Big 12 Spotlight 03-19-08 ( .PDF )
Big 12 schedule
Here's when each conference school plays in the NCAA Tournament:
¢ No. 1 Kansas: 11:25 a.m. Thursday vs. No. 16 Portland State
¢ No. 2 Texas: 1:50 p.m. Friday vs. No. 15 Austin Peay
¢ No. 6 Oklahoma: 6:10 p.m. Friday vs. No. 11 Saint Joseph's
¢ No. 9 Texas A&M;: 6:25 p.m. Thursday vs. No. 8 BYU
¢ No. 11 Kansas State: 6:10 p.m. Thursday vs. No. 6 USC
¢ No. 11 Baylor: 1:40 p.m. Thursday vs. No. 6 Purdue
Martin relishes bid
So how much sleep did Kansas State coach Frank Martin get after he found out the Wildcats were a No. 11 seed and would face No. 6 USC?
"Not very much," Martin said. "But for the chance to play in the NCAA Tournament, I'd go six days without sleep."
Enemies become friends?
The Jayhawks and Wildcats will both be in Omaha, Neb., for their first-round games this week. Martin hoped fans from both schools would root for each other and for the Big 12 Conference.
"We need them," Martin said of KU fans. "We're playing a heck of a team in Southern Cal. "I know (KU) has great fans and we have great fans. Nothing would make me happier to see the KU faithful in our corner this weekend."
Sadler settles for NIT
Nebraska earned a No. 3 seed in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and will play host to No. 6 Charlotte at 8 tonight in the 32-team tournament.
"Even though it's not the tournament we want to be in, it's another step in the right direction," NU coach Doc Sadler said. "We'll have 12 guys returning next year, so that gives them something to feed back on."
The Huskers won five of their final eight games to finish at 19-12.
OU benefits from time
The fact that the Sooners play Friday is likely beneficial. OU has been slowed by injuries. Starters Longar Longar (broken bone in foot) and Blake Griffin (knee) played through the pain in the Big 12 tournament.
"In conference games, we've had four to five games that we've been without one of our top two scorers and rebounders in Blake and Longar," OU coach Jeff Capel said. "But the people who know me know that I'm a no-excuse person. You have to find a way to overcome adversity and obstacles, and this team has done that. At this time of year, if you're not hurt or sore, then you're not playing hard enough."
Johnson probable for UT
Texas freshman forward Gary Johnson, who suffered a high right ankle sprain in UT's Big 12 tournament victory against Oklahoma State, should be able to play in Friday's game against Austin Peay. Johnson missed the Big 12 tournament championship game against Kansas.
Capel lauds St. Joe's
Capel was asked what he anticipated from OU's first round opponent, Saint Joseph's, in the East region.
"Obviously, (Pat) Calathes is a good player," Capel said of the Saint Joseph's guard/forward, who averages 17.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. "He scores, he rebounds, he gets defensive rebounds, he leads the break."
The Hawks also have a former Big 12 player on their team: guard Tasheed Carr, who played for Iowa State his freshman and sophomore campaigns. Carr averages 10.9 points per game this season.
Drew's heartbeat rises
Baylor coach Scott Drew was asked what his heartbeat level was when he learned that the NCAA nominating committee chose the Bears with the final spot in the tournament.
"It was high," Drew said. "But when it got to 64, it was even higher. Looking back at it, there was a lot of stress and anxiety.