Chat with Mike Baldwin from The Oklahoman

January 8, 2007

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

KU opens its Big 12 conference season Wednesday with a home date against Oklahoma State. Already chomping at the bit to talk about it? Mike Baldwin from The Oklahoman will join us Monday afternoon at 2 p.m. take questions about the upcoming game with the Cowboys and what to expect from Big 12 play as a whole.


Hi folks! I'm Joel Mathis, managing editor for convergence. Mike joins us from Oklahoma -- hi Mike!


Hey Mike,

I want to know: What can Big 12 fans expect from the six Big 12 south teams this year? Everyone is talking a lot about the Cowboys, Aggies and Longhorns, but what does the conference season have in store for teams like the Bears, Red Raiders and Sooners?

Appreciate the time.

Mike Baldwin:

hello Joel. I'm ready

Mike Baldwin:

Baylor has had three consecutive top 20 recruiting classes and is vastly improved. Texas Tech is a borderline NCAA tournament team with a couple of stars, led by Jackson. The Sooners will be down. They're having difficulty scoring under first-year coach Jeff Capel.


Thanks for making time for us, Mr. Baldwin.

Do you think OSU has enough guard depth now, without Harris and Muonelo, to finish out the year the way they started? Any updates you have on a possible return of either would be appreciated as well.

Mike Baldwin:

Harris is back. He missed one game after suffering several broken bones under his eye. He's wearing a mask and played well in the Cowboys conference opener Saturday. The Muonelo loss could be huge. He was a borderline McDonald's All-American who was averaging 10.0 points a game. They should be fine overall but depth is an issue. It means a lot of minutes for Curry and Harris. And point guard Byron Eatonneeds to lose a few pounds and play more like the McDonald's All-American he was advertised to be.


Hi, Mike -

Just looking at OSU's record, it's obvious that Sean Sutton is doing a great job -- but how are the university and its players dealing without Eddie Sutton? Is he just a forgotten memory or do they realize the legacy that he left? What's the attitude in OK in regards to him now?

Thanks and Rock Chalk.

Mike Baldwin:

Muonelo might be out for the season. He suffered a broken fibula. There's an outside chance he could return in late February but it's doubtful.

Mike Baldwin:

Eddie still lives in Stillwater. He attends a few practices. Sean occasionally asks his father to critique practices. But Eddie is staying out of the way, letting Sean coach. But Sean did a lot of the coaching the last 3 or 4 years and was the interim coach last year for 11 games so he's been more than ready for this job for several years.


What most surprises you about this year's OSU team? What is your prediction for Wednesday night?

Mike Baldwin:

Eddie is still revered by OSU fans despite the alcohol related accident last year. Most OSU fans realize Eddie not only brought back OSU basketball but OSU sports in general. The athletic department was really down before Eddie returned to his alma mater 16 years ago. Some jokingly refer to him as the "Godfather" at OSU.

Mike Baldwin:

OSU lost eight games on the final possession a year ago. They were a good, young team that couldn't close out games. What's been most surprising is this now looks like a veteran team that learned from its mistakes. Wins over Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Missouri State were big wins. And they had Tennessee down late in Nashville. They'll be in the top 10 in today's poll. the most surprising thing probably is the 15-1 record. Most fans probably would have taken 13-3 in a heartbeat


Hey Mike! Is the Cowboy Nation looking for James OnCurry to have an All-American year? Not only in statistics but in the intangibles?
And do you believe that duke guy down in norman will do a better job than that other duke guy did in columbia?

Mike Baldwin:

As far as Wednesday's game, Eddie Sutton never won at Allen Fieldhouse. He came close a couple of times but never won. That's the backdrop to Sean's debut in Lawrence. As a player/assistant coach Sean has been there many times. He knows how rowdy it can get.
You have to favor the very talented Jayhawks at home but OSU is capable of posting a mild upset. My guess is it will be a high-scoring game. I'd pick Kansas 85-81 but wouldn't be shocked if it was OSU 85-81.

Mike Baldwin:

Curry hit a sophomore slump. Without his Final Four teammates defenses focused on him and he never really found his rhythm. This season he's the Curry of old. He's even playing some at point guard. He's one of the best shooters I've ever seen. Perfect shooting form. He averaged 40.3 points his senior year of high school in N.C. He's playing better in every phase and is the unquestioned leader of this team.
As for Capel he has to do better at Norman than Snyder at Missouri. Snyder was your classic underachiever. Good talent. Mediocre results. But it will take time. Capel signed a decent class. But Kelvin Sampson wasn't appreciated as much as he should have been at Oklahoma because his style wasn't as fun as Billy Tubbs' up-beat tempo.


Speaking of college basketball!!
I am so jealous of ESPN covering ACC basketball. I see ESPN is paying less attention to Big 12 basketball.

Do you and people around you feel the same way? Because this extra attention sure steal some Big 12 recruits to other conference.

Mike Baldwin:

The Big 12 arguably has been a better basektball conference than football. No one would have guessed that. Look at all the Final Four teams the league has produced the past six years. Having said that, the league is down this year. The Big 12 will get 4 teams into the NCAA tournament for sure -- KU, OSU, Texas and Texas A&M. My guess is either Tech, Baylor or Missouri might sneak in and get a fifth bid.
As far as recruiting the Big 12 has held its own, exposure notwithstanding. Texas and Kansas routinely have cranked out NBA players. OSU currently has 7 or 8 guys in the NBA. Baylor is getting better. A&M is joining the fray.
The Big 12 has recruited just fine. Getting players out of Texas and California and for OSU (two stars from North Carolina) is proof the Big 12 is doing just fine in recruiting.


Mike -- everybody knows Bill Self is an OSU alum. If Sean Sutton falters at any point in the next year or two, will Cowboy fans be pining for the KU coach?

Mike Baldwin:

Rick Barnes was the first Texas coach to realize if he landed two or three of the top players in Texas the Longhorns could be a national power just like football. Remember players like Shaquille O'Neal and others were Texas products who left the state. That no longer is happening.
Texas, Oklahoma State, A&M and Baylor are signing almost all of the top players from Texas, which produces 10 or more stud high school players a year.

Mike Baldwin:

Funny you should mention Bill Self. There was a well substantiated rumor that money tycoon Boone Pickens, who has donated more than $180 million to OSU athletics wanted to offer Self a "can't-refuse" deal of $4 million or more a season to come to OSU a year ago. Sean Sutton, though, had an iron clad contract and Self said he would never have returned even if offered out of respect for the Sutton family AND THE FACT he has one of the nation's best jobs right now. I also think Sean Sutton is proving you don't have to worry about him failing. OSU is in the top 10 and Sean signed four more players in November, including a Carmelo Anthony-like stud from Arkansas who might be the best player OSU has ever signed. Let's put all the rumors to rest. Sean will win a lot of games at OSU and Bill Self will win a lot of games at Kansas.


What is up with Mario Boggan? It looks like he's been lighting it up of late. Is he the best player on OSU's team?

Mike Baldwin:

Best player on OSU's team? I could argue he's the best player in the Big 12. If you polled coaches and writers right now the two leading candidates for Big 12 Player of the Year would be Durant at Texas and Boggan at OSU. Boggan is a tough matchup. He can score down low and uses the rim as an extra defender. And he can flat out fill it up from 15 feet on in, even hit an occasional 3-pointer. In fact he won the preseason 3-point contest at OSU's Basketball Bash in October. He's averaging more than 21.0 points a game. Boggan and Curry and the second highest 1-2 scoring punch in the nation averaging right at 40 points a game. That is OSU's strength. You try to guard against Curry coming off screens for open looks. But if you spend too much time worrying about Curry then Boggan will get you. Those two give OSU a chance to win against any team on any given night.


Do you really think Oklahoma State can stay with the Jayhawks in Allen Field House after that "cupcake" pre-season they had?


That'll be the last question today.

Mike Baldwin:

Cupcake schedule? I disagree. OSU defeated Syracuse in a hostile environment in New York City, defeated Pittsburgh, another top 10 team, beat Missouri State, a quality Missouri Valley opponent, and nearly beat Tennessee in Nashville. OSU also defeated Auburn, an average SEC team. You could argue that Kansas, OSU and Texas are the only three Big 12 teams that DID NOT play cupcake schedules.

Mike Baldwin:

I enjoyed it. Everyone enjoy Wednesday's game. It should be a good one. The game two years ago at Allen Fieldhouse was a Classic, arguably one of the best sporting events I've ever covered which includes Super Bowls, Final Fours, etc. Hopefully we can have another entertaining game like that one.


Thanks Mike!


Steve Jacob 11 years, 5 months ago

"You could argue that Kansas, OSU and Texas are the only three Big 12 teams that DID NOT play cupcake schedules"

Um, Kansas playing ONE ranked team is not a cupcake schedule?

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