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March 2009

 

Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 23 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference.

Tuesday, March 31

Purdue 27, Oklahoma 22 (halftime)
The sixth-seeded Boilermakers apparently didn't get the memo that the top-seeded Sooners were the favored team with a home crowd advantage. Purdue had a 27-22 lead over Oklahoma at halftime of Tuesday night's Oklahoma City Regional final in the Ford Center. Purdue's defense frustrated Oklahoma, particularly from the perimeter as the Sooners could manage on seven 3-point attempts. And while the Sooners were able to operate close to the basket, they missed 10 shots from five feet or closer. That contributed to Oklahoma shooting 23.5 percent (8-for-34) from the field. Freshman Whitney Hand, who scored 22 in Sunday's regional semifinal victory, was scoreless in the first half.

Baylor advances to NIT final
Baylor continued its late-season roll by defeating San Diego State, 76-62, Tuesday night in the NIT semifinals in Madison Square Garden. The Bears will face the winner of Tuesday night's Notre Dame-Penn State game in Thursday night's championship game.  The Big 12 has never had a team win the NIT title.

The Bears (24-14), who have won seven of their last eight, got stellar scoring efforts from guards Curtis Jerrells (25 points) and LaceDarius Dunn (23). They combined to make 15-of-25 shots from the field and 9-of-14 from 3-point range. Baylor made 11-of-22 3-point attempts.

Baylor leading San Diego State
Baylor, after leading 35-34 at halftime, has expanded that lead in the first five minutes of the second half of its NIT semifinal game with San Diego State Tuesday night. The Bears have a 48-40 lead. Curtis Jerrells has scored 19 and LaceDarius Dunn 18 for Baylor.

OU's Courtney Paris a four-time All-American
Oklahoma senior Courtney Paris is the first four-time All-American in women's college basketball. Paris was named to the five-member Associated Press team Tuesday. The AP started selecting a women's All-American team in 1995. Joining Paris on the team were Louisville's Angel McCoughtry, Maryland's Kristi Toliver, Connecticut's Maya Moore and Connecticut's Renee Montgomery. It's the first time since 2000 that one team placed two players on the All-Amercian team. Moore is a sophomore the other All-Americans are seniors.

Newsy notes, newsy links
* Even though the "dream" season ended one victory short of the Final Four, Iowa State's women's team accomplished plenty. The loss to Stanford Monday night ended the career of five Cyclones seniors.

* Avery Bradley, who will be a freshman at Texas next season, won the slam dunk contest Monday night at the McDonald’s All-American game in Coral Gables, Fla. Past winners of the McDonald's dunk contest have been LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Vince Carter. Bradley is a 6-3 shooting guard from the state of Washington who played his senior season at Findlay Prep in Nevada.

* Kansas State has confirmed that wide receiver Deon Murphy, who was going into his senior season, is no longer o the team. Last season, he was the team's third-leading receiver with 37 catches for 555 yards and six TDs. He also returned 28 punts for 283 yards and a touchdown.

* During a postgame handshake, North Carolina coach Roy Williams told Blake Griffin that he had never coached against a better player. During his press conference, Williams said this: "Please don't misunderstand, don't make this to be a comparison. (Griffin) is LeBron James-like, and he's got such a package of strength, explosiveness, touch, power. You know it's hard to match that." In four NCAA Tournament games, the Oklahoma sophomore averaged 28.5 points and 14.8 rebounds infour tournament games. He made 46-of-59 shots. That 77.9 percent accuracy is third-best in NCAA Tournament history for a player in at least four games.

* After winning at New Mexico Monday night, Kansas' women's team will play host to Illinois State Wednesday in the semifinals of the WNIT.

* The Lincoln Journal Star reports that Nebraska's men's basketball team has received an oral commitment from one junior-college player and hopes that the player's teammate will soon follow.

* Heading into his second season, Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini recently signed a new contract that bumps his salary 68 percent.

* Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman is defending the high cost of tickets for the Aggies' game with Arkansas on Oct. 3 in the Dallas Cowboys new stadium.

* The Masked Rider will make history Friday night at Dan Law Field in Lubbock. The Texas Tech mascot will lead the baseball team on the field on opening night of a three-game Big 12 Conference series with Texas A&M. It will be the first time the Masked Rider leads a team other than the Red Raiders football team on to the field.

Missouri coach Mike Anderson the center of speculation
Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com is reporting that Georgia has targeted Missouri coach Mike Anderson as its top candidate to fill the school's coaching vacancy. And if John Calipari leaves Memphis for Kentucky, many think that Memphis would have Anderson high on its list of candidates. Meanwhile, Missouri is in the midst of reworking Anderson's current contract. Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star writes that Anderson has earned an "elite-level" salary.

Monday, March 30

Kansas reaches WNIT semifinals
Danielle McCray had 32 points and nine rebounds to lead Kansas to a 78-69 quarterfinal WNIT victory over New Mexico in Albuquerque Monday night. The victory puts the Jayhawks (21-13) in the WNIT semifinals for the first time in school history. Along with Baylor's men's team, the Big 12 has two teams in the semifinals of NIT and and the WNIT.

Stanford ends Iowa State's season
The fourth-seeded Cyclones could not stop the Cardinal's Jayne Appel in a 74-53 loss in the Berkeley Regional final Monday night.. The 6-4 junior scored a school-record 46 points as No. 2 seed Stanford controlled the game from the start. Appel's point total was the third-most in NCAA Tournament history. Iowa State (27-9), which reached a regional final for the second time in school history, not only couldn't guard Appel it struggled shooting 3-pointers (7-of-26) and was out-rebounded 45-17.

Stanford 38, Iowa State 25 (halftime)
The fourth-seeded Cyclones were outscored by one player - the Cardinal's Jayne Appel, who scored 27 in the low post. The 6-4 Appel is six points short of her career high. Second-seeded Stanford limited the Cyclones to 4-of-14 3-point shooting in the first 20 minutes.

Linked up
Jenni Carlson of the Oklahoman writes that no matter how well Purdue plays Tuesday night, it won't be able to keep top-seeded Oklahoma from reaching the Final Four in St. Louis.

North Carolina assistant coach and former OU player Joe Holladay said that the difference in the Tar Heels' South Regional final victory was outside shooting.

Mike Jones of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that for much of the season, Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel claimed the Sooners werent' a one-man team - but in Sunday's loss to North Carolina, that's exactly what OU looked like.

Here's the transcription of the postgame news conference following the Oklahoma-North Carolina game Sunday.

Sunday, March 29

Oklahoma 41, Pittsburgh 32 (halftime)
With over 10,000 fans cheering every basket and moaning over every miss, top-seeded Oklahoma built a nine-point halftime lead over No. 4 seed Pittsburgh Sunday night's Oklahoma City Regional semifinal. Freshman Whitney Hand jump started Oklahoma, scoring 17 of the team's first 32 points. She also had seven rebounds. The Sooners' biggest lead was 39-25 with just over three minutes remaining in the half. However, the Panthers were aggressive on both ends of the floor and made it clear that they wouldn't be easy to beat. The winner of this game will face Purdue, a 67-61 winner over Rutgers in Sunday's first regional semifinal.

Jay Bilas on the Big 12
Jay Bilas, an analyst for ESPN who works in the same capacity for CBS during the NCAA Tournament, wrote on ESPN.com about his observations from the Elite Eight games. Here is what he had to say about the Big 12.

* I was really impressed with Missouri and how hard and together the Tigers play. After a trip to Canada in August and after spending the entire summer in Columbia together, this has become a tight-knit group. The style employed by Mike Anderson really tests you, and it can really wear down opponents that do not have depth and great guards to handle the switches, traps and pressure. The Missouri traps are unpredictable, and the Tigers do a great job of trapping and pressuring off of made field goals and going after a rebounder right under the goal. Missouri gives up a lot of easy scores, but that is the result of playing such a frenetic style that forces turnovers and hurried shots.

The most impressive part of Missouri's game to me was the passing and cutting. The Tigers employ a five-man motion offense, and they have great spacing and movement. When Missouri moves the ball, they are really hard to guard and can wear you down chasing them. Missouri does not turn it over much and is one of the best passing teams I have seen all year long.

Justin Safford and Keith Ramsey were a big factor in Missouri's ability to come back and challenge UConn in the second half. Both are mobile, energetic and athletic and both made really big plays for the Tigers. Missouri will lose some really good players this season, but those two should blossom into bigger roles next year.

* One of the toughest players I watched this weekend was Missouri's J.T. Tiller. He is really good on the ball, and he is a relentless defender. He also does a nice job of cutting and getting to the basket off the bounce. He had a career-high 23 points against Memphis, and also had three assists and three steals.

 * The Big 12 has performed very well in the postseason. Oklahoma and Missouri all advanced to the Elite Eight, which was more than the ACC could boast. I still believe that the Big East was the best league, and it wasn't even close. But the numbers don't tell the whole story of the Big 12. Those teams got better as the season progressed, and I'm not sure how many leagues can boast that.

North Carolina ends Oklahoma's season
There won't be a Big 12 team in the 2009 Final Four. No. 1 seed North Carolina took control from the opening minutes and never let No. 2 seed Oklahoma get close to the lead in Sunday's South Regional final in Memphis, Tenn. The Tar Heels' 72-60 victory sends North Carolina to the Final Four for the second consecutive season. The Sooners (30-6) trailed 13-2 six minutes into the game and their offense never got in sync, particularly from 3-point range (2-of-19). Oklahoma sophomore Blake Griffin finished with 23 points and 16 rebounds.

North Carolina 32, Oklahoma 23 (halftime)
The second-seeded Sooners spotted the top-seeded Tar Heels a 13-2 lead and spent the half trying to battle back. Oklahoma shot 36.4 percent from the field and missed all nine of its 3-point attempts. Blake Griffin had 11 points and nine rebounds but no other Oklahoma player had more than four points. Danny Green had 14 points to lead North Carolina.

Arizona State ends Texas A&M's season
Sixth-seeded Arizona State sliced up Texas A&M's defense to beat the second-seeded Aggies, 84-69, Sunday in the Trenton Regional semifinal. The Aggies' defense had not allowed more than 72 points in a game all season and had limited their opponents to 37 percent shooting. Arizona State made over 64 percent of its shots. Texas A&M (27-8) trailed 68-65 with 7:12 to play and had possession with a chance to reduce that deficit but turned it over. The Sun Devils will face undefeated and top-seeded Connecticut in Tuesday's regional final.

Kansas at New Mexico Monday in WNIT
Kansas women's basketball team will play at New Mexico (25-10) at 8 p.m. CT Monday in the first WNIT Quarterfinal game in program history. The Jayhawks (20-13) defeated Arkansas, 75-59, in Lawerence, Kans., Thursday night. One of New Mexico's victims in the WNIT was Nebraska, 54-43, on March 25.

Arizona State 42, Texas A&M 37 (halftime)
The sixth-seeded Sun Devils handled the Aggies defense and made 67 percent of their shots to take a five-point lead into the locker room in Sunday's Trenton Regional semifinal game. Second-seeded Texas A&M, which made 55 percent of its shots, faces an uphill fight in the second half as two of its key players - Sydney Colson and Danielle Gant - each have three fouls. The winner of this game advances to Tuesday's regional final and will face No. 1 seed Connecticut.

Links for a Sunday

Dreams die hard in March and especially when the dream ends one victory short of the Final Four. For Missouri, waking up from the dream was painful.

For Missouri's three seniors - DeMarre Carroll, Leo Lyons and Matt Lawrence - losing to Connecticut was as hard to take as it was sitting on the bench until the final minute as the Tigers' reserves kept the game close.

Three years ago, Missouri athletic director Mike Alden's job was on the line following the dismissal of basketball coach Quin Snyder. The basketball program was a public relations toxic waste dump. But by hiring Mike Anderson as Snyder's replacement, Alden has survived and hoops has thrived.

Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star writes that Kansas' success next season could depend on Tuesday's announcement by high schooler Lance Stephenson, a 6-5 wing player rated as one of the top 10 prep players in the country. He will reveal his choice between Kansas, Maryland and St. John's at the McDonald's All-American game.

Oklahoma freshman guard Willie Warren said Saturday that he's "pretty set on coming back" for his sophomore season with the Sooners.

With Baylor headed to the NIT final four to face San Diego State, sophomore guard LaceDarius Dunn is trying to expand his game so he's not known as just a 3-point shooter.

Iowa State women's coach Bill Fennelly said his team's 8-0 rally to beat Michigan State in the last minute Saturday night was "one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of." The Cyclones' margin of victory was provided by Allison Lacey's 3-pointer.

Auburn trailed Texas for two days before roaring to first place and capturing the team title in the NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships at Texas A&M Saturday. The Tigers now have eight national titles and trail the Longhorns, who have nine.

Saturday, March 28

Iowa State stuns Michigan State with late rally
Fourth-seeded Iowa State scored eight consecutive points in the last 69 seconds to overcome a seven-point deficit to shock ninth-seeded Michigan State, 69-68, Saturday night in the semifinals of the Berkeley Regional.

Michigan State took a 68-61 lead with 1:29 remaining. Alison Lacey's 3-pointer with 25 seconds remaining gave Iowa State a 69-68 lead. The Spartans had three shots to win it but the Cyclones toughed it out.

Lacey finished with 29 points. Her game-winning shot came after a loose ball scramble and on a pass from Heather Ezell.

Iowa State advances to Monday's regional final and will play the winner of Saturday night's Stanford-Ohio State game.

Read all about it
Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com writes that the spotlight in the South Regional final between North Carolina and Oklahoma will be on the Tar Heels' Tyler Hansbrough and the Sooners' Blake Griffin.

Here's what Mechelle Voepel of ESPN.com had to say about Baylor's regional semifinal loss to Louisville Saturday.

Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman writes that Oklahoma's Tony Crocker didn't give up on himself during his late-season shooting slump.

Oklahoma freshman guard Willie Warren was more than happy to trash talk with Syracuse gaurd Eric Devendorf during the Sooners' South Regional semifinal victory Friday night.

Check out the postgame news conference transcripts from the Oklahoma-Syracuse and Kansas-Michigan State games Friday night.

From the observation deck
Thanks to the Big 12 men's and women's tournaments, 12 teams in the NCAA tournaments, TiVo and ESPN360, Your Humble Correspondent has observed hours and hours of basketball (and way too many of the same commercials).

What YHC has always believed has been emphasized during this postseason. YHC thinks that there are dozens of moments in a game that lead to the eventual outcome. It's not just about the scoreboard, baskets and fouls.

Things like which way the possession arrow is pointing, a second foul on a key player early in the game that sends that player to the bench, missed free throws, a missed layup ... little things can add up.

Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale, whose top-seeded team faces fourth-seeded Pitt in the Oklahoma City Regional semifinal at 9 p.m. Sunday, was asked about her team's inconsistency in its first two NCAA victories.

"I think forgetting about trying to win and focusing on the play at hand is important," she said. "(In the second half against Georgia Tech) we missed a few shots ... We looked around and start thinking, oh no, what if we don't do this, what if this happens? Uh oh.

"I felt like we got lost in every possession of the second half and I thought that was the difference. So much at this stage in the game is being lost in the moment."

Baylor's women (regional semifinal) and Missouri's men (regional final) had their seasons end Saturday. Here are some observations those games that follow the theme of woulda shoulda coulda.

* Baylor, after battling back from a nine-point halftime deficit, trailed Louisville, 38-37. The Lady Bears had a 3-pointer that lipped out. At the other end, the Cardinals nearly turned it over - YHC's eyes saw either a travel or a double dribble - but a pass went to the corner that led to a 3-point swish. A six-point swing and the start of a game-ending 18-2 run for the winners.

* On Louisville's next possession, Baylor's Kelli Griffin blocked a driving shot by Louisville's Deseree' Byrd. However, the ball went back to Byrd, who scored.

* Baylor senior Jessica Morrow made 11-of-19 3-pointers as the Lady Bears won the Big 12 tournament. In the team's three NCAA Tournament games, she made 2-of-15 3-point attempts. Shooting touch/luck can go as quickly as it arrives.

* Missouri blocks a 3-point attempt by Connecticut but the Huskies grabbed the short shot and made two free throws off the extended possession.

* Then Missouri had a 3-point attempt by Justin Safford lipped out.

* Missouri's Leo Lyons attacked the basket and pump faked Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet, who had three fouls. There was contact that could have been Thabeet's fourth foul - but Lyons barely stepped on the base line, negating any foul call.

* With just over four minutes remaining, Safford drove the lane and put up a shot off the glass that was just a bit too hard, falling off the rim.

* With just over two minutes remaining, Kemba Walker hit his final field goal. He drove the lane, pulled up inside the free throw line, pump faked and threw in a one hander off the glass with two seconds on the shot clock.

* Walker, a freshman reserve point guard averaging 8.6 points per game, tied his career high with 23. Missouri's scouting report probably didn't include stopping Walker as one of its main goals.

As CBS Sports' Bill Raftery - who is as good as an analyst as there is - said during Saturday's East Regional final: "You never know who's gonna bite you."

No matter how much you watch or analyze or assess, you never know. That's why it's March Madness.

Top-seeded Connecticut ends Missouri's season
The third-seeded Tigers battled to the final two minutes but came up short against the Huskies, who are headed to the Final Four for the third time in school history and the third time after winning the West Regional.

Connecticut got a season-high 23 points from freshman reserve guard Kemba Walker as it took control of the game's pace over the final five minutes. The Huskies' defense limited Missouri to 27.8 percent shooting (5-for-18) from 3-point range and limited the Tigers to 12 free throw attempts. The Huskies were 26-32 from the free throw line.

Seniors Leo Lyons (13 points), DeMarre Carroll (12) and Matt Lawrence (12) were the leading scorers for the Tigers.

Missouri, which was 16-16 last season, finished 31-7 and lost in a regional final for the fourth time in school history.

Missouri trails by six
The third-seeeded Tigers trail 67-63 with 3:25 remaining in the second half against top-seeded Connecticut. Missouri has stayed in the game despite making just three 3-pointers.

Connecticut 44, Missouri 38 at halftime
The third-seeded Tigers fell behind 13-2 in the first three minutes but recovered to make a game of it against the top-seeded Huskies. Missouri cut the Connecticut lead to 30-29 with 5:27 remaining. A.J. Price and Jeff Adriens each had 10 points for the Huskies and Kemba Walker came off the bench to score nine for UConn. Seniors DeMarre Carroll, Leo Lyons and Matt Lawrence each scored eight to lead the Tigers.

Louisville ends Baylor's season
No. 2 seeded Baylor had half a comeback Saturday. The Lady Bears trailed third-seeded Louisville at halftime, 28-19. In the second half, Baylor battled back to make it 38-37 with nine minutes remaining. But that's as close as it got as the Cardinals closed the game with a dominating 18-2 run.

The Lady Bears' shooting was off - 13-of-51 from the field (25.5 percent) and 2-of-22 from 3-point range (9.1 percent). And Louisville, which advances to the first regional final in school history, pounded Baylor on the boards with a 44-31 advantage. Baylor finished the season with a 29-6 record but fans will be left to wonder what might have happened if leading scorer and rebounder Danielle Wilson had not suffered a season-ending knee injury on Feb. 28.

Friday, March 27

Oklahoma vs. North Carolina at 4:05 p.m. Sunday
Not surprisingly, CBS has made the South Regional final the second game of its Sunday NCAA Tournament doubleheader. North Carolina vs. Oklahoma is scheduled to tip off at 4:05 p.m. The South game matches No. 1 seeded Tar Heels and last year's player of the year Tyler Hansbrough against the No. 2 seeded Sooners and Blake Griffin, who is expected to sweep this year's player of the year awards.

Michigan State ends Kansas' season
The defending national champion Jayhawks made a valiant attempt to defend their title but second-seeded Michigan State pulled away over the final three minutes to take a 67-62 victory in the Midwest Regional semifinal Friday night.

Sherron Collins gave Kansas (27-8) a 60-55 with 3:26 remaining but the Spartans closed the game with a a 12-2 run. Kalin Lucas, the Big Ten Conference player of the year, scored Michigan State's last seven points and assisted on the basket that tied the game at 60-all. Lucas finished with 18 points and seven assists. His three-point play with 48.1 seconds remaining gave Michigan State a 63-60 lead.

The Spartans defeated Kansas by 13 points in East Lansing, Mich., on Jan. 10. This game was a battle between two tough-minded teams where every rebound was like a UFC match. Kansas built a 13-point lead (32-19) with 3:26 remaining in the first half.

Michigan State trailed by seven points at halftime (36-29). Goran Suton made a jump shot that beat the halftime buzzer by a split second. The officials had to check the instant replay to make their final ruling. Suton's 3-pointer five minutes into the second half tied the game at 42-all.

Early in the game, Kansas failed to convert on nearly half a dozen close-in shots while the Spartans were playing tenatively. The Jayhawks also committed 19 turnovers.

Kansas 36, Michigan State 29 at halftime
The third-seeded Jayhawks had a 13-point lead at one point and settled for a seven-point edge over the second-seeded Spartans Friday night in the Midwest Regional semifinal. Michigan State could have been down by nine points at the break but Goran Suton made a jump shot that beat the halftime buzzer by a split second. The officials had to check the instant replay to make their final ruling. Suton had 13 points for the Spartans while Sherron Collins had 12 and Cole Aldrich had 10 points and eight rebounds in the first half. The winner will face Louisville in Sunday's Midwest Regional final.

Oklahoma makes South Regional final
No. 2 seed Oklahoma advanced to its first regional since 2002 with a commanding --- victory over third-seeded Syracuse Friday night in the South Regional semifinal. The Sooners will face the winner of the North Carolina-Gonzaga game in Sunday's regional final. The

Sophomore Blake Griffin scored 30 points and had 14 rebounds for the Sooners while Tony Crocker broke out of shooting slump by scoring a career-high 28 points.

Like Missouri Thursday night, Oklahoma took a 20-plus point lead in the second half. The Sooners took a 53-29 lead at the 16:30 mark of the second half and OU was never seriously challenged the rest of the way.

What to watch for
When Oklahoma and Syracuse tip it off in the South Regional keep an eye on how the Sooners' attack the Orange's 2-3 zone. OU will need to quickly move the ball side to side to create passing angles inside and to get open perimeter shots. Blake and Taylor Griffin could do some damage if they share the high and low posts - and if OU's guards can find them at those spots. When Blake Griffin gets the ball in the low post, he prefers to spin toward the baseline. Syracuse's zone might take that away. If he's forced into the lane, Griffin might need to take short jumpers or jump hooks instead of just powering the ball to the rim. On defense, OU needs to limit penetration by Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn while making sure it covers 3-point gunner Eric Devendorf. If Oklahoma is settling for 3-pointers late in shot clock, the Sooners might be in for a long night.

Big 12 better than the ACC
Charlie Creme, the women's basketball bracketologist for ESPN.com, posted 16 observations heading into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA women's tournament. Here's an item he had about the Big 12:

Big 12 vs. the ACC: If the NCAA tournament is the ultimate measure of conference supremacy, then this battle is no contest. These two leagues were clearly the two best during the regular season, but now the Big 12 has four teams left and the ACC is represented by one. The ACC's showing has been disappointing, no question, and says that North Carolina was probably overrated all season, Florida State peaked too early, Duke picked the wrong night to have one of its worst performances, Virginia was just too inconsistent and Georgia Tech, while acquitting itself nicely, was just too young and too offensively challenged. The Big 12 is the better league. Baylor, unlike Duke, wouldn't let itself lose. Oklahoma is every bit a No. 1 seed. Texas A&M, unlike North Carolina, could not be had by an underdog Big Ten team. Iowa State refused to let a giant-killer get two. The Big 12's only problem is that as great as the Aggies are playing, UConn is still in their way in a potential Elite Eight matchup.

UPDATE: Kentucky fires Gillispie
Former Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie has been fired after two seasons as Kentucky's coach. The Wildcats finished 22-14 this season and failed to make the NCAA Tournament. With Gillispie out and Kentucky needing a coach, there already is speculation that Oklahoma State Travis Ford, a former UK player, could be a candidate. OSU athletic director Mike Holder said Friday he hasn't been contacted by Kentucky about interviewing Ford.

Links for a Friday
Joe Walljasper of the Columbia Daily Tribune writes that Missouri's dream season will last at least one more game.

Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com writes that Missouri is winning because of "hungry and humble" players.

Missouri faces Connecticut in Saturday's West Regional final and ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski wonders if Huskies coach Jim Calhoun is close to considering retirement. 

Even Missouri's players are surprised that they've reached a regional final.

Missouri's success this season has made coach Mike Anderson a hot commodity but the Kansas City Star is reporting that the school is readying a contract extension that would boost his salary from $850,000 to $1.3 million per year.

Here's the transcript of the Missouri-Memphis post-game news conferences.

Memphis Commercial Appeal columnist Geoff Calkins writes that Missouri beat Memphis at its own game.

Thursday, March 26

No worries
Here's how Your Humble Correspondent fries his brain cells: He watches basketball games and worries that seemingly trivial or meaningless plays could wind up having an impact at the end of the game.

In the first half, Missouri missed six of 10 free throws (Leo Lyons was 2-for-6). Points left on the table?

At the end of the first half, Marcus Denmon hit a shot from the perimeter (it banked home). The officials ruled it a two-pointer but checked the replay monitor to make sure. The replay was inconclusive but I believe it was a three. A lost point that could be crucial? (Denmon got some justice when he bombed home a 60-footer to beat the first-half buzzer.)

In the first 15 seconds of the second half, Missouri's DeMarre Carroll went to the floor for a loose and called a timeout to save the possession. A wasted timeout that could be valuable at game's end?

While Missouri made its fans nervous until the final 30 seconds, none of that mattered even if YHC worried about it anyway.

Missouri in West Regional final
No. 3 seeded Missouri, which took a 24-point lead early in the second half, kept the CBS viewers interested until the final two minutes in posting a 102-91 victory over second-seeded Memphis in the West Regional semifinal in Glendale, Ariz. Thursday night.

While Missouri's pressure defense kept the tempo high, the Tigers' offense was impressive over the final 30 minutes. All five Tigers starters scored in double figures led by J.T. Tiller's career-high 23 points. Missouri (31-6) shot 52.4 percent from the floor and went to the line 45 times, making 30. Memphis (33-4) had its 27-game winning streak snapped.

The Tigers, who have never reached the Final Four, will be playing in their fourth regional final and their first since 2002. Missouri will face top-seeded Connecticut Saturday in the regional final. The Huskies jumped to an 8-0 lead and controlled the game the rest of the way in defeating fifth-seeded Purdue, 72-60, Thursday night in the first game in Glendale, Ariz.

Game time for the Missouri-Connecticut game will be at 3:40 p.m.

Missouri trying to hang on
Memphis cut 17 points off Missouri's 24-point lead but the third-seeded Tigers are leading 87-78 with 3:50 remaining. Missouri is trying to reach its first regional final since 2002.

Big 12's Tigers leading C-USA's Tigers
Missouri pushed its 13-point halftime lead to a 24-point bulge early in the second half but Memphis went on an 11-0 run to trim the lead back to 13. With 9:31 remaining, the third-seeded Tigers are leading 76-62.

Missouri 49, Memphis 36
No. 3 seed Missouri closed the first half on a huge roll to take a 13-point halftime lead over No. 2 seed Memphis. Marcus Denmon scored the Tigers' last five points. His jump shot from the perimeter was ruled a two and the officials checked the instant replay to see if it was a 3-pointer. It might have been, but the refs stayed with their call on the court. So Denmon ended the half with an indisputed 60-foot bomb to provide Missouri's baker's dozen lead.

J.T. Tiller had his season-high with 16 first-half points. For the first 10 minutes, Memphis had little trouble driving against Mizzou's defense but a switch to a 2-3 slowed Memphis and sparked the Tigers' 28-11 run to close the half.

The teams combined to make 6-of-17 free throws; Missouri was 4-of-10 and Memphis was 2-of-7.

Connecticut to meet Missouri-Memphis winner
Top-seeded Connecticut advanced to the West Regional final with a controlling 72-60 victory over fifth-seeded Purdue Thursday in a semifinal game in Glendale, Ariz. The Huskies jumped to an 8-0 lead and were never challenged the rest of the way. Connecticut had four players in double figures, led by guard Craig Austrie's 17 points. Hasheem Thabeet had 15 points, 15 rebounds and four rebounds for the Huskies.

Wednesday, March 25

Baylor, Texas Tech move next two games to Dallas area
Texas Tech and Baylor announced Tuesday that they will play their Big 12 games in 2009 and 2010 in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. This season's game on Nov. 28 will be at the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium in Arlington, Texas. On Oct. 9, 2010, the teams will play at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

Ticket prices for this year's game have been set at $100 for club seating, $60 for lower level seats and $40 for upper level seats at the Cowboys new stadium. Baylor and Texas Tech students will be able to purchase a ticket for $25.

Women's Regional Semifinals schedule
The game times for Big 12 teams playing in NCAA women's tournament regional semifinals this weekend (all times Central):

Raleigh Regional: Louisville vs. Baylor, 11 a.m. Saturday

Berkeley Regional: Michigan State vs. Iowa State, 8 p.m. Saturday

Trenton Regional: Arizona State vs. Texas A&M, 1:30 p.m. Sunday

Oklahoma City Regional: Pittsburgh vs. Oklahoma, 9 p.m. Sunday

Linked up
Oklahoma overcame the pressure of expectations to beat Georgia Tech and advance to the Sweet 16 in Oklahoma City this weekend.

Sooners guards Danielle Robinson and Whitney Hand led the way as Oklahoma pulled away in the second half to defeat Georgia Tech.

Baylor's Kelli Griffin scored in the final seconds to allow Baylor to overcome a determined South Dakota State team to reach the Sweet 16.

Texas A&M's pressure defense overwhelmed Minnesota to earn a trip to the Sweet 16.

Kelsey Bolte's shooting accuracy helped Iowa State put away a stubborn Ball State in a second-round NCAA women's tournament game.

Blake Griffin and his family are being extremely cautious and protective when it comes to dealing with agents and the NBA Draft.

After two seasons as a role player, Kansas junior point guard Sherron Collins has become a leading man as the Jayhawks advanced to the Sweet 16.

Tuesday, March 24

Big 12 has four teams in Sweet 16
Victories by Oklahoma, Baylor, Iowa State and Texas A&M Tuesday night in NCAA women's tournament second-round games gave the Big 12 25 percent of the Sweet 16. The Big East Conference also has four teams still playing - Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Rutgers. The Pacific-10 Conference and the Big Ten Conference each have three teams in the Sweet 16 while the Southeastern and Atlantic Coast conferences each have one.

Baylor reaches Sweet 16 on Griffin's shot
Sophomore point guard Kelli Griffin's driving five footer with five-tenths of a second remaining gave second-seeded Baylor a 60-58 victory over seventh-seeded South Dakota State Tuesday night in a second-round NCAA women's tournament game in Lubbock, Texas. Baylor trailed by 14 points midway through the first half as the Jackrabbits' defense was stifling. Baylor will face third-seeded Louisville in the semifinals of the Raleigh Regional Saturday.

Oklahoma wins, returns to Oklahoma City
Top-seeded Oklahoma was tied with Georgia Tech at halftime but pulled away in the second half for a 69-50 second-round NCAA women's tournament victory over the ninth-seeded Yellow Jackets Tuesday night in Iowa City, Iowa. The Sooners will face fourth-seeded Pittsburgh Sunday in the Oklahoma City Regional semifinal in the Ford Center. Sophomore point guard Danielle Robinson scored 17 to lead the Sooners.

Iowa State advances to Sweet 16
Iowa State pulled away from stubborn Ball State for a 71-57 second-round victory in the NCAA women's tournament Tuesday night. The fourth-seeded Cyclones had a 28-25 lead at halftime over the 12th-seeded Cardinals, who reached the second round by upsetting defending national champion Tennessee. Iowa State got 18 points from Nicky Wieben and 16 from Kelsey Bolte. The Cyclones will face ninth-seeded Michigan State, which stunned top-seeded Duke Tuesday night, in the Berkeley Regional semifinals Saturday.

Halftime in 3 NCAA Tournament games
Three Big 12 women's teams are playing in second-round games in the NCAA Tournament Tuesday night. No. 1 seed Oklahoma had a 10-point lead in the first 20 minutes but is tied with No. 9 seed Georgia Tech at 29-all; No. 4 seed Iowa State has a 28-25 lead over 12th-seeded Ball State; No. 2 seed Baylor, which had one field goal in the first 10 minutes and trailed 22-8 to No. 7 seed South Dakota State. But the Lady Bears fought back to trail 29-28 at the break.

Texas A&M to Sweet 16
Second-seeded Texas A&M (27-7) advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA women's tournament for the second consecutive season with an easy 73-42 victory over 10th-seeded Minnesota Tuesday night in Notre Dame, Ind. The Aggies will face sixth-seeded Arizona State in the Trenton Regional semifinals Sunday in Trenton, N.J. Texas A&M forced 32 turnovers and got 20 points from Danielle Gant and 17 points from Takia Starks.

Baylor makes NIT semifinals
Baylor continued its postseason surge by reaching the National Invitation Tournament semifinals - the first NIT final four in school history. The Bears (23-14) won their second consecutive road game by winning at Auburn, 74-72, Tuesday night. Baylor had a 74-66 lead with 1:37 remaining and survived a 3-point attempt that would have been the game winner. LaceDarius Dunn had 19 and Curtis Jerrells scored 16 to lead the Bears in scoring. Baylor will play the winner of Wednesday's San Diego State-St. Mary's game.

Monday, March 23

Kansas State loses to Vanderbilt
Fifth-seeded Kansas State had its season end in the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the sixth consecutive time as the Wildcats lost to fourth-seeded Vanderbilt, 74-61, Monday night in the Raleigh Regional in Albuquerque, N.M. The Wildcats, who had a 38-37 lead at halftime, could handle the Commodores Jennifer Risper (a career-high 27 points) and Christina Wirth (24 points). Ashley Sweat had 17 points and Marlies Gipson had 16 for Kansas State.

Kansas State leads at halftime
Fifth-seeded Kansas State has a 38-37 halftime lead over fourth-seeded Vanderbilt in  a second-round game of the Raleigh Region Monday night. The Wildcats made 59.3 percent of their shots and were 5-of-6 from 3-point range.

Mulkey says she's coaching Tuesday
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey was released from University Medical Center Monday afternoon and said she plans to coach the second-seeded Lady Bears when they face seventh-seeded South Dakota State Tuesday night in Lubbock, Texas.
"I will be there (Tuesday night) unless something unforeseen happens again," she said. "I plan to be there."

Oklahoma City Regional loses two top seeds
Top-seeded Oklahoma needs a victory over Georgia Tech Tuesday night to advance to the regional semifinals in Oklahoma City. If the Sooners make it, the No. 2 seed and the No. 3 seed won't be. Second-seeded Auburn lost to seventh-seeded Rutgers and third-seeded North Carolina was knocked off by sixth-seeded Purdue in second-round games Monday night.

Hot links for a Monday
In the South Regional semifinal, Oklahoma will face Syracuse, which is led by guard Eric Devendorf, a player everyone loves to hate.

The Missouri Tigers exorcised the ghost of Tyus Edney with their second-round victory over Marquette Sunday.

Missouri freshman guard Kim English came through when selected as a "pinch shooter" in the final seconds of the Tigers' victory.

After recording the NCAA Tournament's first triple double since 2003, Kansas sophomore center Cole Aldrich had everybody buzzing about his statistical feat.

Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock was not swayed by Kansas' two victories in the Midwest Regional. He says the Jayhawks are not prepared for their rematch with Michigan State in the Midwest Regional semifinal.

Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said that his team had to play at a high level and that Oklahoma State didn't "didn't lose it. We had to find a way to win it."

Baylor's second-seeded women's team had to overcome plenty of adversity to avoid a historic first-round upset Sunday night in Lubbock.

Oklahoma's top-seeded women's team overcame a slow start to defeat Prairie View and advance to the second round.

John Rohde of the Oklahoman writes that, considering the circumstances, Oklahoma State performed well in its first year under coach Travis Ford.

Joe Posnanski of the Kansas City Star explains how Leo Lyons has matured into one of Missouri's best players.

No. 4 seed Iowa State tied an NCAA Tournament record with 16 3-pointers in defeating East Tennessee State, 83-53, in the first round Sunday night.

Sunday, March 22

Baylor survives without Mulkey
Baylor needed overtime to avoid becoming the first No. 2 seed to lose in the first round of the NCAA women's tournament. The Lady Bears were strong in the extra five minutes to defeat UT-San Antonio, 87-82, in Lubbock, Texas in the Raleigh Regional. Sophomore Melissa Jones came off the bench to score 21 points; eight of those came in overtime.

The victory came without Baylor coach Kim Mulkey on the bench. Mulkey was hospitalized Sunday after suffering a reaction to medication she was taking following the removal of a kidney stone two days ago. Assistant coach Leon Barmore took over as coach for the first-round game.

Baylor will face No. 7 seed South Dakota State, a 90-55 winner over No. 10 seed TCU, at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the second round. South Dakota State is playing in the NCAA tourney for the first time.

Iowa State gets bracket break
No. 4 seed Iowa State, which tied an NCAA Tournament record with 16 3-pointers in its opening-round victory, won't have to face defending national champion Tennessee in the second round. The No. 5 seed Lady Vols were stunned in the first round by No. 12 Ball State, 71-55, Sunday night. It was the first time in NCAA Tournament history that Tennessee won't reach the Sweet 16. Iowa State will face Ball State Tuesday night in a second-round game in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Mulkey hospitalized, misses Baylor game
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey has been hospitalized after suffering a reaction to medication she was taking following the removal of a kidney stone two days ago. Assistant coach Leon Barmore is coaching the Lady Bears in Sunday night's first-round Raleigh Regional game. No. 2 seed Baylor is struggling against No. 15 seed UT-San Antonio in Lubbock.

Oklahoma advances to second round
Top-seed Oklahoma advanced to the second round of the Oklahoma City Regional with a tougher-than-exected 76-47 victory over Prairie View Sunday night in Iowa City. The Sooners led by just eight points (40-32) early in the second half but outscored Prairie View 36-15 the rest of the way and held them scoreless for seven minutes. Oklahoma will face No. 9 seed Georgia Tech, a 76-62 winner over No. 8 Iowa on the Hawkeyes' homecourt.

Oklahoma might have to fight to keep Capel
Andy Katz of ESPN.com writes how Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel has become a hot commodity:

"Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione is one of the top five athletic directors in the country. He knows he has to get ready for the onslaught of suitors for Jeff Capel, notably from Georgia and Virginia. Capel has a great situation at Oklahoma. But the only issue is that he probably should be in the Big 12's top three or four in salary behind Bill Self (Kansas) and Rick Barnes (Texas), rather than in the middle of the pack. If Virginia and Georgia pursue Capel as expected, that might nudge him up further. Capel is smart. He knows that Georgia isn't a great basketball job. Virginia has players in the state and is in the ACC, but do you want to be going up against your former coach (Mike Krzyzewski at Duke) or the one of the most dominant recruiters not named John Calipari (Memphis) in Roy Williams (North Carolina)? It's not like Wake Forest, Boston College, Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Maryland or Georgia Tech are dropping anytime soon, either."

Sweet 16 game times
Here are the game times for the Big 12's three Sweet 16 games this week:

Thursday
West Regional:
Missouri vs. Memphis, 8:37 p.m. CT (approximate)

Friday
Midwest Regional:
Kansas vs. Michigan State, 8:37 p.m. CT (approximate)
South Regional: Oklahoma vs. Syracuse, 6:27 p.m. CT.

Postseason numbers and notes
* The Big 12's 9-3 record after the NCAA Tournament's opening weekend. The nine victories is the most in conference history after two rounds.

* The Big 12's NCAA Tournament record the last two seasons is 21-8. The .724 winning percentage is the best in the nation during that time. Only the Big East has more victories (22) the last four seasons.

* Three Big 12 teams have reached the Sweet 16. It's the fifth time in the conference's 13-year history that it has had three teams reach the regional semifinals. The other years were 1997, 2003 and 2004. In 2002, the Big 12 had four teams in the Sweet 16.

* The Big 12's 9-3 record and .750 winning percentage is second only to the Big East (11-2, .846) in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

* The Big 12 and the Big East are the only conferences with three or more teams in the Sweet 16. The Big East has five teams, the Big 12 three.

* In the last eight years (since the 2002 NCAA Tournament), the Big 12 has had 20 teams reach the Sweet 16. Only the Big East has more (25).

Iowa State women win, reach second round
Fourth-seeded Iowa State tie an NCAA record for 3-pointers and had five players in double figures as the Cyclones rolled past No. 13 seed East Tennessee State, 85-53, Sunday in a first-round game in the Berkeley Regional. Allison Lacey was the top scorer for Iowa State with 18 points. The Cyclones were hot from 3-point range, making 16 of 38 attempts. The 16 threes equalled the NCAA tourney single-game record.

Missouri rallies and advances
No. 3 seed Missouri, which built a 16-point lead in the first half, overcame a four-point deficit in the final two minutes to defeat No. 6 seed Marquette, 83-79, Sunday in the second round of the West Regional in Boise, Idaho. Leo Lyons converted a three-point play with 48 seconds remaining to give Missouri a 79-78 lead, the Kim English and Lyons each made two free throws in the final five seconds. Trailing by two points with five seconds remaining, the Warriors turned it over on an inbounds play. The Tigers will face second-seeded Memphis Thursday in the regional semifinals in Glendale, Ariz.

NIT: Baylor at Auburn Tuesday
Baylor faces Auburn, the top seed in its portion of the National Invitation Tournament, in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Auburn. The game will be televised by ESPN. The winner advances to the NIT semifinals in New York City's Madison Square Garden.

Missouri leads at halftime
No. 3 seed Missouri used hot shooting and its pressure defense to take a 46-35 halftime lead on sixth-seeded Marquette in a second-round game in the West Regional Sunday. The Tigers made 19-of-36 shots (52.8 percent) and 5-of-11 3-pointers (45.5 percent). Freshman Kim English came off the bench to score 15 points for Missouri.

Texas A&M women advance
No. 2 seed Texas A&M had no trouble winning its first-round NCAA Tournament game. The Aggies blasted 15th-seeded Evansville, 80-45, Sunday in South Bend, Ind. Texas A&M forced the Purple Aces in 30 turnovers and converted those mistakes in 43 points. Danielle Gant scored 21 to lead the Aggies, who will play Minnesota in the second round Tuesday in South Bend.

Pitt ends Oklahoma State's season
Much like Texas against Duke Saturday, Oklahoma State gave a great account of itself and the Big 12 against top-seeded Pitt. The Panthers pulled away over the last five minutes for an 84-76 victory in the second round of the East Regional in Dayton, Ohio, Sunday.

The eighth-seeded Cowboys had a significant size disadvantage against the Panthers of the Big East Conference. But until Pitt's inside power and rebounding took over in the second half, Oklahoma State gave as good as it got.

Pitt had an eight-point lead with 5:39 remaining but the Cowboys fought back to take a 72-71 lead with 3:47 remaining but the Panthers closed the game with a 13-5 run to advance to the Sweet 16.

Kansas into Sweet 16
With sophomore Cole Aldrich getting a triple double - 13 points, 20 rebounds, 10 blocked shots - third-seeded Kansas had little trouble stopping 11th-seeded Dayton, 60-43, Sunday in the second round of the Midwest Regional.

Aldrich became the first player with a points-rebounds-blocked shots triple double since LSU's Shaquile O'Neal in 1992 against BYU. Kansas junior point guard Sherron Collins, who had 32 in the Jayhawks' first-round victory, scored 25.

The defending national champions were defensive demons against the Flyers of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Dayton launched 72 shots but made just 16 (22.2 percent).

Oklahoma State 49, Pitt 49
The eighth-seeded Cowboys are giving the top-seeded Panthers all they want in their second-round game in Dayton Sunday. Both teams are singing the nets from 3-point range. Oklahoma State has made 10-of-16 from beyond the arc while Pitt is 8-of-17 on 3-pointers. Obi Muonelo has 15 points off the bench to lead the Cowboys while Sam Young has scored 23 for the Panthers.

Kansas 29, Dayton 23
The third-seeded Jayhawks again relied on veterans Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich to take a six-point halftime lead over the 11th-seeded Flyers of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Collins had 14 points and Aldrich nine in the first 20 minutes. Both teams struggled shooting the ball.

Worth the trip
Oklahoma won its second consecutive Big 12 Gymnastics Championship Saturday in Ames, Iowa. The Sooners finished with 196.125 points, just ahead of Nebraska's 196.075. Missouri was third with 195.925 and Iowa State finished fourth with 195.775.

Making the journey to Ames was more difficult for Oklahoma than the competition itself.

The trip to Ames was an eventful one for the Sooners as their connecting flight from Dallas to Des Moines, Iowa, was cancelled.  The cancellation forced OU to fly to Chicago and bus six hours to Ames.  The 1,517 mile journey started in Norman at 8:45 a.m. and concluded at 1:05 a.m. upon OU's arrival to its Ames hotel.

Talkin' baseball
Overshadowed by the first weekend of March Madness, the Big 12's North Division baseball schools went 4-0 against South Division visitors.

Nebraska beat Oklahoma State, 11-4; Missouri edged Texas A&M, 3-2; Kansas slipped past Texas, 5-4 and Kansas State drilled Oklahoma, 9-1.

Wrestling stories
Here are some links to stories about Big 12 wrestlers who competed in the NCAA Wrestling Championships that ended Saturday in St. Louis.

Nebraska's Jordan Burroughs won the 157-pound national championship at the NCAA Wrestling Championships.

Missouri's Mark Ellis won the heavyweight division, becoming the second Missouri wrestler to win an individual title.

A disappointing NCAA Wrestling Championships for Oklahoma State had at least one happy ending Saturday as heavyweight Jared Rosholt won his third-place match.

After two years of waiting, Iowa State’s Jake Varner finally got his championship, taking a little disappointment away from the team’s third-place finish at the NCAA Division I National Championships.

Saturday, March 21

Read all about it
Cole Aldrich's follow dunk of a Sherron Collins miss was the capper to Kansas' hard-fought opening round victory over North Dakota State.

Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star writes that North Dakota State coach Saul Phillips' prideful decision to not play a zone defense cost his team a chance to upset Kansas.

Byron Eaton's three-point play lifted Oklahoma State past Tennessee and into the second round.

Missouri's front court duo of Leo Lyons and DeMarre Carroll proved too much for Cornell in Friday's first-round game.

Great story on Cole Aldrich's parents. His father Walt lost his job as a union sheet metal worker last year and his mother Kathy has watched the number of employees dwindle in half at her embroidery business.

Kansas State's season ended with a lopsided second-round NIT loss at San Diego State Friday night.

Great read on Baylor assistant coach Leon Barmore who came out of retirement to help his former player and assistant Kim Mulkey.
Here are the links to postgame quotes from the Oklahoma State-Tennessee, Kansas-North Dakota State and Missouri-Cornell games.

Bears not hibernating
Baylor is continuing its strong postseason in the NIT. The Bears are rolling in the second round at Virginia Tech Saturday. Midway through the second half, Baylor has a 57-33 lead over the Hokies of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Bears have been lighting it up, making nearly 65 percent of their shots. Seven-foot center Josh Lomers is 5-of-5 from the field and has 12 points.

With Kansas State losing in the second round at San Diego State Friday night, Baylor is the only Big 12 team left in the NIT. Assuming the Bears hold on, they'll advance to the NIT quarterfinals and will face  Auburn. The winner of that game will advance to the NIT semifinals in New York's Madison Square Garden.

Sadler on CBS College Sports
Nebraska coach Doc Sadler will be a guest analyst this weekend on CBS College Sports. Sadler will appear on March Madness Central, a show that will consist of live look-ins on NCAA Tournament games in progress, bracket breakdowns plus fan participation via phone. Sadler will be on the show from 6:30-10:30 p.m. CT Saturday and 2:30-7 p.m. Sunday. He also will appear on the NCAA Highlight Show from 10-11 p.m. Saturday and 7-8 p.m. Sunday.

Texas might be without Gary Johnson
Texas junior forward Gary Johnson is considered questionable for Saturday's game against second-seeded Duke in the NCAA Tournament East Regional. Johnson, who suffered an ankle injury three weeks ago that kept him out of a few games, is suffering from back spasms. In the Longhorns' first-round victory over Minnesota, Johnson had no points and two rebounds; he played just two minutes in the second half.

Friday, March 20

Read all about it
If you want to check out the news conference quotes from Thursday's first-round games, here are the links for Texas-Minnesota and Oklahoma-Morgan State.

Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman writes that Texas relied on familiar, experienced players in its first-round victory.

Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World writes that Oklahoma had a scary moment when Blake Griffin was flipped in the second half of Thursday's first-round game with Morgan State.

Byran Davis was Texas A&M's leading scorer in the Aggies' opening-round victory but he relished his over-the-head circus shot.

Mike Jones of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says that Texas guard A.J. Abrams enjoyed the open looks he had against Minnesota's defense in the Longhorns' first-round victory.

Thursday, March 19 

BCS or NCAA Tournament?
Oklahoma vs. Michigan? What is this a Bowl Championship Series game?

The second-seeded Sooners face the 10th-seeded Wolverines Saturday in the second round of the South Regional in Kansas City's Sprint Center with a trip to the regional semifinals on the line It's a game that matches two schools with storied football programs.

The teams have met once in football with Oklahoma defeating Michigan 14-6 in the 1976 Orange Bowl.

Here's a short football tale of the tape:
Category                         Oklahoma             Michigan
All-time record                  791-297-53            827-295-36
National championships       7                            11
Bowl appearances            42                            39
Bowl victories                    24                            19
Famous fight song          Boomer Sooner       Hail To The Victors

Back in action
Referee Gerry Pollard, who suffered a strained hamstring and had to give way to the alternate in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship, was back in action. He was one of the officials working the Morgan State-Oklahoma game first-round NCAA Tournament game in Kansas City Thursday night.

Flirty turtle
The Maryland Terps, naturally, have a turtle for their mascot. The person in the turtle costume must be lonely.

Big 12 intern and video expert Melanie Weiser was sitting courtside at the Sprint Center in Kansas City Thursday. The turtle spied her and brought his hand to the side of his head in the universal sign for "call me." Then he grabbed her phone and made a call ... to her mother.

The turtle started walking off with the phone and the people setting next to Melanie playfully yelled, "No means no."

Read all about it
If you want to check out the news conference quotes from Thursday's Texas A&M-BYU first-round game, here's the link.

Texas A&M advances
Ninth-seeded Texas A&M took the lead from the start and easily knocked of No. 8 seed BYU, 79-66, Thursday in the first-round of the West Regional. The Aggies (24-9), will face the winner of the No. 1 seed Connecticut vs. No. 16 seed Chattanooga. A&M has defeated the Cougars each of the last two seasons in the NCAA Tournament. 

Loud but not proud
A group of Cal State Northridge students and alums occupying the front row opposite the team benches in the Sprint Center in Kansas City covered themselves in shame during their team's game with Memphis Thursday.

Your Humble Correspondent certainly understands the passion generated by the NCAA Tournament, but the dozen or so over-served "fans" peppered their comments with profanities and homophobic chants that started with the opening tip and lasted throughout the game.

To paraphrase Ron Burgundy, you stay classy, Northridge.

Texas A&M 42, BYU 30
Hot shooting and stingy defense sparked Texas A&M to a 12-point halftime lead over BYU in the first round of the West Region in Philadelhia. The Aggies made 17-of-30 shots (56.7 percent) while holding the Cougars to 35.5 percent shooting (11-of-31). BYU was hot from 3-point range, making 6-of-9 attempts.

The best and the worst
ESPN.com's Pat Forde annually breaks down the NCAA Tournament bracket by providing the best case and worst case scenarios for each team. Here's his take on the six Big 12 teams in the bracket.

Oklahoma State
Best Case:
James Anderson is making 3s and getting to the line. Byron Eaton is barging into the lane. The Committee, as Travis Ford calls his interior players, is holding its own. The pace is wreaking havoc. And the Cowboys are stunning Pittsburgh in the second round and Xavier in the third to force a regional showdown with Duke - which they lose, but everyone loves the run. Meanwhile, Oklahoma is upset in the second round and T. Boone Pickens' stock portfolio takes a turn for the better.

Worst Case: Team that surrendered 94 to Michigan State, 98 to Baylor, 97 to Missouri and 99 to Texas waves at the Volunteers as they rush unimpeded to the basket as well. Tennessee scores in triple digits in a first-round whomping of the Cowboys, who lose five seniors and have Anderson turn pro as well. Oklahoma wins it all. Ford leaves after a year to replace Billy Gillispie at Kentucky. T. Boone's stocks continue to swoon.

Texas
Best Case:
Longhorns find some long-missing consistency. Forward Connor Atchley relocates his game. Dogus Balbay pushes the tempo. A.J. Abrams bombs away. The big men flex. Horns hook their way to the regional final before losing to Pittsburgh.

Worst Case: Team that hasn't won more than three in a row since the first half of December isn't going on any run now. Longhorns were just 7-7 down the stretch. They can't exploit Tubby Smith's tight defense and are taken down by the Gophers in the first round, their earliest exit from the NCAAs in four years. Texas A&M goes on unexpected run to the Sweet 16.

Kansas
Best Case:
Winning begets winning, and the Jayhawks don't need no Mario to repeat as champions. Cole Aldrich dominates inside to defeat Michigan State and Louisville and reach the Final Four. Once there, Sherron Collins hits buzzer-beating 3 to tie Memphis after the Tigers miss free throws, fail to call a timeout and fail to foul Collins before the shot. After dispatching Memphis, Kansas draws North Carolina in the title game. Ol' Roy is still puckered from last year, and the Jayhawks win it all again. School bumps Phog Allen's name off the Fieldhouse and calls it the Self Center. Missouri loses early, and Mike Anderson leaves for Alabama.

Worst Case: Bison Bummer II. Jayhawks sleepwalk into early tip-off and are stunned in the first round by North Dakota State on a hook shot by whichever player most closely resembles Chris McNaughton, the kid from the other Bison (Bucknell) who eliminated Kansas in 2005. Understanding Kansas fans shove Bill Self back onto the hot seat a year removed from winning it all. Missouri makes the Final Four and signs Anderson to 10-year contract. Aldrich and Collins turn pro.

Oklahoma
Best Case:
Blake Griffin becomes the larger and more muscled version of Stephen Curry, throwing the Sooners on his sculpted back and carrying them to the Final Four. He averages 25 points and 15 rebounds, and with Willie Warren back to taking good shots and Austin Johnson back to creating with his passing, Oklahoma gets its groove back. Despite losing to Pittsburgh in the national semifinals, it's one of the best seasons in school history. After it's over, AD Joe Castiglione convinces Jeff Capel to stay. (Convincing Griffin to stay is another matter.)

Worst Case: Last-season slide that resulted in losing four of their last six continues for the Sooners. They're stunned in the first round by Morgan State, which frustrates Griffin with double-teams the way Missouri did earlier this month and Louisville did last year. Not only does Griffin go pro, but Warren unwisely follows. Capel has his choice of other jobs and takes one of them. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State and Texas both go further than the Sooners.

Texas A&M
Best Case:
Josh Carter is a morning person, dropping seven 3s on groggy BYU in the second-earliest tip-off of the entire tournament. Then he does the same thing to UConn in Round 2, and the Aggies catch a break by meeting 13th-seeded Mississippi State in a maroon-intensive Sweet 16 game. By the time A&M is done with the Bulldogs, the Aggies are having midnight yell practice in Glendale. Loss to Memphis in regional final finally stops all the yelling.

Worst Case: If the Aggies can surrender 29 straight points to the third-leading scorer on a 14-19 team, how many can they give up to Lee Cummard, Jimmer Fredette or Jonathan Tavernari, all of whom average more than Mike Singletary? Let's go for 30 straight in a BYU victory. Afterward, A&M coach Mark Turgeon gets an engraved invitation to a coach's clinic on how to deny an offensive player the ball.

Missouri
Best Case:
Relentless pressure defense and constant trapping totally overwhelm Cornell and wear down Marquette, and when coach Mike Anderson faces familiar opponent John Calipari in the regional semifinals, he's ready. Anderson's Tigers force nine turnovers from freshman Tyreke Evans and bounce into the regional final, where they run the legs off Hasheem Thabeet and Jeff Adrien on their way to the first Final Four in school history. Anderson signs 10-year contract extension. Kansas loses to North Dakota State. All-night party breaks out on the quad.

Worst Case: After wobbling past Cornell, Tigers are gifted with the presence of 11th-seeded Utah State in the second round -- and blow the opportunity. Mizzou falls behind by 15 early, shoots 29 percent from the field, fails to force turnovers and slinks out of Boise badly beaten. Anderson answers call to return to his home state and coach Alabama. Kansas repeats as national champion. On campus, one of the columns in the quad tips over and squashes three coeds.

Hot hoops links
Forbes.com ranked the top 20 most valuable college basketball teams and one Big 12 team made the list.

Two solid NIT victories for Big 12 teams Wednesday night. Kansas State knocked off Illinois State in overtime while Baylor beat Georgetown - the Bears' first postseason victory since 1950.

Even if it is a rematch of last year's game, Texas A&M is happy to be in the NCAA Tournament and facing BYU today in Philadelphia.

Senior Josh Carter, the only Texas A&M player to play in four NCAA Tournament games, recounts his most memorable moments of the postseason.

Oklahoma State's Obi Muonelo regained his confidence and aggressive style of play in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship.

Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman writes that Texas junior forward Damian James is an enigma whose production is a key to the Longhorns' NCAA Tournament chances.

Kansas coach Bill Self says that the Jayhawks aren't defending anything even though they're the defending national champions.

Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman notes that Oklahoma has a once-in-a-generation player in Blake Griffin, which means the Sooners need to make the most of this NCAA Tournament opportunity.

Oklahoma senior point guard Austin Johnson might be the Sooners' MVP - most vital player.

Grid links
Texas Tech coach Mike Leach rips NFL coaches who say that a quarterback like Graham Harrell should be downgraded because he didn't take direct snaps from center in college.

What economic crisis? Ticket prices for games involving Big 12 teams at the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium are expensive.

Former Miami (Fla.) quarterback Robert Marve is considering Nebraska as one the schools he'd like to attend.

Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com has an interesting Q and A with Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin.

Wednesday, March 18

Linked up
Todd Wright, the strength and conditioning coach for Texas' basketball team, got his start in college athletics when his boss fired him.

Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman writes that OU men's coach Jeff Capel is a fan of OU women's coach Sherri Coale and vice versa.

When Texas faces Minnesota in Thursday's first round of the NCAA Tournament, it will be a coaching matchup of old friends - the Longhorns' Rick Barnes and the Gophers' Tubby Smith.

Twins Marcus and Markieff Morris are Kansas freshmen who compete on and off the court.

Missouri senior forward DeMarre Carroll dreamed of leading the Tigers into the NCAA Tournament.

Bracket varieties
Even President Obama has jumped in the pool. Thanks to ESPN, the commander-in-chief filled out an NCAA Tournament bracket on the air. His Final Four selections: Louisville, Memphis, Pitt and North Carolina with the Tar Heels winning it all.

And for variety's sake, here are two other "brackets" based on academics and pay scales.


 

Wendell will be blogging on the special Courtside Blog at the 2009 Phillips 66 Men's Basketball Championships. Check it out here

Sunday, March 8

Wrestling with a tie
For the first time in Big 12 Conference history, wrestling has co-champs. Nebraska and Iowa State tied for the team title Saturday in Lincoln, Neb. You can read more about it here, here, here and here.

Saturday, March 7

Bubble watch
Here's a look at some of the games around the country that could have an impact on NCAA Tournament hopes of Big 12 teams who are on the bubble.

Games that helped Big 12 teams
Seton Hall 67, Cincinnati 63 (OT):
If the Bearcats had any chance (outside of winning the Big East tournament) it's probably gone after losing their regular-season finale.

Virginia 68, Maryland 63: The Terps are 18-12 overall and 7-9 in the Atlantic Coast Conference losing to a bad Cavaliers team probably sent Maryland to the NIT.

Florida 60, Kentucky 53: Speaking of NIT, that's where Kentucky is probably headed. A late-season collapse has left the Wildcats with a 19-12 overall record.

Massachusetts 72, Rhode Island 71: If Oklahoma State gets an at-large bid, coach Travis Ford might want to thank his former team. The Minutemen's victory might have shoved Rhode Island (a team Oklahoma State beat in December) off the bubble.

Iowa 75, Penn State 67 (OT): The Nittany Lions are probably in the bracket but losting to the Hawkeyes means Penn State (21-10, 10-8) can't afford to lose in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament.

Illinois State 73, Creighton 49: This result in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament might cost the league a bid. The tourney winner gets the automatic bid. Creighton's blowout loss in the semifinals might keep the Bluejays out of the tourney as an at-large team.

Games that hurt Big 12 teams
New Mexico 74, Wyoming 73:
The Lobos' victory on the road might have assured New Mexico of a spot in the field.

Arizona 101, Stanford 87: The Wildcats (19-12, 9-9) ended a four-game losing streak but they probably need to with a couple of games in the Pac-10 tournament.

Michigan 67, Minnesota 64: The Wolverines might have clinched an NCAA Tournament bid. The Gophers' chances of dancing are probably done.

Big 12 tourney tidbits
The regular season is over and the pairings are set for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship. Here are some early thoughts and observations as we wait for Wednesday's first-round games.

Quick turnarounds: Saturday's games helped set the pairings but there will be some repeat match ups and some potential repeat match ups. Nebraska, which won at Baylor Saturday, will face the Bears Wednesday in the first round. On Day Two there are three potential rematches - If Colorado defeats Texas in the first round, the Buffaloes will face Kansas State; the Wildcats beat Colorado Saturday. If Oklahoma state defeats Iowa State, the Cowboys would face Oklahoma in a rematch of Saturday's Bedlam game in Norman. And if Texas A&M beats Texas Tech, the Aggies will face a Missouri team they defeated Saturday in College Station.

First round history lessons: Baylor and Nebraska have faced each other twice in the Big 12 tournament with each team winning once. The last meeting game in 2000. ... Texas has a 2-1 edge over Colorado. The Buffaloes won the last meeting, upsetting the sixth-seeded Longhorns in 2005. ... Oklahoma State has a 2-1 edge over Iowa State. ... Texas A&M and Texas Tech have faced each other once - the Red Raiders won in a 2002 first-round game.

Crystal ball gazing: Not to get ahead of ourselves, but let's consider some juicy matchups later this week. Friday night's semifinals could be Oklahoma vs. Missouri (the Tigers beat the Sooners Wednesday night) and Kansas vs. Kansas State. The Wildcats are 0-6 against the Jayhawks in the Big 12 tourney. Another semifinal match up could be Kansas vs. Texas. The Jayhawks beat the Longhorns by 10 Saturday in Lawrence. Those teams have met in the last three tourney title games. And if the seeds hold true, the championship game will match No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 2 Oklahoma. The Jayhawks won in Norman on Feb. 23 but the Sooners were without Blake Griffin.

Friday, March 6

Links to help you avoid work
Face it - spring fever is catching. Next week at this time, you'll be avoiding work so you can watch dozens of conference tournament games and a week after that you'll be taking a loooooooong lunch for the second day of March Madness. So get a head start. Let your boss think you're hard at work while you click and read about the Big 12.

Seth Davis of SI.com has picked an "All-Glue Team" each of the last 10 seasons. "All-Glue" players make the players around them better. Two Big 12 players made the team.
Former Texas Tech basketball coach Bob Knight spoke to the South Carolina football team this week. Knight was in Columbia, S.C., to work as a basketball analyst on an ESPN telecast.
Here's an analysis of what to expect in spring football in the Big 12 thanks to Pete Fiutak of the outstanding CollegeFootballNews.com.
ESPN.com's Big 12 blogger Tim Griffin takes a look at each team's quarterback situation heading into spring practices.
According to Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com, former Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie appears to be wearing out his welcome in Kentucky.
Joe Waljasper of the Columbia Daily Tribune writes that the Tigers have finally established a homecourt advantage in Mizzou Arena.
Steven M. Sipple of the Lincoln Journal Star catches up with former Nebraska coach Frank Solich, who is thankful that he has a head coaching job at Ohio University.
Turns out Texas Tech's players were fired up for their upset of Kansas by comments made by Jayhawks' point guard Sherron Collins.
Former Oklahoma State guard Randy Rutherford, a key component on the Cowboys' 1995 Final Four team, is now a high school coach in Tulsa.
The co-creator of the large "John Brown poster" that was displayed at the Missouri game in Allen Fieldhouse explains how the sign came to be.

Even though junior Jerrod Johnson appears to be Texas A&M's starting quarterback, Aggies coach Mike Sherman is keeping his promise to Ryan Tannehill and will allow the QB-turned-wide receiver to get snaps at quarterback during spring practice.

Thursday, March 5

Linking up
ESPN.com, as part of its Pilgrimage Series, had a writer visit Kansas' Allen Fieldhouse, which was described as, "Part hoops mecca, part Smithsonian, all Kansas."

Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock says that Missouri coach Mike Anderson is in the hunt for Big 12 and national coach of the year honors.

Darren Everson of the Wall Street Journal writes that winning a road game in college basketball is one of the toughest challenges in sports. After Wednesday night, Kansas and Oklahoma would no doubt agree.

If you need a dose of national perspective, Luke Winn of SI.com asks and answers 10 questions regarding the NCAA Tournament as Selection Sunday looms a week from Sunday.

Wednesday, March 4

Wacky Wednesday
Men's Division
Kansas loses, wins:
The Jayhawks lost their third-consecutive trip to Lubbock as Texas Tech rode accurate 3-point shooting to an 84-65 upset. The Red Raiders made 15-of-27 from behind the line with senior Alan Voskuil making 9-of-14 and scoring a career-high 35 points. Kansas, however, clinched a share of the Big 12 regular-season title. How come? Keep reading.

Missouri bounces back, bounces Oklahoma: The Tigers rebounded from a 25-point loss at Kansas Sunday but stunning the Sooners, 73-64, in Columbia. The victory lifts Missouri into a second-place tie with OU with 12-3 conference records. Oklahoma (26-4) has lost three of its last four and might be losing a grip on a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Aggies survive: Texas A&M won its fifth consecutive game by ralling to beat hard-luck Colorado. The Aggies trailed by 13-2 early and by eight points at halftime. A&M made eight of its last 10 free throws. Senior Josh Carter (4-of-8) and B.J. Holmes (4-of-7) combined to make 8-of-15 3-pointers for the Aggies. The  Buffaloes are 9-20 and 1-14 in conference play. Eight of Colorado's Big 12 losses have been by 10 points or fewer.

Women's Division
Road ambush:
No. 16 Texas lost at No. 21 Kansas State in a game matching two slumping teams. Texas has lost four of its last five and ends the regular season by entertaining Big 12 champion Oklahoma. The Wildcats has lost three of its last five. Kansas State point guard Shalee Lehning, who has been trying to recover from mononucleosis, started for the Wildcats. In 39 minutes, she had 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Road ambush, Part 2: Kansas has recovered from a four-game losing streak by winning four in a row. The Jayhawks shocked sixth-ranked Baylor, 69-45, in Lawrence. Danielle McCray lit up the Lady Bears with 35 points. Baylor, playing its first game without injured center Danielle Wilson, shot 25.8 percent from the field. Kansas is 17-11 overall and 6-9 in conference play.

NABC announces all-district teams
The National Association of Basketball Coaches have selected their all-district teams. District 8, one of 24, is the area of the country that includes the Big 12. Here's the District 8 first team: Sherron Collins, Kansas; Blake Griffin, Oklahoma; Craig Brackins, Iowa State; DeMarre Carroll, Missouri; Cole Aldrich, Kansas. The second team: AJ Abrams, Texas; Damion James, Texas; James Anderson, Oklahoma State; Willie Warren, Oklahoma; Curtis Jerrells, Baylor.

News you can use
Colorado lineman hurt again:
Freshman offensive lineman Max Tuioti-Mariner will miss spring practices after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in workouts Tuesday. He started three games last season as a true freshman before suffering a torn ACL in a late September practice. Tuioti-Mariner has suffered three ACL injuries in the last two years. He was expected to participate in limited drills this spring after recovering from the in-season ACL.

Mack Brown to visit troops: Texas coach Mack Brown will be among the college football coaches who will visit United States troops stationed in the Middle East. The Under Armour Coaches Tour, which is takes place with help from the U.S. Defense Department, will take place May 28-June 24 with visits scheduled n Afghanistan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Ohio State’s Jim Tressel, Troy Calhoun of Air Force, UCLA’s Rick Neuheisel and Mississippi’s Houston Nutt along with former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville also be on the tour.

Stoops criticizes offensive line: Oklahoma must replace four starters on the offensive line and coach Bob Stoops made it clear he's not happy with the unit's peformance so far. "They haven’t had the winter that everybody else has had,” Stoops said during his news conference to preview spring practice. "Right now, they are the weak link of our team. We’ll see if they can respond and have the kind of spring and summer to help us become a team that can contend for a Big 12 Championship. They will be a big part whether we will or will not, depending on their attitude and work habits. ... Those guys, at this point, whether it’s their work ethic or their attitude, need to improve. They’ve been very inconsistent in how they work and their toughness and their discipline.”

Georgia ready to offer Capel?: According to sources cited by Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com, Georgia is prepared to over Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel more than $2 million per season to be the school's next basketball coach. Georgia fired Dennis Felton in February. When the South Carolina job opened last year, Oklahoma countered that school's interest by reworking Capel's contract through 2014. That deal pays Capel a guaranteed $1.05 million per year, with a stay bonus of $100,000 per year payable at the end of the six-year deal.

Hot links
Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne is in the process of reworking the contract of coach Bo Pelini, who has completed his first full season with the Cornhuskers.
The Baylor offensive lineman expected to replace All-American Jason Smith is a 24-year-old Canadian who grew up wanting to become a fire fighter.

Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman writes that Texas coach Mack Brown is changing the recruiting game by securing early commitments; the Longhorns already have 19 commitments for the 2010 class.

Tuesday, March 3

Big softball weekend for OU
Oklahoma's sixth-ranked women's softball team is participating in The Preview by Worth, a three-day round-robin tournament that will be held in Norman and Oklahoma City this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Also particiating in the tournament is No. 8 Tennessee and 16th-ranked Northwestern. Oklahoma will play Tennessee at 6 p.m. Friday in Norman. Saturday's and Sunday's games will be at Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. The first of three games Saturday will start at 11 a.m. Sunday's two games are at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Football Hall of Fame nominees announced
Ten players from Big 12 Conference schools were among the 76 players nominated for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. The inductees for the 2009 Hall of Fame Class will be announced on April 30.

The players from Big 12 schools on the list of nominees: Nebraska linebacker Trev Alberts, Oklahoma linebacker Brian Bosworth, Texas A&M defensive lineman Ray Childress, Kansas quarterback Bobby Douglass, Texas A&M kicker Tony Franklin, Texas defensive tackle Steve McMichael, Nebraska offensive guard Will Shields, Baylor quarterback Don Trull, Colorado linebacker Alfred Williams, Nebraska defensive end Grant Wistrom.

Hot links
Oklahoma freshman guard Willie Warren arrived on campus with a reputation that he has worked hard to improve.

In his spring football assessment of Oklahoma, Olin Buchanan of Rivals.com says the Sooners have an excellent chance of returning to the national championship game in 2009.

Baseball is in his genes - his second cousin is Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente - but Kansas State guard Denis Clemente prefers basketball.

Lynn Jacobsen of the Tulsa World explains and details the impact Courtney Paris, who will play her final home game Wedenesday, has had on the Oklahoma women's program.

Monday, March 2

Links for a Monday
Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford and Sooners sophomore Blake Griffin share the fact each has suffered a concussion. They also might share a piece of history as Heisman Trophy and college basketball player of the year awards in the same school year.

Kansas freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor benefitted from a Big Brother when he was growing up in Florida.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Jimmy Burch - aka Dr. Playbetter - prescribes what Texas needs to make a run for the national championship during the 2009 football season.

Former Nebraska wide receiver Matt Davison has created a non-profit organization called "Creating Captains." It's designed to stress leadership themes to young people.

Texas plays at Wyoming on Sept. 12 and the game is the most anticipated in Cowboys history. That's why six months before the Longhorns' visit tickets for the game are being scalped for up to $349 each.

In an effort to take advantage of unprecedented interest in Kansas football, the school is considering forming a a Gridiron Club, which would include a new premium seating section at Memorial Stadium.

Sunday, March 1

Whoops
CBS switched most audiences from the Missouri-Kansas game to the Tennesee-Florida game Sunday afternoon. Apparently, viewers missed quite a comeback. During the Vols-Gators game, CBS' graphics crawl across the bottom of the screen displayed the following score: Missouri 480, Kansas 78. In case you missed it, the final score was Kansas 90, Missouri 65.