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BIG 12 OUTLOOK: 03.07.11 (Postseason Awards Edition)

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BIG 12 OUTLOOK will morph a bit this week. In this edition, I will take a look at the overall predictive performance for the 2011 conference season and hand out my end-of-season awards.

Later in the week, OUTLOOK will project tournament outcomes based on current available information.

There also will be a BIG 12 TOURNAMENT OUTLOOK posted every morning of the tournament, which I will try to update with game outcomes and other interesting information throughout the day.

(I have all-session tickets for the whole tournament, by the way.)

Like last year, I hope the comments section on said entries will function as a live discussion for the BOTC community throughout each day, much as our game threads do.

Seed* Record* Tourney* RPI Pomeroy Sagarin Streak Best Win** Worst Loss** Coach
Kansas 1 14-2 NCAA 1 2 2 W-5 Arizona Kansas State Bill Self
Texas 2 13-3 NCAA 13 5 6 W-1 Kansas Nebraska Rick Barnes
Texas A&M 3 10-6 NCAA 30 47 43 W-1 Kansas State Baylor (2) Mark Turgeon
Kansas State 4 10-6 NCAA 19 26 30 W-6 Kansas Colorado (2) Frank Martin
Colorado 5 8-8 Bubble 76 60 57 W-1 Texas Oklahoma Tad Boyle
Missouri 6 8-8 NCAA 34 25 26 L-3 Kansas State Nebraska Mike Anderson
Baylor 7 7-9 NIT 83 67 59 L-2 Texas A&M (2) Texas Tech Scott Drew
Nebraska 8 7-9 NIT 78 45 49 L-1 Texas Davidson Doc Sadler
Oklahoma State 9 6-10 NIT 62 84 81 L-1 Kansas State Texas Tech Travis Ford
Oklahoma 10 5-11 None 134 145 138 W-1 Oklahoma State Chaminade Jeff Capel
Texas Tech 11 5-11 None 159 111 124 L-1 Oklahoma State TCU Pat Knight
Iowa State 12 3-13 None 128 78 72 L-1 Colorado Texas Tech Fred Hoiberg

Note: As any of these numbers change, I will bold and color-code them to indicate direction of change.
Team names that are colored indicate a change in seed.
(green = upward, red = downward)

**According to RealTimeRPI


The Big 12 Tournament Bracket



For the fourth consecutive edition of BIG 12 OUTLOOK, the predictive model finished 5-1.

After three years of doing this, I'm realizing that perfect weeks are extremely hard to come by. And that's the way we want it, right? After all, if this sport was that predictable, it wouldn't be nearly as fun, would it?

OUTLOOK successfully predicted the outcomes for 75 of 96 conference games, which is a three-game backslide from last year's performance, but still one game better than the first year I did this.

I thus conclude that switching from Sagarin's composite rankings to his PPP rankings had little to no overall effect.

I was shooting for an 85-percent prediction rate this season, so I obviously fell way short of that mark. But given some of the chaos that ensued this year, I would have been fairly happy if I had finished with fewer than 20 misses.

In summary, I'll rate this year's effort as a C+ and keep looking for things to incorporate into the OUTLOOK system that can improve the prediction rate next season. We'll have two fewer teams and two more games for each remaining team, so how that affects things will be interesting to see.

Given the drop in predictive accuracy from last year, I'm not going to look in-depth at individual OUTLOOK predictions of seed order like I did at this time in 2010. Clearly, the model underrated K-State through most of January, and at various times it overrated Baylor, Missouri and Oklahoma State. It could have been better.

But ever since K-State beat Nebraska in Lincoln, OUTLOOK was pretty close to the final order of finish. Sure, there were some last-minute vacillations, such as the Oklahoma-Texas Tech tiebreaker and some lingering uncertainty over Colorado's finish, but for the most part, this model once again gave a decent prediction of the above bracket.

Cumulative pick record: 75-21 (.781)


Postseason Awards: The Botcies

The Big 12 Conference awarded its postseason honors to players and coaches Sunday, as well as selecting its first, second and third all-conference teams, all-defensive and all-rookie teams, and honorable mentions.

I'll fully admit my bias in contesting one major screw-up by the league's coaches, but that righteous anger is what spawned this feature in the first place, so I still think this is a worthwhile exercise. So read on to see the winners of the third annual Botcies... (Get it? BOTCies?)


Player of the Year


Jacob Pullen (Kansas State)

Sorry, but the coaches got this one wrong. As we've already broken down on this site, Jacob Pullen was a better scorer than Marcus Morris on a per-game basis in conference play.

Furthermore, against top-four competition (Kansas/Kansas State, Texas and Texas A&M), Pullen exceeded his scoring and assist averages, while Morris' scoring and rebounding production declined.

That means Morris accumulated his best statistics against the worst competition, while Pullen was at his best on the biggest stages (two Big Mondays, in particular).

Finally, there is no question that Pullen is a much better defensive player than Morris, and although the Dillard's suspension probably played a role in his snub (even though it should not have factored in because it happened before conference play began), it's worth nothing that Pullen received zero technical fouls for elbowing opposing players in the neck, face or other sensitive areas.

More than all the numbers, though, there's the eye test. Late in the season, when K-State's NCAA hopes were on the line, Pullen fought through fatigue, injuries, double teams and the pressure of expectations to lead his team and elevate the play of his teammates.

He unquestionably was K-State's MVP. Remove him from the team, and K-State would be in the NIT. Remove Morris from KU, and KU still would have been pretty damn good.

Jacob Pullen was the conference's best offensive player in conference play, its best defensive player (no matter what one thinks of Dogus Balbay, educated minds such as Jon Sundvold will confirm that fact) and one of only two unanimous selections to its first team (Morris was not one, by the way).

This is a no-brainer — Jacob Pullen is BOTC's 2011 Big 12 Player of the Year, and it ain't even close.


Defensive Player of the Year


Dogus Balbay (Texas)

I wouldn't have any problem with this selection if the Big 12 had honored Pullen appropriately. Balbay clearly is the best defensive player in the conference not named Pullen. Hell, if it wasn't for his defense, he probably wouldn't play, because he sure doesn't see the floor for his scoring talents.


Newcomer of the Year


Jean-Paul Olukemi (Oklahoma State)

I'm going to strike off on my own again for this award. While I agree that Ricardo Ratliffe has been a good player and is deserving of some recognition, he hasn't quite lived up to my expectations.

He was supposed to come in and give Missouri an instant dominating presence in the paint, but I've noticed that he tends to disappear in big games.

Take, for instance, his lackluster performance in Saturday's Kansas game, for which his own coach called him out, or his foul-plagued game in Manhattan.

Now, I know Oklahoma State hasn't had as many wins as it would have liked, but Olukemi has been a huge part of the wins the Cowboys did earn. He provided instant-impact offense this year for the Pokes and promises to become a potent player next season beside LeBryan Nash.


Freshman of the Year


Tristan Thompson (Texas)

Here's another one the Big 12 coaches got right.

Thompson has been an absolutely dominating presence in the paint, registering double-doubles in his last two games, and he's provided a much-needed toughening up for the Texas interior after the soft pudginess that was Dexter Pittman.

He's NBA-ready right now, but close enough to incoming point guard Myck Kabongo that it wouldn't surprise me to see him eschew the draft and return for another year of terrorizing the rims in Big 12 arenas. Now if he could just work on those free throws...


Sixth Man of the Year


Quincy Acy (Baylor)

Acy has been statistically productive off the bench for Baylor, which isn't much surprise considering he was a starter for most of last year.

Don't let Baylor's general suckiness fool you — Acy was one of the more consistent players on an inconsistent team, and he certainly was the most physical and aggressive in terms of rebounding, dunking and defense.

Perry Jones III could learn a few things from his frontcourt mate if he wants to be a good NBA player.


The Darnell Jackson "Most Improved Senior" Overachievement Award


Levi Knutson (Colorado)

The first of my "original" Botcies, this award is named for Darnell Jackson, the Kansas player who didn't do very much until his senior year, when he probably was the best overall post player on a national championship team.

To avoid doubling up on Sixth Man of the Year, which is just silly, I'll use this BOTC-specific award to honor Knutson. The little-used reserve of the past few years experienced a renaissance under new head coach Tad Boyle.

Looking for a reason Colorado finished fifth in the conference, posted a .500 season and is on the NCAA bubble? Look no further than Knutson's sharpshooting against K-State and Texas.

Yes, Alec Burks, Cory Higgins and Marcus Relphorde have been stellar, too, but those players were great last year. Knutson was the biggest change for a team that took a large leap forward in its last Big 12 season.

Not only was he one of the highest bench scorers in the conference, but he provided an extra dose of leadership for a Buffs team that just needed a little something extra to break into the upper echelon.

Honorable mentions go to Cade Davis of Oklahoma and Diante Garrett of Iowa State, who were the primary reasons their teams won any games in conference play. It remains to be seen what either school will do without them next season.


The Aaron Bruce "Most Regressed Senior" Underachievement Award


Mike Singletary (Texas Tech)

This award is named for the former Baylor guard who stunned the league as a freshman and basically got worse every season of his career. His senior year was by far his least productive.

Singletary, himself the namesake of a BOTC tournament award after his lights-out performance in the Big 12 Tournament as a sophomore against Texas A&M, is a pretty clear runaway winner here.

With five seniors returning, four of them starters, Texas Tech was expected to do what Colorado did and break into the top half of the league. Instead, they flopped, although they did show marginal improvement during the last month. Singletary is one of the biggest reasons for that.

Yes, he has been plagued by injuries this season, but even when he was healthy, he never lived up to the promise of that explosive tournament game. Singletary is one of those players who just never seemed to improve significantly in his career.


The Joey Graham "Tough Son of a Bitch" Award


Thomas Robinson (Kansas)

Anyone who thinks I am needlessly critical of the Jayhawks just because I stiffed Marcus Morris for the POTY award might want to read this entry. When it's warranted, I give credit where credit is due.

Thomas Robinson is a grown man in the truest sense of the word and a player I can't help but respect, no matter who he plays for.

As a player, I think he might be KU's best weapon when he's on his game, as when he registered a double-double Saturday against Missouri in just 15 minutes of play. He's a physical defender, a tenacious rebounder and a highlight reel who dunks on the rim like it offended him.

But more than anything on the court, he deserves recognition for the adversity that he battled through this season. No one ever will forget hearing the news about the untimely death of his mother, Lisa, or the resultant orphaning of Thomas and his 7-year-old sister.

Nor can we forget how his team rallied around him, both at Lisa's funeral and on the court, when he returned in jubilant triumph against his archrival on College Gameday.

And to top all of that off, he then suffered a meniscus injury and returned just two scant weeks after undergoing surgery.

Thomas Robinson, for battling through grief, pain and having two NBA players in front of you on the depth chart, I hereby rename this Botcy the Thomas Robinson "Tough Son of a Bitch" Award.


Coach of the Year


Tad Boyle (Colorado)

There's a bit of a Rocky Mountain theme to this edition of the Botcies, isn't there? Regardless, Tad Boyle is a deserving recipient. I understand the rationale for selecting Bill Self and I won't begrudge him his due official honors, but I wanted to go in a different direction.

I think we all anticipated Colorado could be an improved team this season, but the coaches hedged their bets by picking the Buffs ninth. Well, they finished fifth, a four-game overshoot that was the largest of any team this season.

Boyle brought an uptempo style to a team of athletes that allowed Burks to flourish, awoke the beast that was Knutson and produced a surprisingly good freshman in Andre Roberson. Oh, and did I mention that he lost his best big man to injury before the season even started?

Nobody expected the Buffs to sweep the preseason favorite, knock off the mid-season favorite or find itself on the cusp of the NCAA Tournament entering championship week.

Although the Buffs probably will lose four impact players off this year's team, I look for Boyle to do good things in a thoroughly mediocre Pac-12.

Most Underachieving Coach of the Year


Pat Knight (Texas Tech)

Jeff Capel was prevented from sweeping this award two seasons straight due to low preseason expectations, but Pat Knight has no such buffer. His team was picked seventh and finished 11th due to a tiebreaker.

When you have five seniors and one really good junior, that's just unacceptable. So are losses to North Texas, Oklahoma, TCU and USF, all sub-100 RPI teams.

And who can forget the demolition in Seattle, when the Washington Huskies hung the century mark on the hapless Red Raiders?

Yes, Tech did show a little improvement down the stretch, but even that didn't get the Raiders even close to where people thought they could be before the season began.

Ever since inheriting the program from his famous father, Pat has failed to grow the team significantly in his four-plus years and his recruiting is fairly uninspiring. Kirby Hocutt's going to have some tough choices to make this off-season, I suspect.


All-Big 12 First Team

AlecBurks KhrisMiddleton MarcusMorris JacobPullen TristanThompson
Alec Burks Khris Middleton Marcus Morris Jacob Pullen Tristan Thompson
Colorado Texas A&M Kansas Kansas State Texas

One player apiece from each of the top five teams in the conference. In fact, I would argue each squad's best overall player is listed here. (No, Jordan Hamilton is not Texas' best player — witness his recent slump for evidence of that.) Pretty straightforward stuff.


All-Big 12 Second Team

MarcusDenmon LaceDariusDunn DianteGarrett JordanHamilton MarkieffMorris
Marcus Denmon LaceDarius Dunn DianteGarrett Jordan Hamilton Markieff Morris
Missouri Baylor Iowa State Texas Kansas

Denmon doesn't quite merit first-team status, in my view, because of his team's late collapse. But he's still by far their best player and deserving of some recognition.

Dunn is included simply because of the record he broke Saturday night, but this was one of his least productive seasons, statistically speaking. Up until he broke that record, it seemed as if he was pressing and forcing shots that just weren't there. Of course, that's been his modus operandi his entire career, so why dock him for it now?

Hamilton and Morris are here because no all-Big 12 team is complete without multiple Kansas and Texas entries, while Garrett is deserving solely because most of the pieces around him were so subpar. He was one of the best assist men in the league's history, though.


All-Big 12 Third Team

LaurenceBowers CoryHiggins LanceJeter RodneyMcGruder MarshallMoses
Laurence Bowers Cory Higgins Lance Jeter Rodney McGruder Marshall Moses
Missouri Colorado Nebraska Kansas State Oklahoma State

All of these players took significant steps forward this season, except Higgins, who has been a mainstay. Jeter and Moses deserve special mention for being great players on teams that didn't really have many other players even close to their level. Bowers and McGruder will be counted on to be team leaders next season.

Honorable mention: Quincy Acy (Baylor), J'Covan Brown (Texas), Markel Brown (Oklahoma State), Scott Christopherson (Iowa State), Cade Davis (Oklahoma), Brian Jorge Diaz (Nebraska), Michael Dixon Jr. (Missouri), Andrew Fitzgerald (Oklahoma), B.J. Holmes (Texas A&M), Gary Johnson (Texas), Perry Jones III (Baylor), Cory Joseph (Texas), Curtis Kelly (Kansas State), David Loubeau (Texas A&M), Jean-Paul Olukemi (Oklahoma State), Keiton Page (Oklahoma State), Steven Pledger (Oklahoma), Ricardo Ratliffe (Missouri), Marcus Relphorde (Colorado), John Roberson (Texas Tech), Thomas Robinson (Kansas), Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas), Nathan Walkup (Texas A&M)


All-Big 12 Defensive Team

DogusBalbay DavidLoubeau BradyMorningstar JacobPullen TristanThompson
Dogus Balbay David Loubeau Brady Morningstar Jacob Pullen Tristan Thompson
Texas Texas A&M Kansas Kansas State Texas

This is a nice way to honor players who aren't necessarily big scorers, and Balbay and Morningstar fit that description to a tee. Of course, sometimes the best defenders are good scorers, just as Pullen, who stifled opposing point guards all season long, and Thompson, who might have been the conference's shot-blocking king.

And then there's Loubeau, who I've always thought was a really underrated post defender, and I hope his inclusion here can partially rectify the oversight made by the Big 12 on its list.


All-Big 12 Freshman Team

MelvinEjim CoryJoseph PhilPressey AndreRoberson TristanThompson
Melvin Ejim Avery Bradley Phil Pressey Andre Roberson Tristan Thompson
Iowa State Texas Missouri Colorado Texas

Botcy policy limits this team to true and redshirt freshmen. These are the future stars of the league, except maybe Thompson, who might not be back next season.

This list might be where I disagreed most with the conference. Joseph and Thompson are no-brainer inclusions, but the other three freshmen stuck out most to me as potential stars in the future.

Ejim's production dropped off in conference play, but he was a terror in the non-conference and will be a huge part of the Mayor's rebuilding project as it moves forward.

I was stunned that "Flip" Pressey didn't make the Big 12's all-rookie team, considering the burst of energy he brought to the Tigers both off the bench and as a part-time starter. Mark my words: He will be an absolute star in the not-too-distant future.

And Roberson doesn't even know how good he can be, but he has the frame to be a stud in the Pac-12 — and he'll have to be, because CU will lose a lot of good players from this year's squad.

P.S. I came perilosuly close to naming Will Spradling to this list, but I figured discretion was the better part of valor.


All-Big 12 "Hustle" Team

MattHill SteveMoore VictorOjeleye TyrelReed NickSidorakis NathanWalkup
Matt Hill Steve Moore Victor Ojeleye Tyrel Reed Nick Sidorakis Nathan Walkup
Texas Missouri Kansas State Kansas Oklahoma State Texas A&M

This is a new category this year, and I created it as an ode to unsung hard workers of the Big 12. Although they might not be the most athletic or physically gifted players, they more than make up for it with heart and hustle. Yeah, it sounds cliche, but I love watching guys like these give it their all to play Division I basketball.

Hill has been a key senior leader for Texas in its attempt to put last season behind it, and he played some of his best minutes Saturday against surefire NBA draft picks in Baylor jerseys. Moore is Missouri's version of Luis Colon — a beefy hustler who lays it all on the line for his team.

Ojeleye doesn't play many minutes, but he is academic all-Big 12 and an inspirational leader off the court for the Wildcats. Tyrel Reed might almost be too talented to be on this list, but I couldn't help but include him after he appeared to be the only Jayhawk who truly was pissed off about losing in Manhattan.

Sidorakis is a career backup for Oklahoam State who found himself squeezed out of a starting role by more talented players after the season started to slide, but he never complained and he still played his ass off when he did get into the game.

And Walkup is a huge part of why Texas A&M is 10-6, although you might not suspect it by looking at him.

Honorable mention: The entire Nebraska team.


All-Big 12 Suspension Team

LaceDariusDunn CurtisKelly MarioLittle JacobPullen JoshSelby TyshawnTaylor DarrellWilliams
LaceDarius Dunn Curtis Kelly Mario Little Jacob Pullen Josh Selby Tyshawn Taylor Darrell Williams
Baylor Kansas State Kansas Kansas State Kansas Kansas Oklahoma State

C'mon, I had to do it. It's just been that kind of year. But at least we have our first Selby sighting, right? All kidding aside, this would be a pretty legit seven-man roster.



Results are plugged into this wonderful tool to generate the predicted records and seed order. Winners are predicted by a best-of-three system comprising three statistical prediction models:

Predicted Outcomes

4-1 (.800)
76 Missouri
89 Colorado
62 K-State
76 O-State
62 I-State
63 Nebraska
69 A&M
51 Oklahoma
71 Baylor
59 Tech
5-1 (.833)
83 Texas
52 Tech
61 Oklahoma
74 Baylor
84 Kansas
79 I-State
74 Colorado
66 K-State
69 Nebraska
77 Missouri
48 O-State
71 A&M
6-0 (1.000)
71 O-State
75 Colorado
57 Baylor
72 I-State
60 Tech
94 K-State
60 Nebraska
63 Kansas
89 Missouri
91 A&M (OT)
46 Oklahoma
66 Texas
5-1 (.833)
85 Kansas
65 Baylor
59 K-State
75 Missouri
67 Colorado
79 Nebraska
74 Tech
83 Oklahoma
87 I-State
96 O-State (OT)
60 A&M
81 Texas
3-3 (.500)
57 O-State
76 Baylor
60 Colorado
67 Oklahoma
56 K-State
64 A&M
74 Texas
63 Kansas
54 I-State
87 Missouri
71 Nebraska
72 Tech
3-1 (.750)
61 Baylor
69 K-State
82 Kansas
78 Colorado
92 Tech
83 I-State
61 Texas
46 O-State
4-2 (.667)
66 Colorado
70 Baylor
82 Oklahoma
76 I-State (OT)
66 K-State
90 Kansas
58 Missouri
71 Texas
48 A&M
57 Nebraska
74 O-State
75 Tech (OT)
4-2 (.667)
69 Texas
49 A&M
88 Kansas
66 Tech
66 Baylor
73 Oklahoma
69 I-State
95 Colorado
53 Nebraska
69 K-State
70 Missouri
76 O-State
4-2 (.667)
86 K-State
85 I-State
73 Colorado
89 Missouri
86 Kansas
66 Nebraska
75 Oklahoma
81 O-State
76 Baylor
74 A&M (OT)
60 Tech
76 Texas
3-1 (.750)
86 Missouri
103 Kansas
73 A&M
70 Colorado (OT)
70 Nebraska
74 Baylor
68 Texas
52 Oklahoma
6-0 (1.000)
56 K-State
58 Colorado
66 I-State
89 Kansas
61 Oklahoma
84 Missouri
54 O-State
65 Nebraska
70 A&M
67 Tech
60 Baylor
69 Texas
4-1 (0.800)
68 Kansas
84 K-State
84 Tech
92 Missouri
66 I-State
71 A&M
59 Nebraska
58 Oklahoma
55 O-State
73 Texas
4-2 (0.667)
78 Tech
69 Baylor
76 Missouri
70 I-State
62 Oklahoma
77 K-State
63 Colorado
89 Kansas
67 Texas
70 Nebraska
67 A&M
66 O-State
5-1 (0.833)
65 O-State
92 Kansas
53 I-State
76 Texas
71 Colorado
68 Tech
59 Baylor
77 Missouri
61 K-State
57 Nebraska
47 Oklahoma
61 A&M
5-1 (0.833)
51 A&M
58 Baylor
89 Texas
91 Colorado
82 Nebraska
83 I-State (OT)
70 Missouri
80 K-State
82 Kansas
70 Oklahoma
68 Tech
70 O-State
5-1 (0.833)
75 K-State
70 Texas
58 Missouri
69 Nebraska
60 Baylor
71 O-State
90 Colorado
95 I-State
51 A&M
64 Kansas
58 Oklahoma
84 Tech
5-1 (0.833)
60 Texas
54 Baylor
57 Nebraska
67 Colorado
55 I-State
67 K-State
70 Kansas
66 Missouri
61 O-State
64 Oklahoma
54 Tech
66 A&M