Whew! Just got caught up on all my news from today. Flight back was fine thankfully, and we won our intramural basketball game tonight, with yours truly dropping in 12 points.
I had an amazing weekend back in Manhattan, although it's really hard to have a bad one up in the MHK. First was dinner and a few beers on Friday, and I have to make the following statement, which is the most political statement I will ever make (or allow) on this blog. I absolutely love non-smoking bars. The new side of Kite's and the new Kat House bar are the only places I will enter in Aggieville until all the bars go non-smoking. Well, with the exception of Porter's and the other bars that have outside areas, when the weather is nice. Enough of that.
On Saturday, I got to see both the women's and men's games in person, and even had courtside seats for the women's game. For this K-Stater, getting to walk into the arena through the same tunnel the players use was the thrill of a lifetime. Also, getting to sit as close to the bench as I did gave me a great chance to see the coaches and players interact, see up-close what goes on out on the court, and see all the things that go into making a basketball game an event, beyond just what happens on the court. Some observations...
--Deb Patterson really seems to have a ball out there coaching. She really plays to the crowd, sometimes talking aloud to nobody in particular, seemingly talking to the entire crowd. She was really thrilled to see her players play well, smiling and laughing at certain times. But she can be dead serious, too, doing a good job of constantly working the officials
--The girls have a lot of fun out there. They appear to really enjoy playing together.
--Shalee Lehning really makes that team go, and has a smile that lights up Manhattan.
--Kimberly Dietz is strong as an ox and one heck of a shooter.
--I caught Kelsey Hill singing along to "Eat 'em up, eat 'em up, K-S-U!" at one point. Now that's an athlete who loves the school she plays for.
--Lew Perkins is a really, really big man.
--I have done a terrible job covering the women thus far and vow to improve upon that the rest of the season. At this point, they are 8-1 in conference, good for solo second place, and are ranked No. 18 in the country. The ladies took a tough shot from KU and swung back, looking especially solid down the stretch.
Now let's move on to the men's game, which I got back to after a Vistaburger and some fries...
What I liked...
...Clent Stewart on the bench. The crowd roared when it saw him walk out of the locker room in his suit, and seeing him smile in reaction was a real relief. He's been through as bad a week as anyone can have, and his presence was a real boost.
...Bill Walker driving to the hoop and slamming the ball home. We ran two isolations for Walker in the first half, the first one he hammered home a two-hand jam off a drop step, the other he got fouled and still made the layup.
...Jacob Pullen. He dropped three early three-pointers that provided a spark right out of the gate. He only had two assists and two steals, against two turnovers, but didn't do anything that really hurt the team. As reader mystman pointed out in the comments, he struggled to finish around the basket, but that will come around.
...Michael Beasley, and I really don't need to say more. He looked like he was really off most of the time, and still dropped 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. It was amazing to see him in Bramlage..."At forward, a 6'10" freshman, from Washington, D.C., number 30...Mi--chael, Beas--ley!!!"
...shot selection. Only 19 three-point attempts, and nine makes. That was nine more than KU had against Baylor. On an interesting note, KU's women's team also failed to make a three-pointer against K-State, making it a dry night for both 'beaker teams from range.
What I didn't like...
...Dominique Sutton's injury. Let's all hope he gets better, really quickly.
...taking both Beasley and Walker out late in the first half, not to mention Jacob Pullen. We're already shorthanded, and that left us without any scoring ability and too much inexperience in the game. Okie State responded with an 18-7 run and closed to within four at the half. We managed to get away with it because we are a way better team than Okie State, but it could cost us against other teams...see Mizzou last week.
Next up for the men is a trip to Lubbock, Texas, to play Pat Knight's Red Raiders. That will be a difficult game for several reasons. First of all, Lubbock is way the hell out in the middle of nowhere and is a long plane ride for the team. Second, Knight the Second has yet to win a game after Nebraska easily dispatched TTU in Lincoln this weekend. Tech also has some fairly talented players who can and will hurt us if we're not ready to go. I hope to see Clent Stewart back in the lineup Wednesday, but will not at all blame him if he's not ready yet.
Of course, Saturday brings the return trip of the Mizzou Tigers, the only team to beat K-State in conference this year. I'm sure the guys will really be laying for this game, and it's one we need to pick up, especially at home.
The women will log a few miles this week with trips to Iowa State midweek and Mizzou this weekend. Iowa State stands at the middle of the pack in conference play with a 4-5 record, while Mizzou brings up the rear at 1-9. Two wins are not out of the question, despite the road trips.
This weekend in the Big 12...
KU 100, Baylor 90
I caught the second half of this one on the radio as I drove back to Kansas City. The 'beakers, especially Darrell Arthur and Sherron Collins played well, but were never able to put the Bears away at home. They also failed to make a three-pointer for the first time in eight years. But they also made (not attempted, MADE) 36 free throws...and yet one fan called into their postgame radio show and bitched about the officiating.
Texas A&M 77, Mizzou 69
Didn't see a second of this one. A&M is on a roll right now, having won five conference games in a row. Mizzou is sinking rather quickly.
Colorado 72, Oklahoma 58
Another game I didn't see a single play of, and caught me totally off guard. It appears OU is really missing Longar Longar, while Colorado stepped up and played well at home. The Sooners better get things together, quickly.
Texas 71, Iowa State 65 (OT)
Anyone else taken a bit aback by the pink shirts in Cyclone Alley? Kudos to the Cyclone students for supporting breast cancer awareness. Unfortunately, their team wilted down the stretch and lost a game it had a great chance to win. Texas continues its wild season, and now returns to Austin for a Big Monday showdown with the 'beaks.
Nebraska 73, Texas Tech 62
Caught a few minutes of this one in between the men's and women's games. Tech looked like it had no answer for Aleks Maric inside, and couldn't buy a bucket themselves. Nice win for Nebraska, but I don't have a lot of other insight into this one.
1. KU 8-1 (@ Texas Monday, Colorado Saturday)
2. K-State 7-1 (@ Texas Tech Wednesday, Mizzou Saturday)
3. Texas 6-2 (KU Monday, @ Baylor Saturday)
4. Texas A&M 6-3 (Oklahoma State Saturday)
5. Baylor 5-3 (@ Oklahoma State Wednesday, Texas Saturday)
6. Nebraska 3-5 (Missouri Wednesday, @ Iowa State Saturday)
7. Oklahoma 3-5 (Iowa State Wednesday, @ Texas Tech Saturday)
8. Texas Tech 3-5 (K-State Wednesday, Oklahoma Saturday)
9. Iowa State 3-6 (@ Oklahoma Wednesday, Nebraska Saturday)
10. Missouri 3-6 (@ Nebraska Wednesday, @ K-State Saturday)
11. Oklahoma State 2-7 (Baylor Wednesday, @ Texas A&M Saturday)
12. Colorado 2-7 (@ KU Saturday)