I'll address the Diamond Head Classic in chronological order.
In the third-place game, Baylor held an early 16-8 lead and looked to be much improved at attacking the zone.
Then everything fell apart. Florida State went on an 8-0 run to take a 37-33 halftime lead, and the Bears never quite got back into it in the second half.
Every time they drew close, they'd take bad, selfish shots and blow their chance.
Baylor's 1-2 performance matched Nebraska for the worst Big 12 showing in a three-day tournament this season, and the Bears have dropped three of their last four, casting severe doubts on their ability to be a conference challenger.
The vaunted frontcourt of Acy and the Joneses allowed two Seminoles to post double-doubles.
Furthermore, the Bears got down by as much as 10, were outscored 28-18 in the paint and were out-rebounded 43-35. Then, with the game on the line, LaceDarius Dunn bricked two consecutive free throws. Trouble in Waco...
Scott Drew's already making excuses, of course:
"The good thing is it's been against quality teams and we've found some areas that we need to get better. We're a very young team and we know our basketball is ahead of us rather than behind us."
Nice to know K-State's not the only one having early-season struggles. But at least we've played a decent schedule.
Follow the jump to see how bad Baylor's RPI looks now (P.S. Their SOS is an underwhelming 227), as well as a quick rundown of the Diamond Head championship game.
For one half, Butler and Washington State appeared to be evenly matched foes. The score was tied at 38 just before halftime, but the Bulldogs were able to sink the final shot for a narrow 40-38 halftime lead.
Well, that score proved to be an illusion — Butler opened the second half by outscoring the Cougars 21-4 and eventually pulled away to a 84-68 victory that wasn't close at all.
Full credit to Butler coach Brad Stevens, who continues to be one of the greatest strategists in the game with the way he puts his players in the best position to win, while also minimizing an opponent's advantages and maximizing their weaknesses. Butler overwhelms you with unselfish team play and execution, not athleticism.
That said, I thought Wazzu showed a lot of moxie in this game, lopsided final score notwithstanding. I maintain that the Cougs will be a factor, if not a favorite, in the watered-down Pac-10, and don't be surprised at all to hear their name called on Selection Sunday. Even with the loss, I think they have a chance to enter the polls tomorrow.
Indeed, the win in Pullman might go down as K-State's best of the non-conference season. Considering games against Virginia Tech, Gonzaga, Duke, Florida and UNLV all were more hyped entering the year (probably because all five were ranked to start the season), it just goes to show you that you never know.
Associated Press Ranking = 11
ESPN/USA Today Ranking = 11
Overall Record = 10-3
RPI = 14
SOS = 10
Signature Wins (RPI 1-30) = none
Quality Wins (RPI 31-100) = James Madison, Virginia Tech, Presbyterian, Gonzaga, Washington State
Bad Losses (RPI 101 or greater) = none
- James Madison (9-3, 0-1 CAA) | RPI = 78
- Virginia Tech (7-4, 0-1 ACC) | RPI = 40
- Presbyterian (6-7, 1-1 Big South) | RPI = 82
- Gonzaga (7-5) | RPI = 65
No. 1 Duke (11-0) | RPI = 4
- Texas Southern (2-8) | RPI = 181
- Emporia State (7-4, 4-1 MIAA*)
Washington State (10-2) | RPI = 59: Loss to Butler (68-84 in the Diamond Head Classic)
- Alcorn State (0-9) | RPI = 253
- Loyola-Chicago (9-4, 0-2 Horizon League) | RPI = 209
No. 20 Florida (9-3) | RPI = 28
UNLV (11-2) | RPI = 13
- UMKC (7-5, 0-2 Summit League) | RPI = 255
- North Florida (4-7, 1-1 Atlantic Sun) | RPI = 131
- Savannah State (1-13) | RPI = 338
- Oklahoma State (11-1) | RPI = 35
- Colorado (8-4) | RPI = 153
- Texas Tech (6-6) | RPI = 195
- No. 9 Missouri (11-1) | RPI = 29
- No. 25 Texas A&M (11-1) | RPI = 31
- No. 15 Baylor (8-3) | RPI = 144: Loss to Florida State (61-68 in the Diamond Head Classic)
- No. 3 Kansas (11-0) | RPI = 1
- Nebraska (10-2) | RPI = 101
- Iowa State (11-2) | RPI = 110
- Oklahoma (6-6) | RPI = 177
- No. 18 Texas (10-2) | RPI = 26