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Lzen
03-04-2005, 12:35 PM
Published Friday, March 4, 2005

Caywood: Surprise, Simien will be Big 12 player of year

By Kurt Caywood
The Capital-Journal

Running down the Big 12 basketball season as the Big 12 basketball season runs down ...

My Associated Press All-Big 12 ballot started with this first team: Kansas' Wayne Simien, Oklahoma State's Joey Graham, Texas Tech's Ronald Ross, OSU's John Lucas, and Kansas State's Jeremiah Massey. ...

Simien is the player of the year. All 24 voters will say so. Billy Gillespie could be unanimous as coach of the year, too. ...

I struggled a little with the fifth spot, mostly because of Kansas State's record. But Massey has brought it all year. It's not his fault the Wildcats have only five conference wins. ...

If the rest of the panel disagrees, and I imagine it will, K-State still won't have had a first-team all-conference pick since Elliot Hatcher in 1996. ...

As good as that top five is, the league's five best freshmen -- Okie State's JamesOn Curry, Texas' Daniel Gibson, Baylor's Aaron Bruce, Nebraska's Joe McCray, and Tech's Martin Zeno -- could give it a pretty good game. ...

Then, at the TV timeout, the freshmen coach could sub in Colorado's Richard Roby, Tech's Joseph Jones, Oklahoma's David Godbold, K-State's Clent Stewart and KU's Sasha Kaun. ...

Yes, you do have to go 10 deep in Big 12 freshmen before you strike Jayhawk. ...

The Jayhawks' work is far from done. The combination of a KU loss at Missouri and an OU win at Texas Tech this weekend would give the Sooners the top seed in the Big 12 Tournament. ...

Oklahoma State would be the Big 12 champion if the OSU-KU game had been in Stillwater. And it wouldn't have been close. ...

I say that, and then I remember how Kansas looked and how determined Kansas was, sans Simien, at Kentucky. ...

My All-Big 12 second team: OU's Taj Gray, KU's Aaron Miles, Iowa State's Curtis Stinson, Bruce and Texas A&M's Antoine Wright. Top newcomer: Gray. Top freshman: Bruce. ...

Let's get this out of the way now: The Big 12 championship game will not give or cost anyone a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The whole bracket is built off those four No. 1s, and the committee can't wait until the conclusion of a 2 p.m. game to start building. ...

The ACC, Big Ten and SEC tournaments also finish too late to make a difference. ...

"All of us that are in those four conferences go into it with our eyes wide open," said Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby, the selection committee chairman. "We're more than willing to take the big stage, and we're more than willing to take the money that goes along with it. There's also a down side." ...

My All-Big 12 third team: KU's Keith Langford, Gibson, UT's Brad Buckman, Roby and Iowa State's Jared Homan. ...

NCAA bids: Texas? Yes. Iowa State? Work to do. A&M? Unless the Big 12 gets seven, the Aggies' nonconference schedule makes them the odd team out. ...

We'll leave the league for the last word -- from Illinois junior guard Deron Williams: "39-0 gets our attention now. That's what ya'll wanted to hear the whole time. I think we can start thinking about that now." ...

Kurt Caywood's column regularly appears Mondays, Fridays and Sundays. He can be reached at (785) 295-1288 or kurt.caywood@cjonline.com.

Link (http://hawkzone.cjonline.com/stories/030405/haw_allbig12.shtml)