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Archive for Wednesday, March 12, 2008

This week in the Big 12 Conference

March 12, 2008

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Big 12 Tournament changing championship game-night

After this week's festivities in Kansas City, say goodbye to Sunday championship games in the Big 12 Tournament. Enlarge video

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Big 12 Spotlight 03-12-08 ( .PDF )

The first game of the Big 12 tournament, which will feature Oklahoma State against Texas Tech at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, will carry a prominent coaching storyline.

OSU's Sean Sutton and TTU's Pat Knight are both in the beginning stages of taking over programs from their respective fathers, Eddie Sutton and Bob Knight.

"It's kind of a unique situation," Texas Tech assistant coach Bubba Jennings said. "Both guys have done a great job. They're really good friends. I know after games, they talk to each other all the time."

¢Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik, who spent two seasons coaching the Denver Nuggets in the NBA, was asked questions about several Big 12 players and their potential futures in the NBA. His responses:

For Nebraska center Aleks Maric: "He can shoot the ball, he's a wonderful passer and he's very physical," Bzdelik said. "You're not going to move him around really easily. He has a great work ethic from what I understand and that's obvious on the way he's developed his game. There's no reason he can't be on an NBA roster next year."

For Texas point guard D.J. Augustin: "I actually use him as an example to my young players," Bzdelik said. "How (Augustin) uses his body to drive - he has a tremendous taste for the game. He's going to be the in the league for a long time."

Any concerns about his height (listed at 6-0)?

"No, I don't have any," Bzdelik said. "When I speak at camps, I talk about John Stockton (6-1), Steve Nash (6-3), Earl Boykins (5-5), Muggsy Bogues (5-3), Tyronn Lue (6-0). There's a host of players, to be quite frank, who might be listed at 6-0 or 6-1, but they're not any bigger than I am. And I'm 5-11, depending on what kind of shoes I wear. My point is (Augustin) plays big."

For Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin: "He's skilled and has really good hands and that's a great quality the NBA looks for," Bzdelik said. "When we played them here, I was watching him in pre-game warmup. He has a nice faceup shot. The ball comes off his fingers well. With a lot of reps, he could be a real nice perimeter shooter to compliment his inside game. He could have a long NBA career."

¢Kansas State coach Frank Martin said he's tough on point guard Jacob Pullen for a reason.

"There's no relationship like a coach and a point guard, a coach and a quarterback or the manager and the pitcher," Martin said. "That's where it all starts, and if the point guard isn't on the same page as the coach, you're going to have some inconsistencies as a basketball team. I've always been harder on point guards because I need (the team) to understand what needs to get done and (Pullen) relays that to the rest of the team.

"And Jake's a freshman. We didn't need him to take three years to grow up. We needed him to grow up in one month. It's not like high school when you say, 'I'm tired so I'll take a possession off.' The second you do that in the Big 12, you get beat."

¢Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel seemed perfectly content with the location of this year's Big 12 tournament.

"You have Michael Beasley, the best player in the country," Capel said. "You have D.J. (Augustin), the best point guard in the country. Then you have Texas and Kansas, who you could put in the argument for two of the best teams in the country. Kansas City's a great basketball city. We're excited to be a part of it."

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