Sorry for not getting around to this earlier today. I still feel like I'm playing catch-up this week, but things are getting better now.
While last night was not a pretty game in the least, we need to remember one thing: we won. How many times in the last few years have we gone out to Boulder and lost to Colorado in a game we felt like we could or should win? Actually, that's not a rhetorical question, if you know fill me in. I don't have the attention span to look it up right now.
Anyway, we didn't play very well, on the road, and won by 16 (72-56). Let's get to some specifics.
What I liked...
Michael Beasley's second half. He only scored 26 points and was a force. On top of that, he gave us the following pictures, which are great for a blogger.
Don't know if anybody else noticed this, but at one point last night, Beasley was shooting free throws and they went to the camera under the basket. It got in pretty close and Beasley took his dribbles, paused to answer something that somebody in the lane was saying, then looked back up and calmly swished the shot. Sure, maybe I wish he'd keep his eye on his work, but he made it didn't he?
One of the continuing themes this season here at BOTC has been examining our shot selection. Last night may have been the best night to day from the standpoint of getting inside and getting shots. As a team, we only put up 11 three-pointers last night. For comparison, Bill Walker took 10 by himself against A&M. We also attempted 29 free throws and, more encouragingly, made 21 of them.
Unsurprisingly, against Colorado's small front line, the Cats dominated the boards last night, grabbing 41 including 17 offensive. That was in contrast to CU's 30 boards.
We got more good hustle play from Blake Young last night. This guy's last two games have been exactly what we need from him. Step up and score a little if the big guns are out (like Beasley against A&M) and bring the hustle and the defense every game no matter what. I wish they had a stat on the traditional box score that shows how many loose balls you come up with. As for the measurable stats, he had seven points, four assists and three steals.
Good solid game by Bill Walker last night. It's impressive how things are coming together for him the last month or so. He's gone from being dogged as not even an NBA prospect this season back into the first round of some draft boards. Keep it up, Bill.
What I didn't like...
Whining. If you think you got a raw call against you, the way to bring it to the referee's attention is not to stand there, arms spread to the horizons, with an incredulous look on your face, like somebody just told you the cow really could jump over the moon. All you're doing is showing up the official, and officials will not like that. Far too many times last night I saw a call go against our team and then saw Beasley or Jacob Pullen or others whining about it. I really, really hope Frank Martin puts an end to that. While we're at it, I wish the players would stop calling him Frank in interviews with the media. I'm really turning into a crotchety old man.
What else didn't I like...oh yeah, Michael Beasley's first half. I understand he likes to let the game come to him and doesn't like to force things, but three points in any half is just not enough. Like he said after the game, if he could put two halves together he's be pretty good. Well, actually, he'd be freaking unbelievable if he could put two halves together, but that's another story.
I'm really glad we only have one more game against that damn Richard Roby. His 27 points and nine rebounds last night were enough to keep the game interesting when it was clear the rest of his teammates couldn't find their butts with both hands in their back pockets.
And finally, guard play. The guard play last night was very pedestrian, outside of Blake Young. Jacob Pullen and Clent Stewart combined for six points, one assist, two turnovers and three steals. That needs to improve. But as I've mentioned, given all these things that weren't so positive, it's good that we came away with a 16 point road win.
Where are we headed...
Right now, back home to play Iowa State. As I'll get to in my conference review later in this post, the Cyclones got shredded by KU last night in Lawrence and are now 2-2 in conference. We'll have a "Kicking the Tires" preview up tomorrow, and maybe a little more preview of the 'Clones as well. Just like the rest of the conference games, the ISU game is very important. We need to protect our home court, especially against teams in the middle or lower tier of the conference. Also, we need to see a better effort and better focus than we saw last night against the Buffs.
Only eight conference teams were in action last night, a fairly light Wednesday by Big 12 standards. Here's what went down and what it means (to me).
Baylor 116, Texas A&M 110 (5 overtimes)
Unbelievable to me that what ended up being the best conference tilt last night was not picked up by even the most piddling local station here in Texas (and believe me, I have some doozies on my cable package--even got the Tech/Nebraska basketball game last year). This one is a dagger for the Aggies, as they are now 1-3 in conference and for all intents and purposes out of the regular season race. On the other hand, the Bears, who hadn't won a conference road game since shortly after the fall of Rome, picked up their second straight conference road victory. Over a ranked team, no less. Baylor is going to be a force to be dealt with, still undefeated at 4-0 in the league. If you are a Cat fan and are considering attending the K-State/Baylor game in Waco, check out the diary on the right sidebar. I will be there and would be interested in meeting up at George's beforehand.
KU 83, Iowa State 59
I caught a little of this game before heading out to watch the Cats. It really looked like a typical 'beaker game this year. Go on several mini-runs, have a mini-lapse where the opponent "gets back" into the game (i.e., is only down 10 or so), and then the birds go on a big run followed by a slow, painful death for the opponent. Iowa State falls to 2-2, which is better than I expected from them at this point, and obviously KU is 4-0, tied with Baylor in the league.
Texas Tech 92, Mizzou 84
Like the BU/A&M game, I saw none of this one and thus really can't comment much as to what actually happened on the court. As for the game's implications, let's start with Mizzou. This team is really floundering right now, standing 1-3 in the league. That puts them in a big hole with respect to their top North division rivals, and barring a miracle run to end the season, all but out of the NCAA tournament picture. Meanwhile, Tech keeps moving along in stops and starts, getting blown out by Okie State, then beating pounding A&M, then tripping up against OU. I can't figure out what this team is going to do. Maybe this is a sign they're destined for 8-8 in conference. With Bobby Knight stomping the sidelines, I'll never count them out.
That's it. Here are the updated league standings, along with each team's matchup for this Saturday.
Baylor 4-0 (Oklahoma)
KU 4-0 (Nebraska)
K-State 3-0 (Iowa State)
Texas 2-1 (Texas Tech)
Iowa State 2-2 (@ K-State)
Texas Tech 2-2 (@ Texas)
Oklahoma 1-2 (@ Baylor)
Texas A&M 1-3 (@ Oklahoma State)
Mizzou 1-3 (@ Colorado)
Oklahoma State 1-3 (Texas A&M)
Colorado 1-3 (Missouri)
Nebraska 0-3 (@ KU)