Baylor preview: Angel's growing pains reach a new level

It's easy to overlook seven, or even eight turnovers when they come with 27 points, 11 assists, and a game-winning 3-pointer. But when you miss all eight shots you take and your team loses by six, seven turnovers tend to stand out like a sort thumb.

In fact, this is probably going to seem harsh, but I think a strong argument could be made that Angel Rodriguez played the absolute single worst game of any individual Kansas State player all season Monday night against Kansas.

I found myself a tad disappointed TheBigE didn't do a game recap, because I don't think there' s any way he could have avoided giving Angel what I believe would have been the first 'F' of the season. About the only way he could have been worse would have been if he had also missed the front end of a 1-and-1, traveled, and then missed another front end in consecutive possessions with his team ahead by four in the final 63 seconds.

I took the time to go back and watch Angel's performance Friday afternoon (thanks ESPN3!) and found myself even more appalled than the first time, beginning with how he made dribbling look like something he was trying for the first time early in the game. It was also a little distressing to realize I couldn't blame Frank for continually putting Angel back in after yanking him for a terrible miscue, just because every other K-State player is so limited at the point guard position.

Some of the mistakes could have perhaps been attributed to youth had they been done only once, but that's really the most astonishing thing -- every thing he did wrong, he did wrong at least three times. I'm sure you can think of others, but check the jump for Angel's most most egregious errors, in my mind, plus a quick preview of the Baylor game.

1. Absolutely careless passes - Angel has looked brilliant passing the ball at times this season, so it was rather jarring to see him so off on a few fairly simple lobs, as well as some bounce passes that might not have even gotten to their targets had they been perfect. He seemed to be passing like an AAU point guard, casually going for all flash and very little substance.

2. Poor protection of the basketball - Yes, I understand that Tyshawn Taylor is better than most defenders at stripping the ball from unsuspecting guards. But it's not like this is a secret, especially after the 3rd or 4th time it occurs in a game. That can't happen.

3. Holding on to the ball too long on the drive - Bob Knight obviously pointed out the most egregious example of this near the end of the game, when Jeff Withey got what may have been his easiest block of the season while Jordan Henriquez stood all alone near the basket. But other times, too, Angel made the wrong decision by shooting on an otherwise quality drive to the basket

Don't take the Rodney McGruder/Denis Clemente floater unless you can actually make it. Otherwise you're just going to look stupid.

Of course, part of this awful game were things that will just inevitably happen from time to time, like the missed 3-pointers. As I recall, I only had a real problem with one of those, which is actually quite good by Angel's standards.

I guess the one positive is that at no point did I feel like Angel's struggles came from a lack of effort. He has clearly bought into Frank's philosophy, as evidenced by the picture above, but you still need some fundamentals and basketball IQ.

Regrettably, one of the perils of asking an inconsistent 19-year-old to run your offense is that he will make errors, and sometimes those will have a domino effect. But games like Monday simply can't happen, and Angel's going to face other teams with quick guards and active big men, so he'd better learn how to deal with it.

In fact, Baylor could fit that description, on a good day.......

It seems to me the Bears are getting a bad rap, considering they are the only team in the nation without a loss to any team outside the top 5 in the country. Of course, it's worth noting they also haven't played anyone ranked 6-22, but that's still an impressive statistic.

Despite having top 5 talent, Scott Drew has managed to prevent this team from looking like a top 5 team for the majority of this season. Still, K-State will certainly need to play one of its best games to spring the upset in Waco.

My best guess as to why this team doesn't have any stumbles against worse teams is because they have so many scoring options. If one has a bad game, there are always plenty of others to pick up the slack.

We all know Perry Jones III can be awesome or soft depending on the day, and Quincy Acy is an absolute beast inside. Brady Heslip is a 3-point specialist that Will Spradling can kind of guard without becoming a defensive liability, although we'd better not enter this game expecting him to miss 6 of 10 shots again with the open looks he got in Manhattan.

The real X-factors for this team are Pierre Jackson and Quincy Miller. Jackson can be dynamite or a liability with the basketball, and I'm not really sure what causes each one to appear

Miller can be virtually unstoppable if he's shooting like he did in Columbia, but the best option remains to make him take the jump shot rather than letting him get inside on the dribble-drive. Like any freshman not named Anthony Davis, he has had some games where he's made virtually no impact.

Of course a zone defense is going to be worrisome for any team that shoots below 33 percent from 3-point range for the season. I'm really hoping Jamar Samuels comes out with the same intensity he showed last game, where it looked like he finally realized that his career is ending soon and he has just as much to lose as the Arrested Development writers mocking their demise at the end of Season Three.

To be quite honest, it's very hard to imagine Kansas State winning this basketball game. I think the only way it happens is if we get incredible 3-point shooting as a team or a superhuman performance from Rod and/or Jamar. Here's hoping.

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