Well, that was a disaster.
After the improvement we had seen since the Cal game, I was excited to see the Wildcats take on some NCAA-tournament worthy competition. That excitement lasted all of about two minutes into the game.
Millions of theories are being advanced today regarding what happened last night and what it means going forward. Really, I don't think there's much new. We have a team led by freshmen, and teams led by freshmen are going to play inconsistently.
Here are a few of my thoughts on what happened last night:
***Bill Walker tries to do too much when he plays in Cincinnati, his hometown. I don't have any problem with him scoring 31 points, but I do have a problem with K-State losing. Even though he shot a solid percentage (56) from the field, he was not efficient, only scoring 1.3 points per attempt. Also, seven three-point attempts is about five too many for Walker.
By contrast, Fred Brown scored 25 points on only 11 shots, or 2.3 points per attempt. Although I don't see Brown consistently contributing that output, it was good to see him recognize that he had the hot hand and put up the shots while they were falling.
***Michael Beasley should NEVER take only six shots in a game. He should take a minimum of 15 shots every night. Even last night, despite foul trouble, he played 34 minutes.
***Taking Beasley out of the game in the first half with two fouls and not reinserting him under any circumstances is ridiculous. Now if he picks up two fouls in the first five minutes, by all means take him out...for a while. But at some point you have to put him back in and trust him not to pick up the third. He's just too valuable (when used properly) to sit on the bench.
***We looked like we decided that after two weeks of beating up mediocre teams we thought we didn't need to follow the game plan or run anything resembling a set offense. If we want to play like Memphis, that's fine, but we don't have the players Memphis has, and it's going to result in a bunch of games like this.
***The "defense" last night was atrocious. Xavier shot 53 percent from the field and from three-point range. We'll lose a lot of games in the Big 12 if we play defense like that.
***At this point, we have one good win (Cal) and one bad loss (Xavier, bad because it was a blowout). We are going to have to put together a big run during conference play to make the Dance, and this is going to be a tough year in the Big 12. All the top three teams (Texas, A&M, that school down the river) have played very well thus far. On top of that, teams like Baylor, Oklahoma and Nebraska have been surprisingly good to this point, and will be tough outs, especially on the road. And while teams like Iowa State, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech have been pretty underwhelming, we can't count any of them as wins at this point.
Last year, we went 10-6 and narrowly missed out on the NCAA Tournament. Given the Big 12's much-improved RPI ranking this year, it's possible that 10-6 gets us in. But if the 10 wins are against teams like Nebraska, Iowa State, Missouri, Colorado, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, we will be lacking any semblance of a marquee win. It has become imperative at this point that we win a couple games against the top teams in the league, namely Texas, Texas A&M, and the 'beaks.
Much more to come in the next few days about the state of the basketball team and the rest of the Big 12 going forward. Suffice it to say I'm very concerned about our ability even to equal last season's 10-6 record at this point. But this team has surprised me before.