Five? More like three
If the Big 12 Player of the Year award were presented Oscar-style, the nominees would be Alec Burks, LaceDarius Dunn, Jordan Hamilton, Marcus Morris and Jacob Pullen.
We can probably move two to the front of the pack and two to the back. Morris, averaging 16.7 points and 6.9 rebounds for Kansas, seems to be in a two-man race with Hamilton (18.7 points, 6.9 rebounds) of Texas.
Both forwards are the top players on their teams, and the Jayhawks and Longhorns are the only teams still fighting for a conference championship. The old best-player-on-the-best-team rule applies.
But Pullen, who is averaging 19.2 points and 3.8 assists for Kansas State, could force his way into the mix if he continues his hot streak.
His 38-point game against Kansas last week was the best individual effort produced by a Big 12 player this season. His team is only competing for fourth place in the conference standings, but if the Wildcats win out and he comes through with another unbelievable performance on national TV against Texas next week, he will be hard for voters to ignore.
Dunn and Burks, however, are a tough sell. Dunn has put up big numbers at Baylor, and is the Big 12's leading scorer with 20.8 points, but the Bears are going in the wrong direction. Burks, averaging 19.4 points and six rebounds for Colorado, has a better shot at winning Pac-12 Player of Year honors next season.
The Big 12 may not have seen more chaotic activity from its NCAA Tournament bubble teams than last week. K-State impressed the nation by pounding Kansas, Nebraska entered the conversation by downing Texas, Oklahoma State fell way off the radar with a third straight loss and Baylor went from solid footing to NIT waters by losing at home to Texas Tech. At the moment, Texas, Kansas, Texas A&M and Missouri are all locks for the NCAA Tournament. With two or three more wins, K-State will join that group. The Huskers and Bears need four or five more victories.
Baylor coach Scott Drew has to shake his head when he thinks about what could have been for his Bears this season. Had they simply taken care of business and won games against the Big 12's worst teams, they would be ranked and 9-3 in the Big 12 instead of unranked and 6-6. That's what losing to Iowa State, Oklahoma and Texas Tech will do to a team.
Worst TWO minutes ever?
A deeper examination of Carl Blair's performance against K-State over the weekend reveals a horrendous stretch of minutes from the Oklahoma guard. One of the worst you will see from a Big 12 player all season.
In less than two minutes, he missed a three-pointer, committed a technical foul for taunting, turned the ball over twice and committed a foul that led to a four-point play for the Wildcats. During that stretch, K-State went from leading 55-50 to running away with things at 69-50.
Player of the Week
Let's think about this one for a minute... uh... Pullen. No other player was close. The Wildcats are on a roll at the moment, mostly because of him.
Game of the Week
Kansas State at Nebraska. This Wednesday game is a perfect example for why college basketball needs some form of flex-TV scheduling. Last summer, when television executives planned everything out, this one was relegated to ESPNU on a Wednesday night. Today, it looks worthy of Big Monday.
1. Texas — It happens to the best of them.
2. Kansas — It's Selby's time now.
3. Texas A&M — Aggies keep finding a way.
4. Missouri — Finally won on the road.
5. Kansas State — Coming on at the right time.
6. Nebraska — NCAA Tournament contender?
7. Baylor — A home loss to Texas Tech, really?
8. Colorado — Should challenge Texas at home.
9. Texas Tech — Nice win in Waco.
10. Oklahoma State — NIT at best.
11. Oklahoma — At least Blake Griffin is representing.
12. Iowa State — Cyclones keep finding ways to lose.