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Rock M Roundtable!

I'm running low on question ideas, so today we're going macro...

1 - As the Big 12 season comes to a close, tell me which team was the biggest (positive) surprise in the Big 12.

2 - Who was the biggest disappointment?

3 - Which player was the biggest (positive) surprise in the conference?

4 - Kansas and Texas aside, who's in the best shape for 2008-09?

5 - Picks!  Baylor @ Tech.  KSU @ ISU.  KU @ ATM.  CU @ NU.  OSU @ UT.  MU @ OU.

Click ‘Full Story’ for answers.

The Boy: And judging by the auto-reply e-mail I just got, it looks like Dave's out for the day.

The Beef: That does not mean anything...he is a dork...he probably has it being beemed to wherever he currently is (likely sitting at home waiting for his wife to leave so he can have some "him-time")

mizzourobot: 1 - Baylor. Even if they miss the tournament, it's reasonable to believe the other teams would be succesful. But for them to have put together the season they've had, that's a huge step for a program that went through some legitimate nightmares only a few season ago. Runner up: Nebraska (WTF?).

2 - Oklahoma. When you have an athletics program like Oklahoma and the success they've enjoyed in the past, going through this kind of inconsistency and being left behind by the big 3 has got to be a little disappointing. Runner up: Mizzou. Sigh.

3 - Augustine, UT.  With Durant gone, he was expected to be good. Not lights out. That this team is better without that talent is incredible. Reminds me a lot of the Mizzou team after Kareem Rush left. Only, you know, with good coaching and sustained consistency. ..Texas Tech, whoops!

4 - I'm tempted to say Texas a&m because of how they've built the program, but I'm actually going to go with Oklahoma. They have a higher chance of keeping kids and developing them inside the system. And Lord knows the boosters won't allow this team not to get better to catch UT.

5 - Baylor, KSU, ATM (upset!), NU, UT, OU.

Doug: I'm going to answer the questions... first I have to go rub my eyes with soap.

The Boy: Whatever gets the juices flowing...

The Beef: Ewwww.....

Doug: 1 - Baylor.  They don't have to make the tournament for this to be a great season.  If anything, they've laid a great foundation for future seasons, and a post-season trip will only be icing on the cake.  That said, the Bears will almost certainly be in the NCAA Tournament.  

2 - I think it's a toss-up between Missouri and Oklahoma.  If Blake Griffin had not injured his knee against KU, then the Sooners' season would have certainly been different.  And, if Athena had closed it's doors in the summer, I don't think Mike Anderson would be beating his head against a wall right now.

3 - Homer pick alert... Darnell Jackson.  I think a lot of KU fans expected him to be a second option off the bench behind Cole Aldrich, but Jackson really improved during the off-season and has been lighting it up.  I do think Augustine is the main reason why Texas is in the hunt for a one seed, but I don't find that fact to be shocking at all.

4 - Baylor, Nebraska, aTm, and Oklahoma (somewhat dependent upon Blake Griffin not leaving.)

5 - Baylor, ISU, KU, NU, UT and OU.

Oh, and my question for the class - It's pretty obvious Beasley is going pro, does Bill Walker leave Manhattan after this year as well?  And, depending on his decision, where does that leave K-State for next season.

The Beef: 1 - I have to agree here with the call on Baylor.  Their non-con was nothing special, but they have won games all season and would be just such a great story if they were make the tourney.  The side note for me is how much of a trooper Aaron Bruce is, since I believe he has been played out of a starting spot, but he went through all the crap with them over the past couple of years to hopefully reap some great benefits coming down his home stretch here.

2 - I have to say aTm for the biggest disappointment just because I thought more of their talent (both returning and new) and their coach (jury is still out on him, and while he was in a tough spot replacing Gillespe, he did not have to necessarily point it out as bitchy as he did).  I know they lost certainly their leader in Law, but I thought more of them going in.  I thought OU would be a hair better, but I perceive them as being young (though I have paid so little attention that I don’t know if they are...can only name Longar Longar on the team and the freshman Blake...well...I know the freshman’s first name at least.

3 - I am going to go a little different way on a Texas player and go with Abrams.  His main stats have not improved too much (though they have improved hair), but he is handling the ball SO much better than he was.  For a team which clearly values the ball and turns it over less than 10 times per game (And Augustin is just about 3 of those), it was certainly key that he improved (especially since they only seem to go about 6 players deep).

4 - Gosh...I don’t know...I am on record with saying I think NU will be improved next year even without Maric because of what Sadler was able to do.  I assume OSU will be improved as they have finally started to come around this season.  And I am with Robot...I think OU will improve as well.

5 - BU, ISU (why not), kU, NU, UT and OU

The Beef: SHOULD Walker  WILL Walker leave?  I have a gut feeling he won’t, and have nothing to base that on.  With him, I think they are OK, but could be passed up by some teams.  Without him, I think they slide a little more, but I cannot help but think we are seeing more of the true kSU now than we did at the start of the conference season and they (minus Beasley and some of the time Walker) are just not that good.

rptgwb: 1 - I think the easy answer here is Baylor, but to be honest, I was not all that surprised with how they did this year. They always came across to me like a team that could play with anyone on any night if the outside shots were falling. My biggest surprise would probably have to be Texas, as weird as it sounds. I knew the Horns were good, but I didn't know they were THIS good. I guess I figured Barnes would coach his way out of a talented team, but they've put together an impressive run.

2 - All Mizzou shortcomings aside, my biggest disappointment is Texas A&M. I think we're starting to see just how much Acie Law's leadership and Billy Gillespie's drive meant to that program. The current players, while immensely talented, don't seem to respond when their backs are against the wall, and Mark Turgeon always seems to play the "poor me" card after a loss. Remember when there was talk of A&M getting a 2- or 3-seed? That was funny...

3 - I'll go with Texas' Connor Atchley, who you watch and think, "How in the hell is this guy making other teams pay?" When other teams key on Augustin, Abrams, or James, Atchley is killing teams with dagger threes. He seems straight out of the "Brian Boddicker School of Overachieving White Guys at Texas."

4 - If OU can get some inside presence once Longar Longar leaves, the Sooners might sneak up on some people. Blake Griffin is the real deal. Texas A&M has the talent to be in great shape, but they've got to work out all the intangible issues that have killed them this year. Kansas State is a ticking time bomb set to explode when Beasley declares.

5 - Picks:
Baylor > Tech
KU > aTm

Doug: Listening to Kietzman in Kansas City, he seems to think Walker has no love for Frank Martin and if any NBA team guarantees he'll be picked in the Draft, he'll probably go.

Seth's right, with Walker, K-State will slide next year, but not horribly so.  Without Walker things will go downhill quickly in Manhattan.  Just by looking around Rivals and Scout, K-State has no signed or even verballed players for next season.  That's what's really crazy.  Even if Walker stays, Frank Martin's going to have to recruit on a big time level to keep things together.

The Boy: Actually, I think they might be better without Walker...he'll take 25 shots a game next year without Beasley there!

1 - Obviously the three candidates have already been mentioned here--BU, UT, NU.  In the end I guess I'll go with Baylor.  I thought they'd be fighting it out for about 5th place, but right now they're tied for 3rd.  Texas is better than I thought they'd be, but I still figured they'd finish 2nd.  Nebraska...yeah, I didn't know what to think about them when the season started, and I still don't now.

2 - Once again, the candidates have been mentioned--OU, MU, ATM.  I actually thought ATM would fall because of their guardplay.  You didn't have to watch much of them to figure out how much they leaned on Acie Law, and they've struggled at times without their crutch.  OU has more or less matched my expectations of them from when the season began, but once people saw how good Blake GRIFFIN (ahem) is, they started raising the expectations.  In the end, I guess the team that has finished the lowest compared to what I expected has to be Mizzou.  Blame it on whatever (justifiable) reason you like--the Athena five, Carroll's ankle, Matt Lawrence's inability to consistently shoot well--they've still had a disappointing run as of late.  Even before Hannah left or Carroll started really hurting, this team was still a step below what I thought they'd be.

3 - Darnell Jackson is a good choice.  When I saw him play as a freshman, I really thought he'd develop into a solid player.  He wasn't all that smart, but he had a nice array of offensive moves, and he had a lot of potential.  Then he seemed to get slower and dumber over the next two season.  His senior year was certainly a nice bounce back toward respectability.

4 - Mizzou!!!!  Okay, maybe not.  OU's in pretty good shape to make a move, and while I think Baylor and Nebraska are pretty close to their ceilings, they still return a lot of players next year, and expectations will be raised.  ATM will still struggle somewhat in the backcourt.  KSU will tumble, ISU & CU will still stink for a majority of the time, Mizzou will have potential but will need contributions from a couple freshmen (and you can never guarantee that will happen), and Tech will be consistently mediocre.  

That leaves OSU.  You never know if a late-season surge is a harbinger of future success or...well, just a streak of good play.  Even Mizzou played well for a couple weeks in 2005-06.  OSU's young and relatively raw, though, and if they can replace Marcus Dove's defense, they'll have the chance to make a move.  This nice run of good play has certainly taken some heat off of Sean Sutton, but it'll be right back on him next year if they don't follow this up with a hot start.

5 - Tech by 6 (it just makes sense)
ISU by 3.
KU by 7.
NU by 9.
UT by 3.
OU by 6 (though the loss of Griffin gives Mizzou at least something of a chance...or not).

Michael Atchison: Holy crap.  I’m out all morning and come back to find that I’m up to my elbows in e-mails.  Must be roundtable day.  I’ll answer the questions first, and then try to catch up.

1 - It has to be Baylor, doesn’t it?  They’re not all that far removed from the worst scandal in college basketball history, and now they have this stable of wild run-and-gun guards who have them on the verge of the NCAA Tournament.

2 - A&M.  They’ve gone from a 2 or 3 seed to a bubble team in two months.  

3 - Everyone expected Michael Beasley to be good.  Did anyone expect him to be the national player of the year?  Choice 1A is Darnell Jackson.  Despite the rivalry, it’s hard not to be happy for a kid who has endured so much personal chaos and emerged as such an important player on one of the nation’s best teams.

4 - Baylor.  Aside from Aaron Bruce, all the key guys should come back.  Will any team in the country have a group of guards like Jerrells, Dugat, Carter and Dunn next year?

5 - Baylor close, K-State close, Kansas by 12, Nebraska by single digits, Texas big, Oklahoma by 8.