Big 12 Conference North Roundup

Iowa State Cyclones (7-0)

Head Coach Larry Eustachy

(47-20 in 2 years at ISU, 206-106 in 10 years overall)

F Martin Rancik 17 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 0.4 APG

F Paul Shirley 12 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.1 APG

G Brandon Hawkins 5.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.1 APG

G Jamaal Tinsley 12.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 6.6 APG

G Kantrail Hilton 10 PPG 5.8 RPG, 2.4 APG

Remember Larry Eustachy, the ranting and raving Iowa State coach who had to be escorted off the Hearnes Center floor during halftime so as not to strangle an official or an MU Police cadet?

Well, it turns out he knew what he was doing all along. Eustachy took the Cyclones to the Elite Eight last season, and looks to do more of the same this season despite not having Marcus Fizer, who has since departed for the NBA, to lean on.

All Eustachy returns is one of the best point guards in the country in Tinsley, who averaged 17.5 points and 6.5 assists in the NCAA Tournament last season.

Tinsley won't have much help outside of Horton and the injury-prone Rancik, but, with last year's Associated Press National Coach of the Year at the helm, expect another NCAA Tournament season from the Cyclones.

Kansas State Wildcats (2-2)

Head Coach Jim Wooldridge

(First year at Kansas State, 229-147 in 13 seasons)

F Matt Siebrant 13.3 PPG 3.3 RPG .5 APG

F Kelvin Howell 9.8 PPG 9.5 RPG .8 APG

G Quentin Buchanan 3.3 PPG 2.8 RPG 1 APG

G Larry Reid 5.8 PPG 3.8 RPG 3.5 APG

G Phineas Atchinson 14.5 PPG 2 RPG .7 APG

Despite new blood at the head coaching position, Kansas State will probably be looking at the same old results this season. Jim Wooldridge comes to Manhattan from the Chicago Bulls, where he was an assistant for his former Louisiana Tech roommate, Tim Floyd.

His new players won't help ease the transition much, as the Wildcats return only three marginal starters.

Wooldridge has brought help, though, in the form of two junior college guards, Larry Reid and Richie Terry, who each averaged more than 18 points per game last season.

But unless his transfers are the second coming of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, expect the former Bulls coach to be mired in another season similar to last year's 2-14 Big 12 showing.

Colorado Buffaloes (6-2)

Head Coach Ricardo Patton

(79-64 in 5 years at Colorado)

C Richard Fox 11.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 0.6 APG

F Jamahl Mosley 16.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.1 APG

F DJ Harrison 18.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2 APG

G Jose Winston 5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 7.1 APG

G Nick Mohr 10.5 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 2.1 APG

After an overtime upset victory over No. 14 Iowa State last season, Colorado seemed to be close to putting together a run for its first NCAA bid in three years. But following wins in the first two games of the Big 12 Tournament, Colorado was slaughtered by Texas, 78-35, and sent to the NIT.

The Buffs will look to best last season's spotty but encouraging effort despite the loss of their leading scorer and biggest ball-hog in the league, Jacquay Walls.

Mosley will be asked to score more to compensate for the loss, as well as carry the load as the team's only senior.

If Colorado doesn't succeed this season, it won't be for a lack of intensity. After losing a home game earlier this season, coach Ricardo Patton brought cots onto the Coors Events Center floor, where his players spent the night.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-2)

Head Coach Kevin Collier

(2-2 in first year at Nebraska, 198-134 overall)

C Kimani Ffriend 18 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1 APG

F Steffon Bradford 14 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 1.3 APG

F Cookie Belcher 20.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 4.8 APG

G Cary Cochran 9.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 4.3 APG

G Rodney Fields 4 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 1.6 APG

The Cornhuskers and first-year coach Kevin Collier aren't in bad shape. While they lost almost half of their scoring and 40 percent of their rebounding to transfers and graduation, Nebraska will get a boost from Belcher, who played only four games last season before receiving a medical redshirt.

Belcher is an animal on defense. He holds the Big 12 record for career steals in just more than three seasons. He is 105 steals away from the NCAA record.

Add seniors Ffriend, a Jamaican who is still learning the game, and Bradford, who finished fifth in the Big 12 in rebounding last year, and the Huskers have the veteran talent to improve on last season's 4-12 Big 12 mark.

Kansas Jayhawks (7-0)

Head Coach Roy Williams

(336-82 in 12 years at Kansas)

C Eric Chenowith 13.4 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 1.1 APG

F Kenny Gregory 17.9 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 2.1 APG

F Drew Gooden 16.4 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.1 APG

G Kirk Hinrich 11.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 7.8 APG

G Jeff Boschee 10.4 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 4.9 APG

The Jayhawks have the right blend of senior leadership and sophomore firepower to be a No. 1-seed in this season's NCAA Tournament.

Seniors Boschee and Luke Axtell come off the bench but could start for 90 percent of NCAA teams. Chenowith, along with sophomores Nick Collison and Gooden — who could be the best Jayhawk since Wilt Chamberlain by the time he graduates in three years — form an intimidating front line and will open up three-pointers for Hinrich and Gregory.

DeShaun Stevenson, who decided to go pro instead of sign with KU out of high school, may get more playing time with the Utah Jazz than he would on a stacked Jayhawk club.

Add Williams, who averages 27.4 wins per season, and the Jayhawks could finally break their trend of disappointing NCAA Tournament performances.

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