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Big 12 Quoteboard

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March Madness is just around the corner and the Big 12 basketball teams are jockeying for position in the Big 12 Tournament in hopes of favorable seeding in the NCAA Tournament. While teams like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are far removed from the NCAA equation there are still plenty others looking to punch their ticket to the dance.

The Missouri Tigers host the Baylor Bearstonight looking to extend their longest conference win streak of the season. The Bears are trying to forget Saturday's loss as they're in the midst of their toughest stretch of the season.

It seemed like Mizzou hadn't gotten on track all conference season. Every time they looked to gain momentum, they'd face a tough team on the road. Now, with the majority of their most difficult gates behind them, the Tigers can look towards gaining momentum heading into post season play. - Big 12 Hoops 

Of course basketball isn't the only think being talked about on SBN's Big 12 blogs but it is a central theme.

With our 67-66 win over Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Saturday, the Aggies notched their 8th conference win of the season, and their 21st win on the year overall. With an 8-8 conference record assured, in the worst case scenario, the Aggies are all but a lock to play in the Big Dance. With games remaining against Oklahoma at Reed Arena (tomorrow), Baylor in Waco (Saturday), at Kansas (a week from tomorrow) and our home finale against Texas Tech (March 5, a week from this Saturday), we have a realistic chance of finishing up the regular season in the next two weeks with a 2-2 or 3-1 record. A 2-2 record would put us at 23-7 on the season, 10-6 in conference play, which is one more win than we've ended the regular season with in the last two years. Right now, we're all alone in third place in the Big 12 Conference standing at 8-4, one game ahead of Missouri, who is 7-5. If we finish the regular season 10-6 in conference play, we're looking at seeding anywhere from #3 to #5 in the Big 12 Conference Tournament. - I Am The 12th Man

This time of year we always hear about NFL prospects who are bound to impress at the upcoming combine and move up the draft board. Scouts and those who analyze are quickly enamored with the biggest, the fastest, the most agile of the NFL combine.

It is no stretch to say two players who are poised to be those guys who make "extra money" this upcoming combine are former Colorado Buffs CB Jimmy Smith and OT Nate Solder. Both players are big, strong and athletic. Both had interesting paths to the position they are today and both will be under the micrscope at the combine to see if they can back up the hype. - The Ralphie Report

Last week, the worst-kept secret in this state (at least since Steve Pederson's attempt to hire Houston Nutt) finally was confirmed when Bo Pelini told reporters that he had hired Ross Els (linebackers), Corey Raymond (secondary), Rich Fisher (wide receivers), and John Garrison (offensive line/tight ends).  Pelini seems happy with the makeup of this staff, and that's important. All are relatively young guys who bring a breadth of experiences and a passion for the game that should be a benefit in not only coaching, but also recruiting. I'm not concerned that there are no "splash" hires or big names in this bunch; there's no need for that. These are ASSISTANT coaches; fans really shouldn't recognize the names of assistant coaches unless they are alums, former NFL stars, or failed head coaches (see Weis, Charlie).  Prior to December 2002, had anybody in Nebraska heard of Bo Pelini? Nope. But the man became a household name within a few months. - Corn Nation

As tends to happen when a team or program is going through a worse than expected season, the questions of whether the head coach is the right man for the job start to surface.  In the case of Oklahoma State, those questions have been there on some level since the hiring of Travis Ford, but the handling of this particular season has seemed to either increase the number of Coach Ford detractors, or raise the volume on the existing ones. And yes, I realize that this intro paragraph is functioning as the creation of a straw man, but I don't really know how to measure week to week coach dissatisfaction, so I will just go with the "it seems like there is a lot more negative Travis Ford talk lately" setup for this one. - Cowboys Ride For Free

Well, it honestly was not as bad of an outcome as I thought might occur. Texas is the kind of team that has such good athletes and play such good defense, that I honestly thought the Cyclones were in for a 35+ point loss here. I missed most of the first half, but from what I heard, the team really played with some fire in the first half. I know I am echoing myself, but how many teams on 9 game (now 10 game) losing streaks play hard? It says a lot about the character of the team.

Unsurprisingly, shooting was the key in this game. The Cyclones took 4 more shot attempts than the Longhorns, but shot only 33% from the floor, including 25% from beyond the arc. Texas, on the other hand, shot 47% from the floor. Outside of that, Texas outrebounded Iowa State 45 to 33, and got to the free throw line 21 times compared to Iowa State's 8 trips to the charity stripe. - Clone Chronicles

Depending on who your favorite bracketologist is the top seeds at this point in the NCAA tournament look to be some combination of Duke, Ohio State, Pitt, Kansas and Texas.  Texas and Kansas seem to be the most common difference at this point with the nod going to Kansas in some circles based on the overall record with others arguing for Texas based on the current lead for the Big 12 title. 

But what about BYU or San Diego State?  The other two teams that have been consistently perched in the top seven are being given an outside shot by some and almost no chance from others.  Do they have a legit argument?  And what would need to happen among the five "favorites" in order to allow a Mountain West team to snag a spot? - Rock Chalk Talk

It took the better part of a half but the Texas Longhorns got back on track as they easily dispatched the Iowa State Cyclones, 76-53, on Tuesday night. Texas improved to 24-4 on the season and 12-1 in the Big 12, a game ahead of second place Kansas.

Against by far the worst team in the conference, there are few take-aways from this one. Texas did exactly what it needed to do today: win the game, lead by enough points to get some rest for the starters, and stay healthy. The Longhorns easily achieved all three of these marks. - Burnt Orange Nation

DT BOBBIE (AGOUCHA) HAMPTON, TE BO WHITNEY AND RB TIM GRAVES TO TRANSFER | Per LAJ's Don Williams three players will transfer:  DT Bobbie (Agoucha) Hampton, TE Bo Whitney and RB Tim Graves.  The loss of Hampton is the biggest loss, but it's not that big of a loss with the arrival of NG Dennell Wesley.  If they need a guy that can play 10 to 20 plays at nose guard, I'm guessing that Wesley will be able to fill that role.  Hampton was only going to be here for the 2011 season.  However, if there are injuries again this year and if Wesley can't play, then this could be a significant transfer, especially with the transfer of DT Myles Wade to Portland State. 

Whitney never played last year, despite being available to play and he was the only designated tight end other than Felicia James.  I don't think that Graves was a scholarship running back so I'm not sure what to think there other than he wanted an opportunity to play and with the current depth at running back, that wasn't likely. - Double-T Nation

The 2011 NFL Combine begins this Thursday and DeMarco Murray, Quinton Carter and Jeremy Beal are looking to become the next crop of Sooners bound for NFL stardom. While each of their respective college careers standout they still must prove to NFL execs they're worth spending a draft pick on. Exactly what they have to prove differs with each player but the one common theme is speed. - Crimson And Cream Machine

How important is a defensive tackle?  Ask anybody who saw the 2009 Missouri-Nebraska game.  Or, perhaps, ask anybody who saw Missouri play afterDominique Hamilton got injured last season.  A good defensive tackle can eat up blockers, make a few plays, and open up the linebackers to be great.  A great defensive tackle in a four-man line can almost serve as a one-man blitz, imploding the offensive line's interior and forcing quarterbacks and/or running backs to abandon the script without sending any more men toward the line of scrimmage.  Strength at the defensive tackle position can make more of a difference than perhaps any other position on the defensive side of the ball. - Rock M Nation

Texas Southern furthered its stranglehold over the SWAC on Monday night with an overtime win over MVSU, while Alcorn State continued its futility with its 22nd loss in 26 tries.

Those two are quite the polar opposites, aren't they?

Meanwhile, Kansas perpetuated its mastery over inferior teams at Allen Fieldhouse in one of the most boring televised exhibitions I've ever had the opportunity to witness.

The game was over at halftime. - Bring On The Cats