Random musings from Monday’s Big 12 coaches’ teleconference call:
AFTER his team virtually handed the Big 12 player of the week award to Oklahoma State’s Byron Eaton (!), Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon was bummed Monday. He isn’t sure what to expect tonight from his team against Texas. “I just want our guys to play hard and compete,” Turgeon said. “We didn’t do that Saturday… We had great practices (last week). Maybe it was being home… We weren’t the same team. Give Oklahoma State credit. Eaton was tremendous.” Perhaps the Aggies are exactly what D.J. Augustin needs to snap out of his funk — Eaton torched A&M(in College Station) for a career-high 25 points, eight assists, five rebounds and three assists. If the Aggies can’t stay in front of Eaton, they have no chance against Augustin, right?
SPEAKING of Eaton, the 5-foot-11, 215-pound point guard is the key to the rest of Oklahoma State’s season, according to Sean Sutton. “When he takes care of the ball… When he’s aggressive, we’re winning games,” Sutton said. “When he doesn’t, we’re struggling.” Sutton admitted that Eaton, a former McDonald’s All-American, hasn’t “quite lived up to what I thought he could be.” But he added, “There is still a lot of time left.” Sutton said the Cowboys have been close at the end of ballgames, but they just need to make a play at the end. That, folks, reminded me of Wooly.
SCOTT Drew was asked how he was doing, and the Baylor coach replied, chipper as ever, “We’ve been better!” Truth is, Baylor has a real chance to lose five in a row, which was unthinkable a few weeks ago. The Bears are at Oklahoma tomorrow night (Tuesday), and Baylor has already lost to the Sooners. And Saturday, the Bears host Kansas State, which should be a fascinating matchup. Drew, though, was feeling good. Before signing off, he told the media, “Everybody have a great week!”
NEWSFLASH No. 1 — Missouri coach Mike Anderson said his team’s problem Saturday in Manhattan wasn’t about offense. “It was about defense… We have to get better at defending the rim, rebounding better. Our biggest deal is we’re not being consistent in what we do.”
ASKED if he’s take his chances again on David Godbold’s improbable 30-footer in Saturday’s OU victory in Lubbock, Texas Tech coach Pat Knight said, “Yeah, who wouldn’t? You have to play the percentages. Give the kid credit — he hit a (heck) of a shot. From a percentage standpoint, we want him to take a deep shot.”
HERE’S Frank Martin’s take on this week: “We played well on the road early in the year. We had a bad second half at Missouri and a bad first half at Texas Tech… We have to put two halves together.” All of that said, Martin admitted he was pleased with where the Wildcats are. “You tell me another team in the country that plays six freshmen in the rotation,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier.”
IT’S a huge week for OU, and Jeff Capel says he has had THAT conversation with the Sooners. “I wish you didn’t have to, but I have,” said Capel, referring to discussing the possibility of reaching the NCAA Tournament. OU is 17-8 overall and 5-5 in the league, winners of two straight. “We talk about the opportunity we have, controlling our own destiny,” Capel said. “Most people wrote us off, especially after Colorado. But we still feel we control our own destiny… We’ve had a very small amount of success, winning back-to-back games. With young guys today, sometimes you have to remind them they’re not as good as they think they are and maybe not as bad… We’re not going to out-talent anybody, especially in this league.” Also, center Longar Longar was been playing with a broken leg. Capel said he doesn’t practice daily, which illustrates his value — and toughness. “He does so many things for us on both ends,” Capel said.
DOC Sadler is fantastic. The Nebraska coach was asked about the difficulty in dealing with Beasley and Bill Walker, a pair that combines to average more than 40 points per game. His response: “As a team, we have a hard time scoring 40 points.”
WITH all of the Longhorn talent on display Friday night in the NBA Rookie Challenge, it’s still amazing (to me, anyway) that Texas coach Rick Barnes hasn’t won more than he has in Austin. And by more, I don’t mean volume of wins. I mean quality of wins, as in the NCAA Tournament. Daniel Gibson went nuts for the Sophomores, hitting 11 three-pointers. Kevin Durant led the way for the Rookies with 23 points. And that’s not even mentioning LaMarcus Aldridge, who was also on the Sophomore rosters.