Losing in Lawrence last night wasn't unexpected, but it was yet another reminder of how much we hate to lose to KU. Way too much of that lately. Here's what I saw while watching the game at the bar. If you haven't noticed, this post is kind of a stream-of-consciousness on what I saw transpire. As such, I sometimes forget to mention things. Like, for example, Buchi Awaji not getting into the game against OU. I'm sure I'll miss something today, too.
What I liked...
...a team that fights. It would have been really easy to take our ball and go home after falling behind 18-0 to start the game. But not when your coach is Frank Martin. It kind of reminded me of the scene from the movie Enemy at the Gates where the Russians machine-gunned their own soldiers if they tried to flee (yeah, I know, stick with me here). The players could either charge into battle and face the enemy, or they could face ceaseless fire from their own coach. Apparently, Frank Martin is far scarier than KU's players.
...more good play from Luis Colon. No, it's not always pretty. But Lu got it done on offense for us, scoring 12 points on eight shots in 16 minutes. As Martin said in the postgame, he needs to learn to play with foul trouble, because we're going to need him out there. But I'll take 12 points and four or five fouls from Colon any night; now we just need to work on not fouling out at the 12-minute mark.
...good Dominique Sutton. He squares up, gets set, and swishes a three-pointer. He crashes the glass hard, goes up strong, scores, and gets fouled. The kids athleticism is limitless. He has it in him to be a force on both ends of the floor. Let's hope all he needs is some confidence.
...Jamar Samuels. Period, end of sentence, chapter, story. Put him in the starting lineup. I know he's a freshman. I know he's going to make mistakes. I don't care. I'd much rather have him make the mistakes that Darren Kent is making right now so that he doesn't make them next year. Plus, we can use 11 points -- on only five shots -- and six rebounds.
What I didn't like...
...sleepwalking through the first five minutes. Being down 18-0 pretty much ends what little chance you might have had to win the game, though our guys did an admirable job of fighting back.
...more poor play from Jake Pullen. The kid is in a funk right now. He looks like he's pressing because he knows it, too, which doesn't help. Against OU it was turnovers, last night it was poor shot selection. We can't have him going 5-15 and 1-6 from three-point range. Denis Clemente isn't playing a whole lot better, either, so I should just say our overall backcourt play. Hell, even Fred Brown wasn't very good last night.
...bad Dominique Sutton. That weak, turning-to-the-side shot in the lane was flabbergasting. Sutton is athletic, strong and long, and in that situation he needs to take it right to Aldrich's chest. Cole Aldrich is not going to take a freaking charge. Take it to his chest, draw the contact, try to draw the foul, and get the shot off. If he blocks it clean, congrats, he beat you that time. But you're more likely to draw a foul. Sutton needs to assert himself, because we all know he has the ability.
...a really bad game by Darren Kent. Three points, two rebounds, two turnovers, nine minutes. Yikes.
What it means and where we're going...
It means we lost to those evil, arrogant pricks down the river (loved the sign that said "Start Your Tractors." Don't ever forget that you live in Kansas, too, and to 99.9 percent of the nation, that means you're a bunch of hayseeds, too). Disappointing, but we'll live to fight another day. That bunch isn't unbeatable, and we have a chance to beat them in Bramlage.
Right now, we're going to Lincoln on Saturday, and we really need a win. I'm not going to call it a must-win, because road games in the Big 12 are too difficult to be relied upon for victories. But in our preseason projections, most of us counted on sweeping what appear to be the three weakest teams in the North -- Nebraska, Iowa State, Colorado -- to get to our desired win total. If we can't get this one, we'll really have our backs against the wall next Wednesday when the Baylor Bears come to Manhattan.