K-State Goes Into Deep Freeze, Loses to Oklahoma State, 76-62

K-State took a 49-41 lead with 9:26 remaining in the game, but imploded and lost by 14 to Oklahoma State on Saturday.

That may sound like a sunshine-pumping lead, but lost in the uproar over K-State's implosion against Oklahoma State is the fact that the Wildcats played pretty well for 30 minutes.  Of course, college basketball games last 40 minutes, not 30, and so what you do for the first 30 doesn't matter that much if you fall apart over the last 10 minutes.

The reasons for K-State's implosion are many.  For one, the entire front line was in foul trouble, and eventually four players would foul out, and two others would finish with four fouls apiece.  That led to a lot of minutes on the bench for our better post players, with Jamar Samuels only logging 26 minutes and Wally Judge only seeing 25.  Obviously, those numbers are above-average for both players, but with Curtis Kelly still out to suspension and Freddy Asprilla and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts combining for only 16 minutes, we needed Samuels and Judge available for 30 or more minutes per player.

Hit the jump for more talking points from yesterday's game.

Stagnant Offense

As mentioned above, K-State took a 49-41 lead with 9:26 to play on two made free throws by Wally Judge (yes, you read that correctly).  Of course, the stats after that read like a horror story.  K-State would not make a field goal until there were 2:17 remaining and Rodney McGruder hit a jumper.  All told, K-State went 7:55 without a field goal in that stretch.  The Wildcats scored only nine points in that stretch.  Here are some other wonderful statistics from the drought:

 

  • 8 missed field goals
  • 5 turnovers
  • 3 missed free throws
  • 4 offensive rebounds

 

Scoring nine points in eight minutes on free throws isn't bad at all.  But free throws, even shot at a high percentage, are never more than a supplement to hitting shots from the field.  And that's to say nothing of the five turnovers during that stretch.  This team has to do a better job of protecting the ball.

I didn't have a chance to watch the game a second time to evaluate the offense and determine what the primary problem seemed to be.  There were stretches where the motion seemed to be pretty good.  But when things start to go bad, too often it seems like a lot of the guys just stand around, either not knowing what to do or expecting somebody else to make a play.

Fouls

K-State was whistled for a whopping 31 fouls yesterday, while Oklahoma State was hit with 26.  In case you aren't so good with the math thingy, that's 57 total, or 1.4 per minute.  We've discussed the foul issue in college basketball before on this site.  Some people despise how physical the game has become, with many teams fouling on every possession -- if not every pass -- and daring the officials to call 60 fouls per game.  Some officials have obliged.  Most have not, recognizing that the game is played by bigger, faster, stronger and quicker players now than it was 30 years ago, and that more physical contact is an inevitable byproduct of the game's growth.

Before the season, there was talk that the Big 12 was going to crack down on physical play.  With the way yesterday's game in Stillwater was called, I thought maybe the conference was making good on its threat.  However, from taking a look at the box scores of the other four Big 12 games played yesterday, that was not the case.  The foul totals for each team are listed below.

 

  • Colorado 17, Missouri 21
  • Nebraska 13, Iowa State 18
  • Texas A&M 13, Oklahoma 16
  • Baylor 15, Texas Tech 14

 

None of those numbers by themselves tell us very much.  Perhaps we should have expected this, considering K-State and Oklahoma State lead the Big 12 in fouls per game.  However, the numbers seem a little out of whack, as no other team was whistled for more than 21 fouls (Missouri, third in the Big 12 in fouls per game).  If the Big 12 hoped to send a message that physical play was going to be reigned in this season, it definitely failed.

Other Big 12 Action

Other than a few glimpses of Colorado's surprising win over Missouri, I didn't get to catch any other action yesterday.  The scores of each game are listed below, along with links to the each team's SB Nation blog.

 

K-State has what is, on paper, easily its easiest week of conference action this year, with both Colorado and Texas Tech coming to the Octagon on Wednesday and Saturday, respectively.  Of course, with Colorado's win over Missouri, that looks like anything but a sure win.  Texas Tech gave Baylor a game for 25 minutes or so before falling off.  The bottom line is that if this team can't sweep its games this week, we can legitimately start worrying about whether this team will even make the NCAA Tournament.  What seemed unfathomable a mere month ago is now staring us in the face.  This week's games are all the more important, because in the two following weeks, the Wildcats embark on a four-game stretch that sends them to Columbia, College Station and Lawrence, with a visit from the Baylor Bears thrown in for good measure.

In other words, shit's about to get real.  If this team isn't up to the task, it could easily leave January 2-5 in conference play.
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