Snob Hill 22 (30)
Silo Tech 0 (0)
KU will have one or perhaps two more wins over K-State this year to continue their long, insane winning streaks (22 straight in Manhattan, 30 straight overall) and next season the ‘Cats will finally knock off their bully cousins from Lawrence on their home court. I see Jason Whitlock has already written the same thing. Other than his unfounded praise of Tyler Hughes (great body?), he correctly points out that K-State should have enough returning talent next year to get a win over what will be an exceptionally talented, but exceptionally young KU team. Chris Piper made a great point last night that KU has always had experienced upper classmen who, even if not the most talented players on the roster, could guide the team through intense rivalry games. Who’s going to lead the team next year? Not Moulaye Niang. Not Jeff Hawkins. I think the guys love and respect Christian Moody, but he isn’t exactly Simien, Collison, or even Ryan Robertson. With this year’s vaunted freshman class fading into Sasha Kaun and a bunch of bench warmers, next year’s KU team is going to be full of sophomores, freshmen, and a transfer who have never played big minutes in road games and don’t understand the intensity of conference play.
Last night was the best legitimate shot K-State has had at beating KU, before the tip, in over a decade. In the past, it was always “K-State has to play perfect and then hope KU is off” for the Purples to get a win. Before last night’s game, I think the story line was more “K-State could win even without playing perfect, or without KU playing awful.” For the first time in who knows how long, they have a true inside threat. If Jeremiah Massey had someone other than the usual collection of stiffs next to him in the paint, he’d be even more dangerous. What made K-State so dangerous, though, was its abundance of shooters. To demonstrate how far KSU had truly fallen, one needed to only look at its perimeter players in recent years. What makes second and third tier teams dangerous in modern college basketball is their ability to take kids who might be short on athleticism and size, but can shoot from anywhere, and turn them into D1 players. K-State has never been able to get more than one or two guys who can consistently hit shots in big games. That, as much as talent disparity and bad luck, can explain how the KU streaks have extended over the past ten years. This year, and again next season, K-State can actually put three players at a time on the court who are threats to hit three pointers. As Dickie V loves to say, the three point shot is the great equalizer in basketball today. Now that K-State can finally spread the court and get open shots, they have real hopes of beating KU. They just need to wait one more calendar year, and it will happen.
Line of the night went to Piper. After Dave Armstrong explained how K-State fans used to sneak chickens into Ahearn to throw at KU players, Piper responded, “Isn’t that the first class everyone takes at K-State?” My KSU readers can let me know if that’s the case or not.
The game ended just in time to see the final minute of the UNC-Duke game. What a beautiful ending for us ACC haters. First, the referees let an obvious foul on UNC go unpenalized. Two possessions later, they ignore a clear over-and-back and double-dribble by hero boy JJ Reddick. Reddick is then forced to hoist a 30 footer as the shot clock runs down. Nothing but baseline! UNC has 18 seconds to go for the win. Not only do they not get a shot off, they fail to even get the ball into the paint. From the bits and pieces I saw throughout the night, it was a sloppy, poorly played game with momentary flashes of brilliance. But because it’s UNC-Duke and Vitale was in the house, I’m sure we’ll be seeing it on ESPN Classic again starting this weekend. I wonder when the truly classic KU-Georgia Tech will get some love. Probably never. Duke and UNC could combine for 50 turnovers and shoot a collective 20% from the field, and the talking heads in Bristol will try to sell it as a classic.
I’m shocked, shocked, that UNC apparently played tight in a big game. I’m also shocked they couldn’t run a decent play when they had a chance to win it. I think that means other than Steve Woodberry’s lucky shot against Oklahoma State in 1994, Roy is 0-17 years when his teams have a chance to either tie or win at the buzzer (Not including games that are tied and go on to overtime.). It’s refreshing to see another group of talented players get undermined by their coach’s insistence on not calling timeouts when they are completely out of synch.