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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. 

February 2011

Monday, Feb. 28

Final week for planting seeds
Anyone hoping to make plans to attend their team's games at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship needs to be patient. That's because the seeds for the event that starts March 8 in Kansas City's Sprint Center are far from set.

Heading into the final week of the regular season, the only certainty is that Kansas and Texas - tied for first place with 12-2 records - are guaranteed of first-round byes. Other than that, everything else is wide open.

In addition to seeds, the regular-season title is on the line.

"If you look at the league in the standings we've got the third place team (Texas A&M) and the fourth place (Missouri) teams to play this week," Kansas coach Bill Self said Monday. "We'd love to win two which would guarantee us at least a share but we have two tough games."

There are a minimum of 64 different combinations of ties that could happen in the Big 12 standings with teams having 11 different records. So those who want to project the seeds based on the outcomes of the remaining 12 regular-season games need to make sure their Pentium processors are humming at max efficiency.

Texas A&M is alone in third place with a 9-5 record but the Aggies have just a two-game lead on Baylor (7-7) and Colorado (7-7), two teams tied for sixth. Missouri (8-6) and Kansas State (8-6) are tied for fourth, a game behind Texas A&M. With all five of those teams having two games remaining, the possibilities are mind boggling.

"Players aren't dumb," Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. "Our guys know what's at stake this last week."

In terms of tiebreakers that could come into play to decide seeding, Kansas State has swept Missouri. Baylor has swept Texas A&M. The Aggies have victories over Kansas State and Missouri. The Tigers defeated Baylor.

Here's this week's schedule:

Monday
Kansas State at Texas (ESPN) 8 p.m.

Tuesday
Oklahoma State at Baylor (ESPN2) 6 p.m.
Missouri at Nebraska (Big 12 Network) 7 p.m.

Wednesday
Oklahoma at Texas Tech (SSN/TTSN) 6:30 p.m.
Colorado at Iowa State (CTN) 6:30 p.m.
Texas A&M at Kansas (ESPN2) 8 p.m.

Saturday
Kansas at Missouri (CBS) 11 a.m.
Iowa State at Kansas State (Big 12 Network) 12:30 p.m.
Texas Tech at Texas A&M (Big 12 Network) 12:30 p.m.
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma (Big 12 Network) 3 p.m.
Nebraska at Colorado 7 p.m.
Baylor at Texas (ESPN) 8 p.m.

Texas' Gary Johnson has earned respect
Jay Bilas of ESPN.com wrote about the most respected players in college basketball and a Big 12 Conference senior made the list.

Gary Johnson of Texas plays with tremendous energy and heart. But people tend to forget that he was not cleared to play early in his career at Texas because of a discovery that the formation of his heart was incomplete. He sat out for a year and underwent a battery of tests, but once he was cleared, he has been a tough and productive player who bounds around the floor and impacts the game in a big way. He is selfless, does the dirty work and will do whatever it takes for his team to be successful. And his opponents know it.

Friday, Feb. 25

Basketball: Comings and goings at Texas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State
Texas junior forward Alexis Wangmene, averages 2.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 9.7 minutes a game, will return from his suspension for Monday's home game against Kansas State. He'll miss his second game under the suspension when the fifth-ranked Longhorns play at Colorado Saturday.

"He's very remorseful," Texas coach Rick Barnes said Thursday. "He knows he disappointed and hurt a lot of people. We're going to learn from it. We're going to love him. I don't want him to act like he is going to be ostracized, but it's a serious thing. We're blessed that a tragedy didn't come out of it in terms of someone losing a life."

* Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford announced Thursday that sophomore guard Ray Penn has been suspended indefinitely. According a news release, Penn has failed to follow team policy. "He has some things he needs to work on outside of basketball, and this will give him time to focus and spend quality time in the academic center," Ford said. Penn is averaging 5.9 points and 0.93 assists per game.

* After missing four games with a sprained ankle, Iowa State senior center Jamie Vanderbeken is expected to return to the lineup Saturday when the Cyclones host Nebraska. Iowa State averages 16.3 free throw attempts per game but with Vanderbeken out they've averaged just 6.3 attempts in the last four games.

Football news
* Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops announced Friday that cornerback Jamell Fleming is not enrolled at OU in the spring semester due to a personal matter. Fleming, who completed his junior season in 2010 when he led the Sooners with five interceptions will not participate in the team's spring drills. "We're hopeful that Jamell can work through the things he's facing and resume his college career," Stoops said.

* The Big East Conference announced its 2011 football schedule Friday and the news revealed that Iowa State will face Connecticut at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16 in a game that will be televised by ESPN or ESPN2. The Cyclones have not been televised by an ESPN network since 2006. The road game completes Iowa State's two-game series with the Huskies, who played at Iowa State in 2002.

* Texas tight end Blaine Irby, who hasn't played since suffering a severe knee injury in the third game of the 2008 season, has been cleared to play in 2011. He is participating in spring drills that started this week. Irby is a senior and can apply to the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility after the '11 season if he wishes.

* Texas wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and running back D.J. Monroe will miss the first few days of spring practice to participate in this weekend's Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Championships. Monroe will return to football practice while also competing in track but Goodwin is unlikely to participate in spring drills. He is the defending NCAA outdoor long jump champion who has the nation's longest indoor jump this spring.

* Texas Tech and Baylor announced that its Big 12 game in 2011 will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It will be the third consecutive year the teams have played in the Metroplex. They met at Cowboys Stadium in 2009 - selling 72,000 tickets - and at Dallas' Cotton Bowl last season. The 2011 contest is a home game for Baylor, which wanted to play the game at the neutral site; Texas Tech officials agreed.

The Naismith Rules on display in Kansas City
Fans attending the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships in Kansas City have a great opportunity to view some basketball history. Dr. James Naismith's original typewritten rules for the sport of "Basket Ball" that he created over 120 years ago.

The original 13 rules will be on public display starting Saturday, March 5, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo. The museum is located at 45th and Oak, just east of the Country Club Plaza.

Last December, Kansas alumnus David Booth and his wife Suzanne submitted the winning bid of $4.3 million when the rules were auctioned. Eventually, the Booths hope to have the rules permanently displayed in Lawrence. Naismith joined the Kansas faculty in 1898 and was the school's first basketball coach.

Hot links, served fresh
Kansas sophomore forward Thomas Robinson, who recently lost his mother, grandmother and grandfather in a three-week period, has been touched by the outpouring of support he has received.

Kansas State walk on Alex Potuzak has a simple - but interesting - story.

Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman writes that Texas sophomore Jordan Hamilton is the Big 12's best player.

Bobby LaGesse of the Ames Tribune writes that Iowa State senior point guard Diante Garrett needs recognition for his outstanding season.

Senior point guard Lance Jeter has earned the trust of Nebraska coach Doc Sadler.

Monday, Feb. 21

Links to start your week
Baylor's Kim Mulkey, Kansas' Bill Self, Kansas State's Frank Martin and Missouri's Mike Anderson all make appearances in an ESPN spot called "Sideline Energy" in the network's "It's Not Crazy, It's Sports" campaign.

Great story by Mark Rosner of the Austin American-Statesman about how Texas coach Rick Barnes and his assistant coach wore wigs to help recruit senior Matt Hill.

Texas A&M senior guard Andrew Darko, a former walk on now on scholarship, also excels in the classroom.

The Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff, are trying to overcome the reputation they've earned for committing intentional fouls.

Tully Corcoran of the Topeka Capital-Journal with a spot-on analysis of Kansas, a team that is showing it still has growing to do.

Baylor freshman Perry Jones III is working at improving so he can make his mother proud.

Interesting story by David Briggs of the Columbia Daily Tribune on how Missouri's programs and coaches are competitive despite spending less than their Big 12 counterparts.

Sunday, Feb. 20

No. 1 is the loneliest number
Woof.

Your Humble Correspondent blogged Saturday about the "dog days" of February and mentioned that Ohio State played at Purdue Sunday and that the Buckeyes could join the list of teams bit by another upset.

Final score from West Lafayette: Purdue 76, Ohio State 63. (YHC rarely gets the chance to brag about a correct prediction - even a semi-prediction - so pardon the self congratulations. It is so difficult to pat oneself on the back.)

For those of you keeping track, No. 1 Ohio State lost at Wisconsin 71-67. Kansas, voted No. 1 last Monday, proceeded to lose its Big Monday game at unranked Kansas State. Texas, No. 2 in the coaches' poll, No. 3 in the media rankings, lost at unranked Nebraska Saturday. Pittsburgh, No. 4 in the polls, lost at unranked St. John's.

The last time the top four teams in the Associated Press Top 25 lost in the same week was November of 2003. (And three other top 10 teams - Notre Dame, Georgetown and Wisconsin - also suffered losses this week.)

There will be much debate and "who's No. 1?" discussion until (and even after) the media and the coaches' polls come out Monday. Based on the results of the last week, who would want to be No. 1? And remember that in college hoops, the polls are about prestige.

A more worthy debate involves the No. 1 seeds for the NCAA Tournament. We'll find out three ways from today (March 13) when the bracket is announced. Kansas, Texas, Ohio State and Pittsburgh are the top seeds in the various bracket projections available. Duke, San Diego State and BYU are lurking as potential No. 1 seeds.

Entering the NCAAs as a No. 1 seed enhances a team's chances of reaching the Final Four. Over the last 15 years, 27 of the 60 teams who have reached the Final Four have been No. 1 seeds. During the same time frame, 11 No. 2 seeds have made it.

And since 1996, the 10 of the 15 national champions have been a No. 1 seed. So, for Kansas and Texas, the next three weeks involve enhancing the NCAA Tournament resume in order to grab a No. 1 - or at worst - No. 2 seed.

Saturday, Feb. 19

"Dog days" of February can bite teams
Check the calendar. Yep, Saturday was Feb. 19. NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday is three weeks away. That means these are the dog days of the college basketball season. Your Humble Correspondent has been watching it happen for the last quarter century.

What's that mean? It means that for ranked teams, teams leading their conferences and teams that aren't on the NCAA Tournament bubble, it's mind-wandering time. Players who are 18 to 22 years old can't help but look ahead to March Madness. It's like waiting for Christmas morning.

With so much parity - this season there is no great team - the edge that can make the difference for a top team isn't as sharp as it has been or might be come tourney time.

That edge often shifts to the other locker room. Teams that are desperate for a victory to enhance NCAA Tournament resumes or are just sick and tired of losing can pull the upsets that wind up leading ESPN's SportsCenter. This edge-shifting can happen especially when the team with the better record is on the road.

It happened in the Big 12 Monday night when Kansas, which earlier that day had ascended to No. 1, got waxed in Manhattan by Kansas State. After the Wildcats had lost a heart breaker at Colorado, the victory turned around the season.

It happened in the Big 12 Saturday ... three times.

No. 2 Texas, which had a chance of replacing Kansas atop the polls, lost at Nebraska 70-67. The Longhorns overcame an 11-point deficit in the final 1:43 to tie the game at 65. The Huskers, however, made five of six free throws over the last 43 seconds.

The victory moved Nebraska into the NCAA Tournament bubble picture. According to CollegeRPI.com, the Huskers improved 13 spots and are now No. 62. Nebraska has four games to play - at home against Kansas State Wednesday and Missouri March 1, at Iowa State Feb. 26 and at Colorado March 5. If the Huskers go 2-2, they'll finish 8-8 in Big 12 play.

Playing at home was not an advantage for Baylor. The Bears were surprised by Texas Tech, 78-69, Saturday night in Waco. According to ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi, Baylor was a No. 12 seed in his latest NCAA Tournament projections. But Lunardi describe the Bears' loss to a Red Raiders team now 12-15 as "diastrous."

And in women's basketball, top-ranked Baylor scored 38 points below its average in a 56-45 loss at Texas Tech. It was the first Big 12 loss for the Lady Bears and it ended a 21-game winning streak. Lady Raiders coach Kristy Curry had never beaten Baylor and now her team is 19-7 overall, 6-6 in the Big 12 and making an NCAA Tournament statement.

Globally, in the last week No. 1 Ohio State has lost at Wisconsin (last Saturday) and No. 4 Pittsburgh lost at unranked St. John's Saturday. Ohio State is No. 2 in the media poll, No. 3 in the coaches' poll. The Buckeyes play at Purdue Sunday.  YHC can hear the dogs barking already.

Spring practice dates and games
Texas Tech started spring football practice Friday. Here's a look at when each of the other nine teams in the Big 12 kicks off spring practice, and when the spring games will be played.

Team Practice Game
Baylor Feb. 28 April 2
Iowa State March 22 April 16
Kansas April 1 April 30
Kansas State April 6 April 30
Missouri March 8 April 16
Oklahoma March 21 April 16
Oklahoma State March 7* April 16
Texas Feb 24 April 3
Texas A&M March 22 April 16
Texas Tech Feb. 18 March 26
* - Tentative.
Note: Missouri's spring practice stops for spring break after March 24 and will resume on April 5.

A look at two new Big 12 coordinators
Stewart Mandel of SI.com assessed some of the top coordinator hires in college football for the 2011 season. Here's what he said of two new assistants in the Big 12 Conference.

Chad Glasgow, Texas Tech (defense): Red Raiders coach Tommy Tuberville could not have looked to a better source to help upgrade his defense. Former TCU secondary coach Glasgow, 39, spent 10 seasons on Gary Patterson's staff, helping to produce the nation's top-ranked defense five times. Tuberville -- a defensive-minded coach himself -- figures to incorporate fresh concepts from a guy who's been at the center of one of the nation's most innovative defenses. It remains to be seen whether that means moving full-time to TCU's unique 4-2-5 scheme.

Bryan Harsin, Texas (offense): Harsin becomes the first Chris Petersen protégé to take the dynamic Boise State offense to another locale. Working with co-coordinator Major Applewhite, Harsin will likely bring many of the cutting edge aspects of the Broncos' system (the multiple formations, the trick plays) while staying true to Boise's emphasis on power running -- something the Longhorns have sorely lacked the past several years. Coach Mack Brown has given Harsin and Applewhite carte blanche to reinvent Texas' offense in their vision.

Thursday, Feb. 17

Classic game produces classy moves
The Octagon of Doom - aka Bramlage Coliseum - offered up quite a game and scene for ESPN's Big Monday.

After watching Kansas State bumble and stumble in its excruciating loss at Colorado Saturday night, Your Humble Correspondent wondered if a Wildcats team swept by the Buffaloes were NCAA Tournament worthy and pondered if senior guard Jacob Pullen had made a mistake coming back for his senior season.

YHC is old enough to know better. Entering their top-ranked, in-state rivals the Wildcats responded with a resounding victory and Pullen performed like a senior star, dropping 38 on Kansas in an 84-68 victory. It's the second time in four years Kansas State has beaten the Jayhawks in Manhattan.

The emotions stirred by a rivalry, particularly one that results in an upset, can often turn ugly. That was far from the case Monday night. There were three instances of classy behavior.

* Before the game, fans in Bramlage Coliseum could view a taped message from Kansas State coach Frank Martin. He was encouraging fans to donate to the scholarship fund for the younger sister of Kansas sophomore forward Thomas Robinson.

* During the first half, one of the loudest ovations occurred when former Kansas State wide receiver Jordy Nelson was introduced during a timeout. Nelson was the leading receiver for the Green Bay Packers in their Super Bowl victory. As Nelson was recognized, Kansas director of basketball operations Barry Hinson stood outside the Jayhawks' huddle an applauded.

* Late in the game, Pullen turned down a shot that could have given him 40 points and instead passed to a teammate. After the game, Kansas coach Bill Self took notice: That's class. That kid had it going on.''

20 (or more) points in 20 minutes
A 20-point effort - in a game - is considered the gold standard in terms of scoring. In Big 12 women's basketball this season, 20 points or more in a half has become common place. It's been done 23 times. Texas A&M's Danielle Adams has had 20 or more in a half five times and Oklahoma freshman Aaryn Ellengberg has done it four times. Here's the list:

28, Jordan Hooper, Nebraska at Missouri (2-2-11/second)
26, Danielle Adams, Texas A&M vs. Kansas (2-12-11/first)
26, Christine Flores, Missouri at Eastern Illinois (11-14-10/second)
25, Aaryn Ellenberg, Oklahoma at Baylor (2-2-11/second)
25, Carolyn Davis, Kansas vs. Iowa State (2-9-11/second and OT, 20 pts in second half alone)
23, Brittney Griner, Baylor vs. Texas A&M (2-14-11/second)
23, Brittney Griner, Baylor vs. Liberty (11-26-10/first)
22, Danielle Adams, Texas A&M at Texas Tech (2-5-11/second)
22, Aaryn Ellenberg, Oklahoma at Ohio State (12-5-10/first)
22, RaeShara Brown, Missouri vs. Nebraska (2-2-11/second)
22, Odyssey Sims, Baylor vs. Syracuse (12-21-10/first)
21, Danielle Adams, Texas A&M at Oklahoma (1-26-11/first)
21, Danielle Adams, Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma (2-9-11/second)
21, Aaryn Ellenberg, Oklahoma at Kansas (1-23-11/first)
21, Aaryn Ellenberg, Oklahoma vs. UAPB (12-29-10/second)
21, Morgan Hook, Oklahoma vs. Stephen F. Austin (12-8-10/first)
20, RaeShara Brown, Missouri vs. Texas (1-8-11/second and OT)
20, Brittney Griner, Baylor vs. Southeastern Louisiana (11-28/10/first)
20, Kelsey Bolte, Iowa State at Colorado (1-15-11/second)
20, Danielle Robinson, Oklahoma at Baylor (2-2-11/second)
20, Carolyn Davis, Kansas vs. Texas A&M-CC (11-17-10/first)
20, Brittany Chambers, Kansas State at Dartmouth (12-29-10/second)
20, Danielle Adams, Texas A&M vs. UALR (11-15-10/first)

Wednesday, Feb. 16

Links worth the click
Kirk Bohls and Randy Riggs of the Austin American-Statesman leave no stone unturned in evaluating what went wrong with Texas' 2010 football season.

Former Missouri quarterback Brad Smith was inducted into the school's athletics hall of fame Friday and Dave Matter of the Columbia Daily Tribune offers 16 reasons why Smith is the player who paved the way for the football program's success.

Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News writes that two Longhorns, in different sports, are bound by their triumphs over heart problems.

Texas A&M's B.J. Holmes is a senior and he says it's his "time" to come through in clutch situations.

When Iowa State plays at Texas Tech in a Big 12 women's game, the game matches two coaches who are Twitter communicators.

Sunday, Feb. 13

Click and read
Here's a sneak peek (video) at the opening/promo for the Big Monday Valentine's Day game between Kansas and Kansas State.

David Ubben, the Big 12 Conference blogger for ESPN.com, sat down with Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe for this wide-ranging question-and-answer session.

And in another Q and A, Dave Curtis of The Sporting News talks with Texas coach Mack Brown about the Longhorns' offseason of change.

Here are the details on the contract extensions for Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds and women's athletic director Chris Plonsky.

Saturday, Feb. 12

KU's Robinson out 2 weeks, Selby sits again
Kansas sophomore forward Thomas Robinsion will miss the next two weeks after surgery on his right knee to repair a meniscus tear. Also, Jayhawks coach Bill Self said that freshman guard Josh Selby won't play Saturday when KU hosts Iowa State. Selby has missed two games with a stress reaction in his right ankle.

Self said the 6-9 Robinson, Kansas' top front court reserve, injured the knee against Missouri on Monday night. Robinson has been averaging 8.9 points and 6.4 rebounds, and is 20 for 25 from the field in his last four games. He missed the Jayhawks' game at Colorado tending to the funeral for his mother, Lisa Robinson, who died unexpectedly on Jan. 21.

"Thomas has a great attitude," Self said. "He's very disappointed, but has strong throughout this. We're disappointed for him for a lot of reasons. One is he is playing so well as of late. We would rather have him healthy and in rhythm going into the postseason than waiting and doing the surgery later on."

Friday, Feb. 11

Links for a Friday
Emory Bellard, the man credited with inventing the wishbone offense when he was an assistant at Texas, died Thursday at the age of 83.

Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star delves into the recent trend of players quitting their college basketball teams in midseason.

New Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger is approaching his new job with patience.

Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman writes that Todd Monken is a good fit as Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator.

The time he spent homeless as a child drives Oklahoma State's Jean-Paul Olukemi to succeed in basketball and in life.

Thursday, Feb. 10

Emory Bellard dies at 83
Bellard, who was the head coach at Texas A&M and Mississippi State, was on Darrell Royal's staff at Texas in 1968 when the Longhorns developed a formation with three running backs that came to be known as the wishbone.

After the Longhorns developed the wishbone - which employed three running backs - they won the national championship in 1969 and 1970. Oklahoma started using the offense in the 1970s and it was the impetus to national championships in 1974, 1975 and 1985.

"Not only was (Bellard) an outstanding coach as far as X's and O's were concerned, he taught well - he was an excellent teacher of the game," Royal said in a statement. "To say he was an important member of our staff at that time is an understatement. He was a true friend, and that didn't change whether he was in Austin, College Station or Starkville."

Bellard had a 48-27 record in seven years at Texas A&M before resigning during the 1978 season. He led A&M to three straight bowl games, including a win in the 1977 Sun Bowl. He was 37-42 in seven seasons at Mississippi State.

"People all over the country and different levels of football adopted that offense," said former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum, who was hired as an assistant by Bellard in 1972. "I think he was proud that the game he cared so much about, that he was able to make a significant contribution to it."

Links worth the click
Kansas is using senior citizens as their "class checkers" to make sure that student-athletes are not skipping school.

Being in second place in the Big 12 standings is unusual for Kansas.

Texas coach Rick Barnes is respected by Oklahoma fans, writes Mike Baldwin of the Oklahoman.

Despite losing by 17 points at second-ranked Kansas Monday night, Missouri is looking at the positives in how it played against the Jayhawks.

With their dominating first half of Big 12 Conference play, the obvious question will follow top-ranked Baylor: Can the Lady Bears go 16-0?

Tuesday, Feb. 8

Linked up
Sam Mellenger of the Kansas City Star ponders if second-ranked Kansas might be a better team without freshman Josh Selby, who has missed the last two games with a foot injury.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that despite losing at Kansas Monday night, Missouri showed progress.

Texas Tech's Robert Lewandowski's work ethic and listening skills are earning praise from coach Pat Knight.

Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that Texas coach Mack Brown plans to end the "era of entitlement" with the Longhorns.

Kansas football coach Turner Gill says that Allen Field House has become a valuable recruiting tool for his program.

When Texas A&M plays at Colorado Wednesday, the game will be a coaching match up between good friends.

Brenda VanLengen, who is known for her television work, writes about Oklahoma senior point guard Danielle Robinson.

Friday, Feb. 4

Hot links to cure cabin fever
Dana O'Neill of ESPN.com makes the case for Texas' Rick Barnes as the coach of the year.

Kansas director of basketball operations Barry Hinson was profoundly touched by Thomas Robinson's maturity as he dealt with losing his mother.

John Kadlec, known as Mr. Mizzou, is stepping down as the football team's radio network analyst after 15 years in the booth.

Here's a great read by Jason King of Yahoo!Sports.com about defining "basketball IQ." King lists two Big 12 Conference players on his five man "All Basketball IQ Team."

Kevin Haskin of the Topeka Capital-Journal writes that Kansas State coach Frank Martin is proving he can adapt to his ever-changing roster.

For those needing a football recruiting fix, here's Rivals.com's breakdown of how Big 12 schools fared.

Kansas freshman guard Josh Selby has been playing better after being told to be more aggressive.

Wednesday, Feb. 2

Weather or not
Mother Nature, it seems, is not a fan of Big 12 Conference basketball. Thanks to nasty winter weather, the last couple of weeks have created numerous travel problems for Big 12 teams.

* It started two weeks ago when Iowa State was stuck on the road because of bad weather. The Cyclones traveled to Stillwater on Jan. 18 for their game at Oklahoma State the next day. Iowa State was unable to get back to Ames and remained on the road, traveling a day early to Columbia for its Jan. 22 game at Missouri. The Cyclones stayed in three hotels over a four-night period before bussing home to Ames the night of Jan. 22.

* Kansas flew to Boulder for a Jan. 25 game at Colorado before flying to Washington, D.C., to attend the funeral of teammate Thomas Robinson's mother. The Jayhawks barely missed getting caught in a major storm but made it back to Lawrence with no incidents. Freshman Josh Selby, however, was unable to stay over and attend the funeral of a childhood friend because of concerns he would be stuck in the Baltimore area because of the storm.

* Kansas played at Texas Tech Tuesday night and had originally planned to fly home after the game but its charter plane was in San Antonio because of icing conditions in Lubbock. The Jayhawks stayed the night and were scheduled to fly home Wednesday morning.

* Baylor was scheduled to play at Oklahoma Tuesday night but the game was rescheduled to 2 p.m. Wednesday. Fans can attend the game for free.

* Missouri is playing at Oklahoma State at 8 p.m. Wednesday and no admission will be charged at Gallagher-Iba Arena. With blizzard conditions shutting down the Mizzou campus, the Tigers left Monday afternoon and spent about 36 hours in Kansas City awaiting the chance to fly to Oklahoma. The plan was to take a charter flight to Oklahoma City and then bus to Stillwater. That 90-minute trip was expected to take three hours.

* The reporters who cover Missouri are as dedicated as the postal service. When the beat writers from the Columbia Daily Tribune, the Kansas City Star and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch can't make it to a Big 12 road game for a ranked Tigers team, you know the weather/travel is as bad as it gets.

* Missouri junior forward Kim English, when the team was stuck in Kansas City because of the blizzard, Tweeted that he thinks the team should now be referred to as the Missouri Siberian Tigers.

* Nebraska's game at Kansas State Wednesday night wasn't effected by the storm but the Huskers were sweating out travel issues anyway. Starting center Brian Diaz flew home to Puerto Rico after Saturday's game to attend a funeral. With airline schedules a mess because of the weather, his on-time return was in doubt. With backup center Andre Almedia hobbled by a sprained ankle, Nebraska faced the possibility of being without its top two big men. Diaz, however, made it to Manhattan and participated in the team's shootaround Wednesday.

* The winter weather travel notes end where they started, with Iowa State. The Cyclones, after Tuesday night's 95-69 loss at Colorado, were planning to charter back to Ames after the game but like Kansas was stuck on the road. But Iowa State even had difficulty getting from its hotel to the Coors Events Center. It was below zero in Boulder and the team's bus wouldn't start, causing a 20-minute departure delay.

 

Emory Bellard, credited with developing the wishbone offense that was utilized with great success by several Big 12 Conference schools, died Thursday. He was 83 and had battling Lou Gehrig's disease.
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