Arkansas at Dallas, Oklahoma State at home, and Kansas State at Manhattan. Two losses and one win would put the team at either a semi-acceptable 6 and 6 or a joyful 7 and 5. IT WOULD BE NICE IF KANSAS STATE COULD: Beat Kansas.
Missouri Tigers – Mizzou expects to have an offense that will be able to challenge the highly touted Nebraska defense, but the Tigers must visit Lincoln this season, giving the Huskers the edge in the Big 12 North.
The next three games will set the tone for the remainder of the season. Arkansas at Dallas, Oklahoma State at home, and Kansas State at Manhattan. The game with the Razorbacks, under another second-year coach in a rebuilding program, promises to be a great football game but a loss for the Ags. The Cowboys, fuelled by oil money from T. Boone Pickens, have a much-hyped offense and defense, and could well be another loss, even at the friendly confines of Kyle. Under the “second coming” of Bill Snyder it’s too early for another “miracle,” even at the field already named for the coach, and the Ags should come out with a win.
Both head coaches put strong bodies around them. McCaffery’s top assistant is Kirk Speraw, who served 17 years as a collegiate head coach at the University of Central Florida. Sherman Dillard has been the head coach at Indiana State and been an assistant coach at Maryland, California and Georgia Tech. Andrew Francis is still young, but he served as McCaffery’s top assistant at Siena for three years before both headed to Iowa this past offseason.
Kansas was on a roll in the past 10 games until they stumbled a little against Temple last Sunday, but they are ranked No. 6 in both of the January 7 polls and are 12-1 on the season. They pulled out a come-from-behind victory after defeating Temple 69-62. Coached by Bill Self, who is in his 10th season at KU with a 281-54 record for an 83.9 winning percentage, Kansas averages 77.7 points per game and is giving up 59.2 for a Big 12-leading +18.5 scoring margin. KU is out rebounding foes 39.4 to 32.9 and averages 6.8 steals, while also leading the conference in field goal percentage at 49.9 and blocked shots at 8.4.
The Hawkeyes have posted 27 runs combined in the two road wins at Northwestern. Iowa pushed across 16 runs total in in its first nine league games. In addition, the 27 runs mark the most over two games since the Hawkeyes scored 33 in back-to-back wins against Central Michigan (7-5) and Iowa State basketball (26-5) on Feb. 18, 2012.
NEEDS TO: Win. Badly. A team that was supposed to have turned the corner after head coach Scott Drew led them to the NCAA Tournament last season has been the Big 12’s biggest disappointment. The Bears have won just five league games this season, and, at one point, dropped six conference clashes in a row. Baylor only lot by four, albeit at home, to first-round foe Nebraska in the last game of the regular season.
A sincere thank you to Coach McDermott and a best of luck wish this coming season. Not only is he one of the best tacticians in the league, but a great guy as well.