Texas Longhorns: Rodney McGruder

AUSTIN, Texas -- The Big 12’s head coaches reminded everyone today of the expectations Longhorns sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo brings with him into this season by naming him to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team.

Kabongo, a 2011-12 All-Big 12 honorable mention selection, started all 34 games last season as a true freshman. A pass-first point guard, he finished fourth in the league in assists per game (5.2), second on the team in steals (38) and third on the team in scoring (9.8 ppg).

“I think it is a testament to the coaching staff and the work that I’ve put in,” Kabongo said. “Just countless hours in the gym and you are seeing it pay off.”

Kabongo is joined on the team with Baylor’s Pierre Jackson, Kansas’ Jeff Withey, Kansas State’s Rodney McGruder and Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash.

“I just want to continue to get better,” he said. “I know it is a preseason honor and I am honored for it. But at the same time I know any of my teammates could have been on that list. So I’m just happy to be on the list.”

Fellow Longhorns sophomore Sheldon McClellan was named an Honorable Mention selection. He’s the team’s top returning scorer after averaging 11.3 points per game last season.

Jackson, Baylor’s point guard, was named the Preseason Player of the Year. Amath M’Baye (Oklahoma) was voted as the Preseason Newcomer of the Year and Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus’ Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) was tabbed the Preseason Freshman of the Year.

Conference Power Rankings: Big 12

February, 6, 2012
2/06/12
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Here are this week’s Big 12 power rankings:

1. Missouri: The Tigers have played the two toughest teams in the league (Kansas and Baylor) and defeated them both. Guard Marcus Denmon had made just five of his previous 31 attempts from 3-point range before going 6-for-9 from beyond the arc in Saturday’s win against Kansas.

2. Kansas: The Jayhawks blew an eight-point lead with just more than 2 minutes remaining in Saturday’s loss at Missouri, but with Baylor up next on Wednesday, there’s no time to mope about the loss. Kansas is 16-2 all-time against the Bears, who it defeated by 18 points last month at Allen Fieldhouse.

3. Baylor: The Bears’ Big 12 title hopes depend largely on what happens this week. Baylor hosts Kansas on Wednesday and travels to Missouri Saturday. Baylor’s only two losses are against those two teams. The Bears' offense looked sloppy and disorganized in last week’s victories over Texas A&M (63-60) and Oklahoma State (64-60).

4. Iowa State: The Cyclones won at Oklahoma Saturday despite getting just three points from leading scorer Royce White. Fred Hoiberg's squad has won five of its past six games overall and could continue that streak this week against Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.

5. Kansas State: The Wildcats got back on the winning track by defeating Texas A&M Saturday at home. And the good times should continue when Kansas State hosts Texas Tech on Tuesday. Leading scorer Rodney McGruder has made just four of his previous 20 3-point attempts.

6. Texas: Rick Barnes’ squad hasn’t caught many breaks in conference play. Texas’ six league losses have come by an average of five points. The Longhorns had lost five of their previous six games before defeating Texas Tech on Saturday. Monday’s road game against a beat up Texas A&M squad is winnable.

7. Texas A&M: The Aggies almost defeated Baylor without Khris Middleton and Dash Harris on Wednesday, and they led Kansas State at halftime before falling 64-53 Saturday in Manhattan. Considering all of the injuries, Texas A&M deserves credit for competing as well as it has.

8. Oklahoma: The Sooners have dropped four of their previous five games heading into Monday’s contest against Missouri. All of a sudden the team that got off to a 9-1 start is 3-7 in league play. Steven Pledger and Andrew Fitzgerald are averaging a combined 31.1 points.

9. Oklahoma State: Three weeks after losing to them by 41 points, Oklahoma State nearly upset the Baylor Bears before falling 64-60 Saturday in Stillwater. Freshman Brian Williams had 23 points in the loss. On Tuesday, Oklahoma State hosts the same Iowa State squad that it lost to on a buzzer-beater Jan. 18 in Ames.

10. Texas Tech: Last week’s home game against Oklahoma State appeared to be the Red Raiders’ best chance of picking up a Big 12 win. Instead, Billy Gillispie’s team was throttled 80-63. Jordan Tolbert leads Texas Tech in scoring with 11.9 points per contest. But he’s averaging just 6.3 points in his past three games.

Conference Power Rankings: Big 12

January, 16, 2012
1/16/12
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As we get ready for Monday's showdown in Lawrence between Baylor and Kansas, here are this week’s Big 12 power rankings:

1. Baylor: The Bears aren’t just talented. They’re tough. Three of Baylor’s last six wins have come by two points. Freshman Quincy Miller is beginning to find his groove for a team that scored 106 points in Saturday’s win over Oklahoma State. Monday’s matchup with Kansas at the Phog may be the most anticipated game of the Big 12 season.

2. Kansas: Tyshawn Taylor scored 28 points in Saturday’s come-from-behind victory against Iowa State at Allen Fieldhouse, where Kansas has won 84 of its past 85 games. As good as Taylor and forward Thomas Robinson have been, the Jayhawks won’t beat Baylor unless complementary players such as Travis Releford, Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson step up.

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