Ubben's Big 12 Mailbag: NCAA tourney, Baylor jerseys, Texas QB
MAR 13, 2014 10:31p ET
Hope you guys are enjoying the Big 12 Tournament this week. Thanks again for your questions for this week's Mailbag.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter for your chance to be featured. Let's get straight to it.
Michael Wilson asks: Is Max Wittek gonna give Ash/whoever else a run for their money to be starter?
David Ubben: If Texas does indeed land Wittek, it's a real possibility. Ash is an above average quarterback, but everyone knows depending on him long-term is a tenuous proposition, considering his history with concussions. I hate to see that happen to any player, but it's reality for Ash.
He practiced very, very little last season and with a new coaching staff and system coming in, there's no telling how he'll look in the spring during full-speed work. Wittek obviously wouldn't be there for Texas, but it's within reason that Ash could close the spring without impressing the new coaching staff. I like Tyrone Swoopes' athleticism, but judging what we've seen from him when he hasn't thrown behind closed doors, his accuracy has a long way to go before he's a dependable starter.
At the very least, Wittek could provide Texas a more solid situation at backup quarterback, but despite his modest career at USC, he's got enough talent and is familiar with a pro-style system like what we'll probably see from Texas to make a run at the starting job.
Craballin asks: Why does the NCAA hate Baylor's new jerseys?
David Ubben: Ha, I really don't get this ruling. For one, Mississippi State wore uniforms with "Hail State" across the top earlier this season. That means putting a team slogan on the front isn't a first.
I understand the NCAA needs to draw a line on what can and can't go on a jersey, but "Sic 'Em" is by far the most recognizable slogan for Baylor. If you're going to draw a line, it ought to be a little further than that.
Who does it hurt? I don't understand why them wearing jerseys with a slogan prominently featured is such a big deal.
That said, how does Adidas not check on this with the NCAA before spending so many man hours designing and producing uniforms that could never be worn? That's nothing short of a colossal mistake. They weren't my favorite uniforms in the world, but they were at least interesting.
Stories like this are why no one likes the NCAA.
Red Zone Blues asks: What's your thoughts on Cale Gundy's tweet at Nick Saban?
David Ubben: Not a good look for Gundy, but ultimately harmless. It'd be a little different if he was talking smack to a conference opponent.
I did find it humorous that he felt the need to tweak Saban on news that was almost a week old.
It was a "spoils of victory" type of situation, but Gundy doesn't really have the rep of a guy who necessarily exudes humility. The tweet sounded like something he might say, but doing so in a public forum was surprising. He didn't break any rules, though.
Considering all the national title hype surrounding OU this spring after that Sugar Bowl win, you can bet this will come up again if the Sooners somehow run into Bama in the playoff next year.
Joseph Hosch asks: What Big 12 team do you think will make it the furthest in the NCAA tourney?
David Ubben: I've been on them for a few weeks, and after Joel Embiid's injury, I'm officially moving them ahead of Kansas, even after KU's win over OSU on Thursday.
Give me Iowa State. The Cyclones are experienced, but I love their combination of inside-outside and the way they're able to spread the ball around. With Melvin Ejim, DeAndre Kane and Georges Niang, they're not going to get railroaded by a poor shooting day from one star. All three of those guys average more than 16 points and all three can contribute in ways other than scoring. I love Dustin Hogue's toughness and nastiness inside, too.
That balance will pay off in a high-pressure situation like the tournament.
Brandon Wright asks: Where is WVU gonna stand in preseason conference rankings next year?
David Ubben: It's not going to be pretty. It's possible they could be as high as seventh if voters believe they can be better than TCU.
For me, though, I like the potential of Iowa State. The Cyclones hired OC Mark Mangino and have some nice pieces in guys like Quenton Bundrage, Aaron Wimberly and quarterback Grant Rohach, who came on late in the season.
I'd have to vote WVU ninth, personally. It's close between the Mountaineers and Iowa State, but I'd lean Cyclones right now.
It'sTheJester asks: How big of a point differential per game would Cobbins have been for Oklahoma State this season? How many games swing for Pokes?
David Ubben: Biggest overstated story of the season. Cobbins is a good player, and his absence hurts OSU's depth more than anything. The dropoff from him to Kamari Murphy isn't gigantic. I don't think it boils down to a point differential per game as much as it boils down to matchups and teams that beat up OSU inside.
I look back on Baylor and Oklahoma, the final two games of the losing streak without Marcus Smart, and see a couple games where Cobbins may have swung the outcome. K-State, the first game without him, might have been different, and so might have the 3 OT loss to Iowa State.
Cobbins is a good player, but I don't quite understand how his absence has convinced some to morph him into some kind of superhuman in their minds.