While last night's 73-69 win over the Iowa State Cyclones wasn't pretty, it was one very important thing.
A road win.
So while it wasn't always pretty, and while we saw the same Disaster-ball issues in the second half that we've seen all too many times before, the important thing to note is this team bounced back from a four-game losing streak to win two games it had to have. Now, at 10-6 and the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 tournament, we are almost certainly in the NCAA tournament as an at-large.
While I understand those who are concerned about the poor second-half showings against Colorado and Iowa State, remember, that we still have a young team trying to put it all together. Also, I remember talking with a friend who is a 'beaker fan after their win over Iowa State a couple weeks ago. She said that even thought it was closer than comfort levels prefer, it was still a win at Hilton Coliseum, which is more than most visitors get. Take it and be relieved.
What I liked...
...the continued maturation of Jacob Pullen. How about 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting (3-of-6 from three) and NO TURNOVERS. Who ever would have thought we'd see that 16 games ago?
...Dominique Sutton's defense. Three steals. Pretty much all his nine points scored off steals. Shut down Wesley Johnson in the first half, and held him to his season average of 12 points for the game. We have sorely missed a defensive stopper since Sutton went out with his knee injury. It's good to have him back.
...the result. Can't argue with a road win, anyday.
What I didn't like...
...going along with the first item above, I don't believe Pullen is getting enough minutes. Clent Stewart simply has not played well lately, while Pullen has been solid. Pullen played only 18 minutes last night to Stewart's 31, and I'd like to see Frank Martin give Pullen a few more minutes in Kansas City next week.
...the disappearance of Michael Beasley and Bill Walker. It looked to my as though Martin may have been resting Beasley, as he only played 29 minutes. Obviously some of that was due to foul trouble, but he sat extended minutes in the first half before he was in anything resembling foul trouble. Walker shot poorly from the field (4-of-13, 1-of-4) but did have a couple thunderous dunks.
...seeing Walker's reputation precede him among officials. He got called for two fouls simply because the refs assumed he would commit a foul. Unfortunately, his reputation among college basketball officials is thoroughly deserved. I will also note that somebody really needs to get him to realize that swatting the ball away just as it's about to go through the hoop is not a good idea. Note: I am not talking about the second goaltending call, as the replay I saw indicated it may have been a legitimate block.
What it means and where we're going...
First, this week has to mean this team is getting some confidence back. Even if it's CU and ISU, winning beats losing anyday.
It also means we are the No. 3 seed for the Big 12 basketball tournament, which means an 8:30 p.m. game Friday night in the Sprint Center. That game will likely bring a second matchup with Texas A&M, as we play the winner of the 6/11 game, which pits the Aggies against Iowa State. I shouldn't have to tell you I'm not thrilled about the prospect of playing an A&M team that will be fighting for its tournament life, but we do match up fairly well with the Aggies and beat the convincingly in Manhattan.
Anyway, here are your final Big 12 standings. Check in tomorrow for my "Guide to Kansas City."
- Texas 13-3
- KU 13-3
- K-State 10-6
- Oklahoma 9-7
- Baylor 9-7
- Texas A&M 8-8
- Nebraska 7-9
- Texas Tech 7-9
- Oklahoma State 7-9
- Missouri 6-10
- Iowa State 4-12
- Colorado 3-13