does deserve the JCTD since he'll probably never sniff a minute in the next three months.


It was ugly and muddy, and then we kind of made some shots.

JCTD AWARD: Before I announce this game’s award winner, I’d like to stipulate that Tyshawn Taylor will not be eligible for another JCTD until he plays forty minutes of turnover-free basketball. The carrot and the stick, folks. With that out of the way, I’m happy to present this game’s JCTD award to… MMMMMMERV LINDSAY! That’s right – Merv fucking Lindsay. Everyone in a KU uniform deserves a gold star for their performance against Tech, but Merv Lindsay isn’t likely to get another shot at the coeds this year. When your name is Merv Lindsay sexual opportunities are always going to be few and far between, so what the hell – get your freak on tonight, Merv. You earned it.