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Scouting Report

Done with basketball yet? I am, although I admit that I do enjoy a nonsensical Fire Rick Barnes rant. Tantō, anyone?

Some folks are into masochism (read: still absorbed in hoops). In the event you haven’t had enough, I recommend reading Trips’ wrap-up or a Jayhawk’s take on the state of the program.

If you’re ready to move on, then you’ve noted that conference baseball is starting. Not caught up on this year’s hardballers? Here are a few thoughts on the early-goings during non-conference play.

Below is a primer on what we might expect out of the rest of the Big 12 in 2011. I am looking for threats to the Longhorns run at a fifth conference title in the last six years, but the league is looking rather vulnerable. I am admittedly bullish on this Texas team, but that doesn’t change the fact that there isn’t another Big 12 roster that is built for the challenge of usurping the throne.

It figures to be an entertaining season though, primarily because OU and A&M are the two biggest threats. Each team is good enough to wrest a series win against the Horns, but I don’t think either has the components necessary to rack up 23 league wins.

Actually, this column is just an excuse to make another list of colored team names.


Record: 13-7/1-2
ERA: 4.99
Runs/Game: 6.8
Fielding: .973
Schedule notes: Solid series win over UGA in Athens. Beat UofH and Rice at the Houston College Classic. Dropped a tight game to TCU in Waco.
Threat level: Yellow
Their season on Twitter: Ceiling determined by starting pitching. If they develop, Bears are better than Yellow.

Record: 9-10/2-1
ERA: 3.38
Runs/Game: 3.3
Fielding: .973
Schedule notes: Lost to most of the quality non-con opponents including TCU, ASU & Arkansas. Showed up in the conference opener and took a series from OkStU.
Threat level: Blue
Their season on Twitter: Pitching is very capable, but KU is worst offensive team in the league. Will win some Big 12 series from better teams. Love a 2-1 game.

Kansas State
Record: 12-7/0-3
ERA: 3.78
Runs/Game: 5.4
Fielding: .963
Schedule notes: Mixed results in Baseball at the Beach tourney - good win over Coastal Carolina, but turned around and got pounded by Cal. Beyond that, KSU racked up wins against Directional U.
Threat level: Blue
Their season on Twitter: KSU should improve with time. Defense must get better. Will be Yellow by end of season and tricky in conference tournament.

Record: 10-10
ERA: 5.08
Runs/Game: 5.7
Fielding: .964
Schedule notes: The Tigers had a rough start and then ripped off six consecutive wins…..over Le Moyne and Central Michigan.
Threat level: Teal
Their season on Twitter: Tigers look like worst team in league. Sherzer, Gibson, Senne are long gone and it’s obvious. A few individual talents here, but not enough.

Record: 11-7
ERA: 3.46
Runs/Game: 6.3
Fielding: .974
Schedule notes: Great series win over UCLA at Hawks Field where all 3 games were extra inning affairs.
Threat level: Orange
Their season on Twitter: Team does not have names on par with their past but is very balanced and dangerous. If pen improves, Horns’ visit to Lincoln will be tricky.

Record: 17-5/1-2
ERA: 3.39
Runs/Game: 8.0
Fielding: .972
Schedule notes: OU started 16-0 and was the last remaining unbeaten in D-I baseball. The Sooners then dropped 2 straight at ASU and opened conference play by losing a series to A&M in Norman.
Threat level: Orange…just because
Their season on Twitter: Offense = ridic good. Not sold on pitching ‘til I see more against Big 12. Not a roster built to beat Texas but will bash on rest of league.

Oklahoma State
Record: 14-5/1-2
ERA: 2.37
Runs/Game: 5.9
Fielding: .973
Schedule notes: Tough to find a quality win on the Pokes schedule, but there aren’t many terrible losses either. Lost their Big 12 opening series at KU.
Threat level: Yellow
Their season on Twitter: Stats propped up by early sched. Dangerous in terms of talent thus scary team in 3-game series. Team/stats will normalize by end of year.

Texas A&M
Record: 15-5/2-1
ERA: 1.68
Runs/Game: 6.2
Fielding: .985
Schedule notes: Except for a hard fought win over CS-F, the Aggies have racked up an unremarkable 12-2 record in College Station. Away from home, A&M is 3-3, but the competition has been much stronger also.
Threat level: Red
Their season on Twitter: Good offense, solid defense & great pitching. Posted a series win at OU, so they have early advantage. Expected to be a nuisance all Spring.

Texas Tech
Record: 14-7/2-1
ERA: 4.98
Runs/Game: 7.1
Fielding: .970
Schedule notes: The Red Raiders were swept by TCU in Lubbock. Take away those three losses and Tech has a sterling 14-4 record against less-than-precious competition. Quality series win in Waco to start conference play.
Threat level: Blue
Their season on Twitter: Above average offense, but starting rotation is meh. Trouble for rest of league. Will have head-scratching wins and losses.

(* Note: Stats are through Monday, March 21st)