The Times West Virginian

Sports

December 11, 2012

Kansas still front-runner; OSU sneaky good

MORGANTOWN — When West Virginia’s football team moved into the Big 12 this year there was much anticipation, for it appeared that there really wasn’t a great national power among the teams, which should have boded well for WVU.

The first part of that played out, Kansas State being the best of the best and rising as high as No. 1 in the nation, but when they finished playing no Big 12 team could make it to the national championship game.

Now basketball is upon us and it looks like it might be more of the same, no one showing any sign of national dominance, although Kansas, as always, is the team to beat. The Jayhawks have gotten off to a 7-1 start.

Kansas State and Oklahoma State also are 7-1, but Kansas has won six in a row since dropping its second game of the season to Michigan State.

The Kansas coach was asked to give a Self analysis of the conference as a national player this year.

“I think it’s going to be good,” he said. “From a national perspective, we will be better in January, February and March than we have been to here.”

Bill Self was saying the league had not found itself yet.

“Our league has had some losses that aren’t great and we’ve contributed to that,” he said. “The league has had some good wins, but not as many as losses.”

That doesn’t bother him so much because the league is so young from top to bottom, West Virginia being a perfect example.

“When you are young you will be up and down,” Self said. “We haven’t had as many good non-conference wins as in the past.”

The problem is that making up ground late in the season for tournament rankings is sometimes difficult when league teams are knocking each other off.

“It’s hard to make up a lot of RPI points when you are playing in the league,” he said.

Kansas may be beginning to hit its stride, having just put together its best game of the year against Colorado.

“I think we are making progress,” he admitted, “but sometimes it’s two steps forward, one back.”

While the Colorado game had him singing a happy tune, he hardly felt his team had arrived.

“One game doesn’t make it,” he said. “We still need to rebound the ball. There’s a ton of things to work on and put in.”

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