You may have noticed the last few days that I refused to talk about our game next Wednesday. That's not because I don't understand what the Sunflower Showdown game means, especially the one in Manhattan. It's because I believed we needed to focus on Iowa State, although I also know I'm a blogger who's page isn't read by the coaches or players. Point is, we need to remember this isn't a 16-game conference season. It's 16 different seasons of one game a piece.
As for today, we got exactly what we needed to see. Despite a somewhat slow start, the players never showed signs that they were distracted or didn't want to be there. It was a very workmanlike victory--boringly so--and that's perfect. Even better, with Baylor's loss to Oklahoma, it sets up a game on Wednesday that will determine who is leading the conference approximately one-third of the way through the conference season.
Anyway, on to the breakdown.
What I liked...
First up is attitude. The complaining about officiating calls that we saw at Colorado was gone, replaced by a questioning but respectful attitude. It does no good to show an official up by holding your hands high and pasting an incredulous look on your face. You're actually less likely to accomplish anything good by it. Looks like Frank Martin got everybody's attention on Thursday and Friday.
Michael Beasley only comes in second on the list because we've almost gotten used to this from him. Which is really a shame, when you think about it. Sometimes I take for granted just how good he really is. I went up to the campus rec today to shoot some hoops and get ready for our intramural season that starts tomorrow, and needless to say I was a little rusty. But he goes out there, against the best players in the country, and makes it look easy. It's not. In case you missed it, he only dropped 33 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in all of 22 minutes. We'll never have another player like him, folks, so enjoy it.
As far as other players go, Jacob Pullen deserves credit for a well-played game. I had no idea he scored 13 until I saw the box score, but there's another number(s) that really shows how good he is. That of course would be assist-to-turnover ratio, and he had four of the former and only one of the latter. We really need him to continue that type of play in this next game.
Finally, let's give a little love to Darren Kent. He's really finding his shooting stroke, which would be a huge addition to the team. I really like the way he's toughened up and isn't afraid to get in there and mix it up with the opposing team's posts. If he can bring a few points to the court when he spells Beasley or any other frontline player, so much the better.
What I didn't like...
I really, really hate to in any way dog on Clent Stewart, but he just hasn't played very well the last two games. He had three turnovers today and was pretty much non-existent out in Boulder. His six points are always welcome, but I guess the first few games of the conference season brought me to expect more of him. Don't get me wrong, he's a tough kid and I have nothing but respect for him for sticking with K-State through three coaches and his mom's devastating illness. I just hope to get a little more production the rest of the way.
Although I can't really find much else to complain about--we did win by 25, after all--I'll go ahead and note that we shot 24 three pointers tonight. Maybe I wasn't watching closely enough, I really didn't notice it being that many.
Other conference action...
KU 84, Nebraska 49
Not much to say here, as I didn't catch any of this one. Judging by the game tracker I was watching, the 'beakers took it to Nebraska early and never looked back. This team is scary good. Almost any other year I would feel extremely confident about winning the game Wednesday just based on our team's play this year, but that school down the river has some players. Nebraska, on the other hand, does not, and has fallen into the oblivion of being the only winless team in conference.
Texas A&M 59, Oklahoma State 56
It might be a little too early to say Mark Turgeon would have been run out of College Station on a rail if they had lost, but this was undoubtedly a huge win for A&M. Again, only was able to keep track with scoretracker, but it was a back and forth game the whole way. Any conference road win is huge, and given the next few games the Aggies are facing (UT, @ OU) this was one they desperately needed. On the other hand, Okie State is in very real danger of having a disastrous season, one I'm not sure Sean Sutton can weather with Daddy Warbucks running the show.
Missouri 66, Colorado 62
Just talked to the girlfriend and as of about 11:30 she didn't realize Missouri had actually won this game. I'm sure she's not alone. Earlier when I posted the scores of the games at about 4:30 p.m. on the open game thread, the Tigers were getting killed and looked as if they would fall hard over the edge of oblivion. But they rallied--I'm not sure how, I was driving to the bar--and picked up a road win in the land of hippies. Colorado...well, I learned how to pronounce "Bzdelik" today. I guess that's something. (It's "biz-dellick" in case you didn't know)
Oklahoma 77, Baylor 71
And then, there were two. From what I saw of this one, Baylor seemed to show the side effects of playing 65 minutes worth of basketball only three days prior. They were lethargic on defense and couldn't knock down shots, two sure signs of tired legs. Also of note, Blake Griffin played for Oklahoma, about two weeks ahead of schedule. And what a return, with 17 points and 15 rebounds against Baylor's merry band of short players with incredible dribbling and shooting skills. I have a feeling the Sooners may still have something to say about which Big 12 teams go to the NCAA tournament (speaking of which, my tickets to the South Regional are in the mail...jealous?)
Texas 73, Texas Tech 47
I was too preoccupied with the Creighton/SIU game to check in on this one. Incidentally, some of you may think KU gets all the calls at home, but I've never seen a worse-officiated game than any game at SIU Arena. I hate me some Junkyard Dogs.
I did that on purpose to distract you from the fact that I don't have anything intelligent to say about the UT/Tech game.
Conference standings and next opponent...
1. KU 5-0 (@ K-State, Wednesday)
2. K-State 4-0 (KU, Wednesday)
3. Baylor 4-1 (No midweek game)
4. Texas 3-1 (@ Texas A&M, Wednesday)
5. Oklahoma 2-2 (Oklahoma State, Monday)
6. Texas A&M 2-3 (Texas, Wednesday))
7. Iowa State 2-3 (Colorado, Tuesday)
8. Missouri 2-3 (Nebraska, Wednesday)
9. Texas Tech 2-3 (No midweek game)
10. Oklahoma State 1-4 (@ Oklahoma, Monday)
11. Colorado 1-4 (@ Iowa State, Tuesday)
12. Nebraska 0-5 (@ Missouri, Wednesday)
We'll have plenty to come in the next three days to get ready for the most anticipated Sunflower Showdown (hardwood edition) in a long time.