Coming into Wednesday's game with Texas Tech, I was hoping for a workmanlike win, something along the lines of the previous week's victory over Iowa State.
Apparently, Frank Martin and the boys had other ideas, as they jumped to a 12-2 lead over Tech by the first media timeout and never looked back, winning 85-73. That final tally does no justice to how one-sided this game was, as the Cats led by 29 in the second half and were never in danger of losing this game.
What I liked...
...balanced scoring. Four players scored in double figures, led by Darren Kent with 18. Wait, huh? Darren Kent? Yep, that's right. The White Tiger scored 18 points on only 10 shots, had four assists, and grabbed six rebounds. We're sorry, Darren. Well done.
...the continued presence of Good Jake. His shooting percentage wasn't great, but we need him scoring in double figures each game. Last night he had 12. Let's hope next time he doesn't need 12 shots to get to that number.
...Denis Clemente's confidence level. Now that things have clicked for him, he expects them to work, and when you're good and you expect good things to happen, they usually do. I'd like to reverse his assist-to-turnover ratio, but other than that it's hard to complain about what he's doing for us these days. Plus, one of the little joys of my life is watching him leave defenders in his wake as he sprints down court.
...more offensive confidence for Dominique Sutton. A nice little turnaround jumper. A fast-break dunk. A three-pointer. Scoring 12 points. Keep it up, Dom. Keep it up.
...going +8 in rebounds. After getting outrebounded - narrowly - in College Station, it was nice to see our guys step up and dominate the boards last night.
...just seeing the Cats play with the confidence they have right now. They expect things to go well, and they blew out a team they should beat at home. I hate saying this, but that's what good teams do.
What I didn't like...
...not closing out the game strong. After pushing the lead to as much as 29, the team coasted down the stretch, giving Tech some easy looks that they finally started knocking down. I know it's hard to keep that edge when the game is in hand, but it was still a little disappointing to see.
What it means and where we're going...
Right now, it means we've won six conference games in a row and stand alone in fourth place in the Big 12. Unless we pretty much win out, it will be difficult to catch Missouri for third place, as we are already two games behind. But from my perspective, we have a very good chance to remain ahead of Nebraska and Texas for the final bye in Oklahoma City. The Huskers have three difficult road games remaining against K-State, KU and Missouri. They also play Baylor in Waco, which may or may not be difficult. If BU somehow gets things turned around, and I'm not counting on that, they may be a desperate team when NU comes to town for the regular-season finale. Meanwhile, Texas still has to face Oklahoma in Austin, and gets Oklahoma State, KU and Texas A&M on the road. With us owning the tiebreaker against the Longhorns, I feel confident about our ability to remain ahead of them in the standings.
As you may or may not have heard, KU will pay a visit to Manhattan on Saturday. My general feeling from perusing the interwebs lately is that KU fans feel a bit sorry for us, seeing as how we're going to face a very pissed-off bunch of beaks on Saturday. I guess they lost to Missouri on Monday, which is, like, kind of a big deal to them. Just remember, Wildcats, we were going to get their very best shot anyway. The Bram is going to be full and loud and nasty when the birds get to town on Saturday. I'm not predicting a win by any stretch, but I've never felt so confident in K-State's abilities.