What’s the Big deal? (02/04)

Random musings from Monday’s Big 12 coaches’ teleconference call:

BILL Self jokingly said he was tired of talking about Kansas State after last week’s loss in Manhattan, but almost half of his questions Monday were about Kansas’ rival. “They’re a total team,” he said. “They guard, they rebound. They’re efficient. They have the best player in the league, maybe the best player in the country — let’s call it like it is… They’re a nice team.” He was asked if the Wildcats are a threat in the Big 12, a contender, and Self said, “Absolutely… They’re still in excellent position. They have a favorable schedule, in my opinion, and I don’t see them losing too many.”

IT’S the Valley days all over again this week as Mark Turgeon (Texas A&M) squares off against Greg McDermott (Iowa State). The difference are obvious — “The players are bigger and stronger,” Turgeon said — and then not so much. “The road crowds,” he said. “We ran into some tough road crowds at Creighton, but the road crowds in the Big 12 are more difficult, the arenas are louder.”

AFTER his father, Eddie, recorded his 800th career victory at San Francisco, Oklahoma State coach Sean Sutton said he spoke with his Dad. “I was really happy, excited for him,” the younger Sutton said. “It was more special for him coming from 19 down. He said he was relieved to get it over with. He’d gotten a lot of calls. He was excited we were excited and happy for him.”

coach Jeff Bzdelik isn’t surprised by the caliber of talent in the conference. “I had both eyes open coming in,” he said. “It’s a great basketball league, and that’s why I came here. A great challenge… There are great players here. Every team has someone who will playing for my friends at the next level.”

ALWAYS interesting to hear from Frank Martin after a loss. You’ll never hear an excuse, that’s for sure. Asked what difficulties Missouri’s zone presented, Martin said, “We stood around too much. We didn’t move to the ball.” On the topic of freshman point guard Jake Pullen being a non-factor against the Tigers, he said, “I don’t think any of those guys are freshmen anymore. I’d like to think those days are behind us. Apparently, they weren’t this week.” Finally, when Martin was asked if it was possible the freshmen, like Pullen, have hit another wall, the K-State coach said no. “That’s an excuse to accept failure,” he said.

NEBRASKA is still hanging its hat on defense, but Doc Sadler seems stumped about the prospect of stopping Michael Beasley. He admitted he didn’t have an answer. “Do you have one? I’m not that smart,” he said. Sadler spent a week around Beasley this summer as part of USA Basketball and he came away impressed with Beasley, the player as well as Beasley, the person. It’s the former that he’s concerned about this week. “… We don’t have anyone who can stop him,” Sadler said.

TOTALLY out of context, but it’s still funny. This is from Texas coach Rick Barnes: “We know how important TV is to our league,” said Barnes, mentioning recruiting for emphasis. “People watch TV.” Can’t argue.