What’s the Big deal? (02/25)

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

HOW about this? Kansas coach Bill Self was asked if his team was rooting for rival Kansas State tonight, and he said, “I hadn’t thought of that. But yes, we will be…”

THINGS have gone badly for Texas A&M, which Mark Turgeon admits. “Our backs are against the wall now,” he said. “We went from being in great shape three games ago to… Our backs are against the wall. There should be a sense of urgency for us.” The first-year Aggies coach used the term “our backs are against the wall” at least three times while uttering “a sense of urgency” at least twice.

REVISIONIST history? Oklahoma State coach Sean Sutton says not so. He said he and his Cowboys set a goal to win seven games in a row to close out the season. “We’ve gotten three in a row, and we’ve got four more,” Sutton said. His players stuck up for their embattled coach, who may have secured his job with this recent run, after their huge victory against KU. “It meant a lot,” Sutton said. “You want your players to believe in you, to have confidence in you as a coach… Anytime you get that from players, there’s a lot of satisfaction.” There was actual discussion, at least one question, asking the OSU coach what it would take to reach the NCAA Tournament — which wasn’t even under consideration a few weeks ago. Give the man credit.

LIFE on the bubble is admittedly better than life not on the bubble, according to Baylor coach Scott Drew. “Our guys know how important these games are,” he said. “They know what’s at stake. Everybody knows there are going to be 4-6 bids in our league, and we want one.”

LOTS of love for Oklahoma State and Sean Sutton this morning — count Missouri coach Mike Anderson as an admirer from afar. “At this time of the year, you want to be playing some of your better basketball,” he said. “… They’re on a roll. They’re playing some good basketball. The way (Byron) Eaton is playing right now… They’re one of the hotter teams in the league.”

QUESTION — could the change from Bob to Pat Knight have given Texas Tech a lift? The Red Raiders have won three of their last four, and they probably should have beaten Oklahoma if not for David Godbold’s desperation heave. “We’ve won some games — that’s probably the biggest difference,” the younger Knight said. “The kids are playing hard. They’re still making mistakes… The kids are pushing the ball up the floor, playing fast… Their confidence is getting better. We’ll see what happens the next two weeks.” Knight also had an interesting take on the difficulty in winning on the road: “That’s where leadership comes in. You have to have a coach on the floor.”

RICHARD Roby will undoubtedly have his jersey retired at Colorado — he has 1,890 career points, which is fifth on the Big 12’s all-time list and third on CU’s — but what will his legacy be? First-year coach Jeff Bzdelik wasn’t sure, but he volunteered this: “Richard has maintained a level of focus… He’s continually working to improve his game.” Roby is 106 points away from being the Buffs’ all-time scoring leader.

HERE’S the word via Frank Martin: He thinks D.J. Augustin is “unbelievable.” The way he shoots free throws is the reason “why Texas can go to UCLA and win, why Texas can beat KU at home — because of who he is. With the game on the line, he can get a shot.” He bristled at suggestions his backcourt has had trouble defending opposing guards. And he said Dominique Sutton only played two minutes because he’d practiced only two days. “I didn’t think he was ready to play,” Martin said. He said Darren Kent practiced yesterday, so he anticipated DK being in uniform tonight.

IS Doc Sadler the Big 12 Coach of the Year? Rick Barnes is going to get support, but don’t sleep on what the Huskers coach has accomplished. NU has won two in a row, getting K-State at home and then going to College Station to extend the Aggies’ misery. Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel, whose team plays Nebraska next, has taken note. “I was very impressed with what they did against K-State,” he said. “… Doc Sadler is a very good coach… They’re playing as well as anyone in the conference right now. It was so impressive to see them go win at A&M, and they did it pretty convincingly.” The Huskers are 16-9 and 5-7 in the Big 12, by the way.

AND if you’re not a Sadler fan, you just might have an issue with college basketball. He’s fantastic. The Nebraska coach’s freshman point guard, Cookie Miller, injured his shoulder in Saturday’s victory against Texas A&M, and he basically blew it off, saying teams get injuries all of the time and he has a couple of experienced alternatives at the point on his roster. With Oklahoma on deck, he even laughed about it at one point. “I don’t think Jeff (Capel) is going to feel sorry for us,” Sadler said. “I hope they do…”

BARNES did not participate in Monday’s call.