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Postgame Reaction: Nebraska

Frank Martin referred to K-State's play right now as more resembling "fighting" than just playing basketball.  Yesterday's 77-72 victory over a similarly scrappy Nebraska team bore that out.  Two teams in a brawl for even the slimmest chance at an NCAA at-large berth went toe-to-toe for 40 minutes, and our Wildcats emerged victorious.

What I liked...

...the freaking White Tiger.  Darren Kent, broken nose and all, gave us 26 big minutes yesterday.  Late in the game, he sprained his ankle on a drive where the refs called a most ridiculous foul on Dominique Sutton, but he demanded the trainers tape it up quickly so he could get back on the court.  It goes without saying that his 13 points and five rebounds were invaluable yesterday.

...Jacob Pullen bouncing back from Wednesday's debacle in Columbia.  There must be something about Mid-Missouri that just doesn't jive with Jake.  Pullen had 18 points and five assists and, more importantly, went 9-9 from the free throw line.

...winning without a huge game from Denis Clemente.  Denis did his share by scoring 14 points and handing out five assists, but the rest of the team stepped up when he wasn't hitting shots.  That's an encouraging sign.

...absolutely dominating on the boards.  Granted, Nebraska has nothing resembling a big man, but anytime you go +11 on rebounds, including +10 on offensive rebounds, you should get a win.

...seeing Dominique Sutton get some confidence back on offense.  It was nice to see Sutton step into his shots and knock a few of them down.  I'd take eight points out of him every night.

...and I saved the best for last...Buchi Awaji.  The heavily hyped shooter from California is finally starting to get minutes, and last night he stepped up in a big way with 10 points and nine rebounds, not to mention some big plays on defense.

What I didn't like...

...atrocious free-throw shooting.  Once again, we shot below 70 percent as a team.  Jamar Samuels alone went 1-7.  Thank goodness for Jake and Denis, or we would have been truly awful.

...giving up more backdoor cuts to Nebraska.  Thankfully we finally got a few steals on them when our guys swiveled their head and got their hands down on the pass, but it's truly amazing to me that Nebraska beats us over and over on the same play.

...the continuing disappearance of Fred Brown.  The bomber didn't put up a single three-pointer yesterday.  I'm going to keep saying it.  He's out best shooter from deep and we need to do something to get him some looks.

What it means and where we're going...

Even though our NCAA chances remain on life support, this win kept the plug in the wall.  We still have a chance to go 10-6 in conference and finish a game ahead of our in-conference bubble competitors.

As BracketCat pointed out last night, a win in Stillwater all but assures us the four seed in the conference tournament after Texas' loss to Oklahoma State yesterday.  The Longhorns are now 8-6 and close the season at KU next weekend.  Okie State is also 8-6, but it closes its season at Oklahoma next weekend.  All the scenarios are too complicated to discuss right now, and they overlook the salient point right now:

We have to win in Stillwater.