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Archive for Wednesday, February 20, 2008

This week in the Big 12 Conference

February 20, 2008

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What Keegan says

Big things were expected of Texas A&M this season because the Aggies returned starters Joseph Jones, Josh Carter and Dominique Kirk, along with key reserves and touted recruit DeAndre Jordan.

So why is A&M running fourth in the Big 12? No, not because of the coaching change from Billy Gillispie to Mark Turgeon.

The Aggies aren't as good as last year because they no longer have guard Acie Law, who was the best clutch shooter in the nation a year ago, repeatedly turning what looked like losses into victories, including his huge three-point shot over Brandon Rush in Allen Fieldhouse.

A&M misses Captain Clutch, who is averaging 4.2 points per game for the Atlanta Hawks, more than it misses its former coach, who has heard boos in his new job at Kentucky.

- Tom Keegan

Capel reflects on coach K

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is three wins shy of 800 for his career, which would put him one short of San Francisco coach Eddie Sutton, who is fifth all-time with 801 victories.

Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel played for Coach K from 1993-1997.

Capel didn't want to jinx Krzyzewski and congratulate him early, but he had several memorable stories.

"One of the funniest things ever - well, it wasn't funny at the time - but my freshman year before Duke-Carolina at Chapel Hill, we were doing shoot-around," Capel recalled. "It was time to roll the ball over to the managers, and I was standing next to the ball rack, so I reached down to pick one up. Coach came in cursing, asking what I was doing. He said, 'Here at Duke, we don't walk around picking up sea shells.' This guy dives on the floor and says, 'This is my ball. This ball has Duke on it.'"

Capel said Krzyzewski dove on the floor in the locker room - nice suit and all - a few times during Capel's day when the coach felt Duke wasn't playing hard.

Wildcat freshman shines

Kansas State freshman Michael Beasley was named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week. Beasley's 40 points against Missouri was three shy of the Big 12 single-game record.

Best player in the nation?

"That's not for me to decide," Kansas State coach Frank Martin said. "I can tell you, though, I wouldn't want to coach anyone else but him."

Longar plays with pain

Oklahoma senior center Longar Longar missed only two games because of a broken bone above his right foot. He returned to action last week against Iowa State.

"Your first thought is, 'I can't play,'" Capel said. "It shows the commitment he has to this team and the program. I don't know how many kids who would play with a broken bone in their leg. We had actually been treating him for a stress fracture since Jan. 12, so he was ahead in his treatment."

Longar hasn't practiced this week.

Knight dishes out credit

After David Godbold's game-winning three-pointer at Texas Tech on Saturday, TTU coach Pat Knight said he had no problem with the Red Raiders' defensive scheme.

"He had only hit one shot all game. From that deep? Give the kid credit," Knight said of Godbold's 28-footer. "That was a hell of a shot. It's not like it clanked around the rim either. It hit nothing but net."

OSU guard honored

Oklahoma State's Byron Eaton was named the Big 12's Player of the Week.

The junior averaged 21 points per game in OSU's victories against Baylor and Texas A&M.

"He's had total control of the game at both ends," OSU coach Sean Sutton said during Monday's weekly Big 12 Teleconference. "When he's being aggressive and getting to the free-throw line, we're winning games."

Eaton went 14-of-16 from the line against Baylor on Feb. 13.

Sadler impressed with duo

Nebraska coach Doc Sadler joked when asked about the impact Beasley and Bill Walker have had on the Big 12.

"I think most of us would like to have one of those guys, but they have two guys averaging 40 points a game," he quipped. "We have a hard time as a team scoring 40 points. They're two pros."

Game of the week

Texas at Kansas State, 8 p.m. Monday. Could have an impact on first place in the Big 12 Conference.

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