Big 12 Power Rankings: December 7th, 2017 Edition

Today will be the fourth edition of my Big 12 Power Rankings since I’ve started this blog. Thanks to everyone who read last week. That post had by far the most views of any article I’ve written this season. Glad people are enjoying it; hopefully this week is no different. If you like what you read, feel free to share it on social media or your go-to team forums. It would be much appreciated.

All of my previous Power Rankings posts, as well as the season previews I wrote, can be found at this link. For any newcomers, below is a blurb I wrote in my first Power Rankings post this season. (If you’ve been here before, go ahead and skip ahead to the good stuff.) The below inset is what I’ve decided is essentially my mission statement for this weekly article.

“Two of my favorite basketball writers on the Internet are Zach Lowe and Luke Winn. I guess I should say “were” for one of those guys as Luke Winn was hired by the Toronto Raptors (!) in the summer of 2017 as Director of Prospect Strategy. Lowe covers the NBA and Winn did cover college basketball for Sports Illustrated. The best part about reading these guys is that you learn something new about basketball, whether it’s a team or a player, every time that you read their stuff. They inform you in intelligent ways without relying on the standard hot take-isms or journalistic tropes. They notice things about teams or players while watching games and then show it to their readers, whether through game clips or data-based analysis, and they do it in a way that is digestible and thought-provoking.

I do not have the talent that these two guys have, but my goal is to provide you with a similar look at the Big 12 every week with my weekly Big 12 Power Rankings post. I will rank the teams 1 through 10, but that’s not really what matters here (but feel free to let me know if your team should obviously be ranked 5th instead of 6th). What I want to provide are statistics, analysis, game clips, or just random observations that I’ve made that help you to learn more about a team or a player on that team. And sometimes, I just might include a funny anecdote or item about a team if there’s a slow week. Some weeks, I’ll write more about some teams than other teams. The bigger the game or a week a school has, the more likely I am to go a little deeper on them. Everyone will get their fair share in the end. Just like Lowe and Winn, I want to inform you and give you thought-provoking and compelling analysis on the Big 12 that you’re not getting anywhere else on the Internet. Alright, let’s jump in.”


Before I get into each team, let’s just talk real quick about how good the Big 12 has been in this first month of the season. The league is currently 69-12. That’s a winning percentage of 85%, which is the best in the nation for any conference. Continue reading

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December 5th, 2017: Game Predictions (Let’s Gamble!)

What a great night in the Big 12. I tweeted this out earlier today.

Yesterday, I wrote about how December can be an odd time for college basketball. There’s random games on random nights, often against low-quality competition. That is not the case tonight. We’ve got four GREAT games tonight. I’m going to dive into all four in greater detail below, but first, let’s take a look at how I did against the spread last night.

Rough. A real rough night. I went 1-5 on the night and 0-2 in the Big 12. I’m now at .500 for Big 12 picks ATS and under .500 for the season overall. I gotta say, the late three by Northern Illinois against Iowa State to cut it from 17 to 14 in garbage time is why no one should gamble ever (click image to open in new tab). Continue reading

Big 12 Power Rankings: November 30th, 2017 Edition

Welcome to the third edition of the Big 12 Power Rankings here at The Big 12 Basketblog. If you haven’t read either of my first two Power Rankings posts, or the season previews I did on each Big 12 teams, you can find any of those posts at this link. Because this blog is still fairly new, I’m going to include what I’ve essentially termed my mission statement for this weekly article yet again. The two paragraphs below were the intro for my first Power Rankings post, and I’ll keep including this for a bit. So if you’ve been here before, just go ahead and skip past the below inset.

“Two of my favorite basketball writers on the Internet are Zach Lowe and Luke Winn. I guess I should say “were” for one of those guys as Luke Winn was hired by the Toronto Raptors (!) in the summer of 2017 as Director of Prospect Strategy. Lowe covers the NBA and Winn did cover college basketball for Sports Illustrated. The best part about reading these guys is that you learn something new about basketball, whether it’s a team or a player, every time that you read their stuff. They inform you in intelligent ways without relying on the standard hot take-isms or journalistic tropes. They notice things about teams or players while watching games and then show it to their readers, whether through game clips or data-based analysis, and they do it in a way that is digestible and thought-provoking.

I do not have the talent that these two guys have, but my goal is to provide you with a similar look at the Big 12 every week with my weekly Big 12 Power Rankings post. I will rank the teams 1 through 10, but that’s not really what matters here (but feel free to let me know if your team should obviously be ranked 5th instead of 6th). What I want to provide are statistics, analysis, game clips, or just random observations that I’ve made that help you to learn more about a team or a player on that team. And sometimes, I just might include a funny anecdote or item about a team if there’s a slow week. Some weeks, I’ll write more about some teams than other teams. The bigger the game or a week a school has, the more likely I am to go a little deeper on them. Everyone will get their fair share in the end. Just like Lowe and Winn, I want to inform you and give you thought-provoking and compelling analysis on the Big 12 that you’re not getting anywhere else on the Internet. Alright, let’s jump in.”


As per usual, here’s a breakdown on the key Kenpom statistics and metrics that will be shown for each team every week. These will always be shown right below the header for each team. Ken Pomeroy’s blog post explaining these metrics can be read here. Continue reading

Bracketology: Post-Feast Week Edition – November 27, 2017

Here is my Bracketology projection following the conclusion of Feast Week. Most teams have now played anywhere between 5 and 8 games, and most have played at least one game against quality competition, if not more. The holiday tournaments have given us many more chances to evaluate teams and see whether they’re for real or not.

I’ve built a bracket for this edition, and I’ve seeded the teams 1-68. I’m also showing who I have on the outside looking in at this time. The toughest thing right now is evaluating teams based on actual results compared to preseason expectations. The perfect example of this is Arizona.

Arizona went to the Battle 4 Atlantis ranked #2 in the country, lost 3 straight games (including one by 25 to Purdue), and are now not even ranked. How do you balance their performance with what we all expected from them? If the tournament started today, they almost certainly would not receive a bid. Nothing is in their resume to deserve it. But, they still have loads of talent and are ranked in the top 20 of Kenpom. What do you do? I’ve basically punted, and I’ve seeded them as a 7-seed. They no longer deserved to be seeded as a top seed, but it’s not like they’re going to miss out on the tournament. So I’ve split the difference essentially for now.

Wisconsin is a similar team. The Badgers are 3-3 with no bad losses but no quality wins. They likely have another loss headed their way tonight, as they play at Virginia. Before the season, I had them as a 10-seed. For now, I have them just outside the 68 team field, as my first team out. That seems like the proper placement for the Badgers at this time.

Alright, here is my current bracket. I’ll dive into what this all means for each Big 12 team below.
Continue reading

Big 12 Power Rankings: November 23rd, 2017 Edition

Welcome to the Feast Week Edition of the Big 12 Power Rankings. For anyone who is new here, and didn’t read last week’s Power Rankings, hello! First, here’s a link to those Power Rankings. There are some good nuggets in there looking back at the first week of college basketball action. Second, below is the intro I wrote in last week’s rankings. It includes what I guess I could call the mission statement for this weekly post. Give it a read before you dive into this week’s rankings.

“Two of my favorite basketball writers on the Internet are Zach Lowe and Luke Winn. I guess I should say “were” for one of those guys as Luke Winn was hired by the Toronto Raptors (!) in the summer of 2017 as Director of Prospect Strategy. Lowe covers the NBA and Winn did cover college basketball for Sports Illustrated. The best part about reading these guys is that you learn something new about basketball, whether it’s a team or a player, every time that you read their stuff. They inform you in intelligent ways without relying on the standard hot take-isms or journalistic tropes. They notice things about teams or players while watching games and then show it to their readers, whether through game clips or data-based analysis, and they do it in a way that is digestible and thought-provoking.

I do not have the talent that these two guys have, but my goal is to provide you with a similar look at the Big 12 every week with my weekly Big 12 Power Rankings post. I will rank the teams 1 through 10, but that’s not really what matters here (but feel free to let me know if your team should obviously be ranked 5th instead of 6th). What I want to provide are statistics, analysis, game clips, or just random observations that I’ve made that help you to learn more about a team or a player on that team. And sometimes, I just might include a funny anecdote or item about a team if there’s a slow week. Some weeks, I’ll write more about some teams than other teams. The bigger the game or a week a school has, the more likely I am to go a little deeper on them. Everyone will get their fair share in the end. Just like Lowe and Winn, I want to inform you and give you thought-provoking and compelling analysis on the Big 12 that you’re not getting anywhere else on the Internet. Alright, let’s jump in.”

Four Big 12 teams have played in holiday tournaments so far this season, and three have come home with the trophy. Iowa State won the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, Baylor won the Hall of Fame Classic, and Texas Tech won the Hall of Fame Tip-Off. (I’m not sure who decides who has priority in calling their Hall of Fame holiday tournament Classic or Tip-Off, but one of you, maybe change your name?). Oklahoma State finished 3rd in the Legends Classic. Starting today, we’ll get to see five more Big 12 teams play in these tournaments, which should help us learn a lot more about those five squads. The teams and their tournaments are as follows:
•  West Virginia: Advocare Invitational — Thursday, Friday, Sunday in Orlando, FL
•  TCU: Emerald Coast Classic — Friday, Saturday in Destin, FL
•  Oklahoma: PK80 Invitational — Thursday, Friday, Sunday in Portland, OR
•  Texas: PK80 Invitational — Thursday, Friday, Sunday in Portland, OR
•  Kansas State: Las Vegas Invitational — Thursday, Friday in Las Vegas, NV Continue reading

November 22nd, 2017: Game Predictions (Let’s Gamble!)

It’s a very light night in the Big 12, as the only matchup is Texas Tech facing Wofford at home in a pre-Thanksgiving matchup. The real action starts tomorrow and Friday, with multiple Big 12 teams commencing play in their holiday tournaments. Before we look ahead to tonight, let’s look back at last night.

Here were my picks from yesterday (click image to expand in new tab). Watch out world, because I’m almost back to .500 on the season. I’m hot! A 3-2 in non-Big 12 games pushed me to 24-24 in those games this season. I’m 12-13 ATS in Big 12 games for a 36-37 overall record.

Capture - nov21 review

Baylor continued their great week and followed up their win over Wisconsin with a comeback victory over Creighton on Tuesday night. Baylor overcame a lot; they were down 40-28 with 18:00 left and faced 15.9% win probability per Kenpom. Their PG Manu Lecomte didn’t play great, going only 2-8 from the field, scoring only 9 points as he turned the ball over 3 times. The defense of Creighton’s Khyri Thomas really bothered him. How did Baylor pull it out? A lot of credit should go to King McClure.

McClure played his best game as a Baylor Bear, scoring a career-high 19 points. Scoring his career-high isn’t what made it his best game; it’s how he did it. McClure has been a spot-up shooter his entire career. Last season, 40.5% of his possessions came in spot-up situations, per Synergy Sports. He only had 15 possessions all of last season as a pick and roll ball handler. Against Creighton alone, he had 8 possessions as a pick and roll ball handler. McClure establishing himself as more than just a spot-up shooter could provide huge dividends for Baylor.

Oklahoma State recorded a necessary win against Pittsburgh yesterday afternoon in the consolation game of the Legends Classic. Pittsburgh is terrible, perhaps the worst team in a Power 5 conference, so that was a win Oklahoma State NEEDED to win if they want to keep any hope alive of making the NCAA Tournament. Losing to Pitt would be a bad sign. It was great to see Jeffrey Carroll back in action looking like Jeffrey Carroll. In his season debut against Texas A&M, Carroll scored only 4 points on 2-12 shooting from the field. Against Pitt, Carroll scored 29 points, going 10-17 from the field, 2-5 on 3-pointers, and 7-7 from the FT line. The guy is a terrific scorer, and I’m hopeful we’ll see many more nights like that from him once we hit Big 12 play. Oklahoma State will need that from him to be competitive.

I won’t mention the Kansas game much here (I didn’t plan on giving it a blurb at all), but dear god. The Jayhawks scored 1.54 PPP last night and went 19-36 from 3-point range. It was the highest PPP a Bill Self coached Kansas team has ever had. This offense with all those shooters and floor spacing is something else, man.

Continue reading

November 20th, 2017: Game Predictions (Let’s Gamble!)

Feast Week is here! After this upcoming week, we’ll have gotten to see every Big 12 team play a legitimate opponent rather than the standard cupcakes you schedule at home in November. We’ve already seen Kansas, Texas Tech, Iowa State, and West Virginia face some quality competition, but that still leaves six teams who we haven’t seen face high-major or quality mid-major foes (and West Virginia will play in the Advocare Invitational this week for some more tests). This is a great week for seeing how teams will look and perform once we reach conference play.

Here’s my results from yesterday and current overall record against the spread. I’m 7-11 in Big 12 games and 18-20 in non-Big 12 games (click image to expand).

Capture - nov19 review

Continue reading