Welcome to the HCS Big 12 basketball mailbag, our fifth of the 2021-22 Big 12 men’s and women’s basketball season.
This mailbag is for all you basketball junkies out there who root for a Big 12 school that not only have questions about your team, but other teams in the conference. So, join me, grab your favorite drink (I’m back to the Tito’s and soda), and relax as I answer all your Big 12 questions.
For those interested, I will send out a tweet (@PostinsPostcard) Wednesday night and you’ll have until Thursday at 5 PM CT to send in your questions to be answered every Friday right here at Heartland College Sports. And our site owner, Pete Mundo, will solicit questions on our Facebook page.
I want to thank each one of you who submitted a question this week and for those of you that are reading. For future reference, feel free to answer questions about men’s and women’s basketball, as we’ve added women’s Big 12 coverage to our HCS content this season.
So many great questions, and we have time for four.
Chuck Stevens on Facebook asks: Which Big 12 player is truly the most valuable to their team’s success?
This is an awfully good question. While coaches vote on a player of the year for the conference at the end of the season, it tends to be more of a ‘best player on the best team’ award. When I put together my own All-Big 12 team, I tend to pick the player that is most valuable to their team’s success. But, to be fair, a team’s success has to translate as part of that equation, too.
Another way of looking at it? Which team would be in the most trouble if they didn’t have that ‘one’ player? That’s how I’m approaching this question for this mailbag’s purposes.
For the men, I think if you took Izaiah Brockington out of the equation at Iowa State, the Cyclones would be an under-.500 team. Taking away his offense would leave the Cyclones with no clear No. 1 scoring option.
For the women, I’d hate to think of where TCU would be without Lauren Heard and her 15.7 points per game.
Michael Campbell on Facebook asks: Are you surprised by how the Tech fans acted towards UT during the game Tuesday? Meaning peaceful and no warnings?
Well, leading up to the game it sure looked like it had the chance to go south, didn’t it? I mean, confronting the Texas team bus on Monday night after shootaround wasn’t the best look. I made the point in my piece after the game that this was the first time that everyone in Lubbock had a chance to direct all of their feelings at Chris Beard — anger, frustration, pain, whatever you want to call it. After three days of camping out, staring down buses and tailgating, I think the fans in Lubbock had most of that worked out. On game night, it really boiled down to two things, based on what I saw — shouting down Beard and supporting their Red Raiders.
I’ve been to some Tech games that weren’t against Texas, and I can say the fan base does a great job of supporting the team without going over the line. Tuesday was the ultimate test and they passed. I’m not that surprised, honestly.
It’s funny — this is exactly what Beard wanted out of a student section when he went back to Texas Tech. And on Tuesday night, it bit him on the butt.
John Madison on Facebook asks: Which teams can make big runs in the (NCAA) Tourney?
For the men, I’m looking at Kansas, Baylor, and Texas Tech as the most likely teams to reach the second week of the tournament. All three teams have health issues, but if they’re fully armed in March they’ll be a handful for anyone they face. I’m not yet decided if any of them can reach the Final Four, though. It’s a crowded field, certainly more crowded than a year ago.
For the women, I like Texas and Iowa State. The Longhorns’ defense is going to travel well. Iowa State has a diverse offense and can toggle through enough defensive sets to keep teams guessing.
Amelia Zang-Carta on Facebook asks: The lingering question I have is this thing about KU’s potential level of infraction and what sort of punishments KU could receive if convicted?
There won’t be a decision this season. That’s clear. We can use Oklahoma State as a guide. The Cowboys’ appeal of their penalties wasn’t decided upon until well after the end of last season. The NCAA has been trying to get through this investigation for nearly three years now, and it seems there is no end in sight. The Kansas City Star’s Jesse Newell reported last month that Kansas has asked the NCAA to work with them on an alternative solution to all of this, but no one is really certain what that means.
I honestly have no clue what the NCAA will do. This is an organization that punished my alma mater, Stephen F. Austin, like a drum after we determined that our Academic Progress Rate had been calculated wrong. We had to vacate more than 100 wins and put away conference championship and NCAA Tournament banners. And we NEGOTIATED that settlement. The NCAA banned Oklahoma State from this year’s postseason for infractions that happened four years ago that didn’t involve a single player currently on the team.
There is probably no single thing the NCAA is worse at than punishing programs consistently. I mean, if my alma mater has to vacate wins for doing math wrong and reporting it to the NCAA, shouldn’t the NCAA throw the book at Kansas given the severity of the violations?
I’m not betting on it.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.