Category Archives: What’s the Big deal?

2008-09 Kansas State men’s schedule

From the K-State sports information department:

Nineteen home games, including visits by NCAA Tournament participants Baylor, Kansas and Oklahoma, highlight the 32-game 2008-09 Kansas State men’s basketball schedule released by athletic department officials on Wednesday.

“We are excited about the schedule that we put together,” said head coach Frank Martin. “It features some challenging road contests to go along with a home slate that features some really quality programs from throughout the country. We think that it is one that will harden our basketball team and prepare it for an obviously difficult Big 12 schedule, which I think will be as competitive as there is in the country.”

It will mark the fifth time in school history that Kansas State has hosted at least 18 regular-season home games, following the 1981-82, 1993-94, 2004-05 and 2006-07 seasons.

In addition to the 19-game home schedule, Kansas State fans will be able to watch the team at the world-class Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., for the second consecutive year. The Wildcats will meet Southern Mississippi, led by former Iowa State head coach Larry Eustachy, on Thursday, Dec. 11. Last season, the squad defeated Florida A&M, 87-60, before 17,699 fans at the Sprint Center.

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What’s the Big deal? (03/03)

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

BILL Self is beating the drum for as many as SIX conference teams to make the NCAA Tournament. “I think that’s very realistic,” the Kansas coach said. “If RPI matters, I think we have six in the top 35 or something like that…” He believes the issue is the perception of the teams in the middle of the pack in the standings. “In my perspective, if you have a couple of teams that are 15-1, your league isn’t very good,” Self said. “We don’t have traditional powers at 8-6, 7-7… Those other leagues have teams traditionally in the hunt every year. We have as good of teams as anybody.”

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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…”

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What’s the Big deal? (02/18)

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?

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What’s the Big deal? (02/11)

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

A.J. Abrams reminds Kansas coach Bill Self – from a size standpoint and probably because of that ridiculous compression arm sleeve – of Allen Iverson. “He’s going to get looks,” Self said of the Texas guard. “You hope he doesn’t shoot a high percentage.”

MORE coaching philosophy: “It’s a fine line between winning and losing,” Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon said. His point was, his team isn’t so much better or worse than the rest of the Big 12, so it’s the little things that will define the Aggies. After a recent skid, A&M has gotten hot. “We kind of came together,” Turgeon said. “We have gotten a lot better. More confidence, more poise…”

FRESH off Saturday’s spanking at Bramlage Coliseum, Oklahoma State coach Sean Sutton insisted his kids were fine. “We didn’t play well Saturday night, and K-State had a lot to do with it,” he said. “K-State is a very good basketball team. They dominated us in the second half… Our guys didn’t fight.”

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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.”

COLORADO
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.

What’s the Big deal?

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

EXPECT an official word from Frank Martin later today on Jamar Samuels. I’d be shocked if he isn’t red-shirted, but then again, given David Hoskins’ situation, he might be needed for depth. So, now, after typing that last sentence, I’m changing my mind. I don’t think they’re going to red-shirt Samuels. Can you follow that logic?

ALSO, Martin hasn’t read the Sports Illustrated feature on Mike Beasley, but he’s pleased with his star freshman’s progress.

NOW with Acie Law in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks, first-year Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon believes he has several players who will inherit the role of big shot-maker at the end of games. “I think we’ll do it by committee,” he said. Fascinating…

CALLING it his deepest and most talented team, Scott Drew believes Baylor has given itself a shot at reaching the NCAA Tournament — especially if the Big 12, given its RPI standing, reaps five or six berths in the tourney as Drew suspects it might. My thought is six is probably going to be the cut-off, and wouldn’t you know it — that’s probably where Kansas State is going to hover all season.

MIKE Anderson believes Texas is a better team this year than the Longhorns were last year. The reason is Kevin Durant. “They have a lot of weapons,” the Missouri coach said. “I think D.J. Augustin is the glue to the team. A.J. Abrams can shoot it from the parking lot…” Asked if there was a tendency for the rest of the Longhorns to stand around and watch Durant, Anderson replied, “Given what he did, it made sense sometimes.” Do you think a little of that is happening right now in Manhattan?

IT’S still an experience listening to Texas Tech coach Bob Knight. One win away from 900 for his career, he said he hasn’t even given it a thought. “You win a lot of games because you’ve coached a long time,” Knight said. He was asked about playing at Oklahoma State, and he replied, “It’s the same as any place else.” He gave props to John Roberson, saying the guard has played to his strengths, namely intelligence, but he also knocked Martin Zeno for his inconsistency.

GIVE Jeff Bzdelik credit for being blunt. Using only about eight players, the first-year Colorado coach was asked if he expected that rotation to hold up during conference play. “No,” he said. “We’re undersized and not really deep… It doesn’t bode well for playing in this particular league — I’m going to be honest with you.”

JEFF Capel says Memphis is the most athletic and talented team the Oklahoma Sooners have faced this year, but he expects that to change Monday when OU faces Kansas. On the topic of K-State, Capel compared Beasley to a young Derrick Coleman (which I think I’ve said a time or two before, but I digress). He also said that given how well Bill Walker has shot it from three-point range recently, that’s gives the Wildcats a “dynamic combination” at forward. Now, about those guards…

EVEN though it’s not just the Aleks Maric Show in Lincoln anymore, Nebraska coach Doc Sadler isn’t holding his breath about upending Kansas this weekend. “I look at Saturday’s game as a free game for us,” Sadler said. “I don’t think too many guys are going to beat those guys.” For the record, I think this guy is a very good coach. I think he’s gone about the growth process the correct way, focusing on defense and tempo. “Are we better? Yes,” he said.

INDIRECT rebuttal to Anderson via Texas coach Rick Barnes: “To think our team wouldn’t be better if Kevin Durant was here is ridiculous,” he said. “… We had a very unselfish team last year… People look at Kevin last year and think that was all we did… I think people make this more complicated than it is.” Also, Barnes was explaining about how the this year is different without Kevin, and he said, “That could happen a year from now…” But he caught himself, when it seemed almost certain he was going to say “without D.J. Augustin.” Now, I’m not putting words in his mouth, but I’m guessing the point guard — who might be Mike Beasley’s biggest competition for Big 12 Player of the Year — will be in the League next year. Much has been made of how much he idolizes Steve Nash after learning from the two-time MVP this summer, and he really does play like Nash. Wouldn’t he be a good fit as the heir apparent in Phoenix? He’ll probably be the third or fourth point guard taken, depending on how you classify Eric Gordon. It will go Derrick Rose, Gordon, Ty Lawson and then Augustin. Write it down.

What’s the Big deal? (12/10)

Random musings from the Dec. 10 Big 12 coaches’ conference call:

APPARENTLY, Bob Knight now has beef with the Associated Press. The backstory isn’t clear — probably stemming from his recent incident on which he was reportedly hunting on private property — but when an AP writer asked a question Monday, the Texas Tech coach said, “I don’t have any interest in talking to the Associated Press.” Then, once the writer hung up, Knight said, “Don’t put any questions from the Associated Press through to me again.” Just to make clear he was heard, he told moderator and Big 12 director of communications Rob Carolla, “Did you catch me on that Associated Press thing?”

THE consensus, if there is such an animal during these calls, is that Michael Beasley has a better-than-average chance of being named a first-team All-American. Shocking news, I know.

TEXAS A&M coach Mark Turgeon has taken to being back in the Big 12, saying Monday, “I think we’re better than we’ve been,” in response to a question about what the league has shown so far. He had some other interesting things to add, specifically how he’d schedule weaker non-conference foes if he could do it over again at Wichita State. Why? “Because it comes down to how you do in the league,” Turgeon said. And on the topic of star freshman DeAndre Jordan, a probable Top 10 pick whenever he decides to make himself available for the NBA, he said his biggest concern isn’t whether Jordan likes him or not. “My biggest concern is making him better,” he said.

SEAN Sutton says it’s the Big Three — Kansas, Texas and Texas A&M — and then everybody else, basically a big clump of teams in the middle, which isn’t to be confused with mediocrity. The Oklahoma State coach believes, as most do, the Big 12 is much better, as evidenced by a strong showing against the Pac-10 in the recent Hardwood Series. Baylor coach Scott Drew echoed that theme, saying he’d heard a lot of people suggesting the Pac-10 was the best conference in the country. Including the Series, the Big 12 is 8-6 against the Pac-10 this year.

FRANK Martin says you’re not going to find a league with better coaches in it than the Big 12. Isn’t it amazing how much he sounds more and more like his predecessor each day?

PERHAPS Michael Beasley’s biggest competition for Player of the Year — at the one-third mark of the season — is Texas point guard D.J. Augustin, who was just named Big 12 player of the week. His coach, Rick Barnes, loves him. “He’s special,” Barnes said. “… He’s unbelievable. He does so many things for you… He’s a great leader. His leadership skills have improved so much… He gives his teammates great confidence, and that’s what you want from a leader.”

What’s the Big deal? (11/12)

Random musings from the Nov. 12 Big 12 coaches’ conference call:

RON Prince believes everything that is lacking — notably a pass rush and positive play in the kicking game — can be corrected in-house and “are in our control.”

LET’S just throw it out there — I’m certain K-State extends Missouri this Saturday. Why? Ron Prince is being extra complimentary of the Tigers. He called Jeremy Maclin “the playmaker,” adding Maclin reminds him of Marshall Faulk. He said the two tight ends, Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman, are “certain” first-round NFL draft picks. He thinks Chase Daniel is a good quarterback, but he’s impressed most by the offensive line and MU offensive coordinator Dave Christensen. He even trotted out the “Greatest Show on Turf” tag, which he last did following a loss at Oklahoma State. Given all of that, and the fact that Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is telling his team it is “the hunted,” and it’s Senior Day, and the Tigers’ historic struggles in Manhattan, and it’s a national TV game against a Top 10 team, yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if the Wildcats won.

Yeah, I said it. Actually, I wrote it.

MIKE Leach is digging a hole for himself, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he decides to leave Lubbock after the sea-son. He didn’t back-pedal Monday from his provocative comments Saturday about the officiating and an apparent bias toward Texas, which he said was “higher bowl-wise.”  He was asked if he has heard from the Big 12 office, and he said he hadn’t but he imagines he will. Asked if expected a fine, he said he had no real expectations in that regard. But he insisted he had no regrets. “As for specifics, you’re going to have to get notes from those that were in class. … (But) I wouldn’t change anything I said.”

THIS just in — Oklahoma’s defense is rather good. “It’s hard for everybody to move the ball on Oklahoma,” Leach said. Even Bob Stoops chimed in on the topic. He was asked whether he feels any pressure to get into shootouts given all of the high-powered offenses in the Big 12, and Stoops replied, “That’s not how we think. That’s not our mindset. … We give up 16 points per game through the season.”

IS Jordy Nelson an All-American if he’s not even the best receiver in his own conference? It’s not a scientific study or anything, but gauging questions and responses Monday, it’s clear Tech’s Michael Crabtree is going to be on a lot of All-American teams. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said he was asked to submit a ballot for one of those teams, and he said he voted for Crabtree. He may have also voted for Nelson, but he did not volunteer that information (and he also wasn’t asked directly).

GUY Morriss said there is no meeting set up — as of now — with the Baylor administration to discuss his future.

IDENTIFY who uttered the following words: “We needed to make a few more plays, needed one more stop.” If you said Jim Wooldridge, technically, you wouldn’t be wrong. He seemed to say that quite often during his tenure at K-State. But Monday, those same words were spoken by Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione.

INTERPRET this Mack Brown quote in any way you must. “Seeing your team go from being not very good to good is a positive,” the Texas coach said.

WHAT is a week without checking in Dan Hawkins? The Colorado coach wasn’t wallowing in blowing a 21-0 first half lead to Iowa State over the weekend. “That’s life — it really is,” Hawk said. “I’m always the Chinese philosopher in these things. The highs and lows of life will never be experienced if you don’t throw yourself into it.”

MARLON Lucky, who had a strong game Saturday against K-State (then again, who didn’t?), will be “a nice pro back,” according to his coach, Bill Callahan. The NU coach said Lucky compares favorably to Brandon Jackson, the workhorse on last season’s team, and Jackson was a second-round NFL Draft pick. Callahan thinks Lucky is more versatile because of pass-catching skills. Also, Callahan was asked if he felt the Huskers would accept a bowl invite should NU reach six wins. He said that decision wouldn’t be his, but he hoped the administration would allow the team to go, as a reward for the seniors and the team. “It’s an opportunity to finish the season on a winning note,” he said.

FINALLY, here was Callahan’s “endorsement” of his vanquished foe: “Coach Prince does a heck of a job. We have been there as a team. I know exactly what he’s going through. Our kids continue to compete. … He’s a great man. We have respect for him. … There is no doubt his team will bounce back this week.”

What’s the Big deal? (11/5)

Random musings from the Nov. 5 Big 12 coaches’ conference call:

HERE’S something to ponder: according to Iowa State coach Gene Chizik, whose start in Ames is mirroring the start Colorado coach Dan Hawkins jumped off to in Boulder, this is natural. “You take your lumps, so to speak, in your first year and hopefully you see progress in your second year,” he said. Which made us think – what does that say for Ron Prince? I’d be curious to hear your feedback on this, and I’m not trying to pile on or start anything here. I’m serious. I think everyone agrees this year’s team is vastly better than last year’s, but the record might not necessarily reflect that progress. Prince alluded to that Monday: “I think it’s where we are in the development of our program. I expected us to win more games than a year ago.” But he also said he knew it would be the most challenging year of their development. What do you think?

TODD Reesing reminds Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy of former Boston College quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie, which makes me want to throw up. Disclaimer: it’s a BC/BU thing.

BASED solely on the pitch of their voices, I’d say Baylor coach Guy Morriss is bummed, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is pumped and Nebraska coach Bill Callahan is sorely out of touch with reality.

MIKE Leach’s arm aches. But the Texas Tech coach isn’t about to give up riding his bicycle, which is how he broke his arm in the first place. See the type of things that are discussed during a coaches’ conference call?

APPARENTLY, there isn’t much difference between Paul Coffman, former K-State tight end, and his son Chase, current Missouri tight end. Oh, other than the fact that Chase told “The Man” no and went to Mizzou. That’s the word according to Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione, who coached at K-State just as Coffman was leaving. “He’s a lot like his dad,” Fran said.

BY running more north-south instead of always looking to break the big run, Texas coach Mack Brown said Jamaal Charles has become one of the nation’s best running backs again, and it’s hard to argue with the numbers. He’s averaging 119.2 yards per game, which is 15th in the country, and ripping off 6.2 yards per carry.

DAN Hawkins, who was fired up Monday, said Missouri is a “very, very, very good team. Very good.” He says the Tigers are on par with anybody the Buffs have played, which includes Arizona State and, obviously, Oklahoma.

AND, finally, Callahan was asked how he has “handled” the constant barrage of questions about his future with relative dignity. “I just think you have an inner strength,” he said. “… You trust the Lord and move forward.” Please, let it end. Soon.