ATB: K-State CelebrationPosted by rtmsf on January 31st, 2008
Kansas Goes Down. For the first time in 25 years, KU went into Manhattan, KS, and came away with a loss. Freshman stars Bill Walker and Michael Beasley, prescient
cocky in their predictions of a win, blew up for 47/11 combined, putting to rest the notion that KU has superior talent vis-a-vis everyone else in the country. So how’d they get it done? We caught the second half, and then spent the next two hours trying to splice some video together off our Tivo before giving up and settling (see below), and here were a few observations.
By the numbers, both teams played evenly – FG%, rebounding, turnovers, fouls, and the efficiency stats were roughly the same. With one exception – threes. This game-changing stat was heavily in KSU’s favor (12-26 v. 6-17 for KU).
This coincides with what we actually saw in that second half. Every time it seemed that KU was just this close to making a run to get back into the game, Beasley (4-4) or Walker (3-10) would drop one from long range. We counted four times where KU was within one possession and one of those two would knocked down a three to create some cushion. Clutch.
By the way, how sick is Beasley (preaching to the choir…)? A quick snapshot of his numbers this year – 25/12 in only 30mpg, shooting 56% from the field (and 44% from 3). There will be Oden/Durant debate this year. Michael Beasley is the #1 pick.
Kansas, to their credit, never panicked; they just simply couldn’t get enough stops in the second half to put together a run. From the ten-minute mark, KU never got closer than two possessions. We’re not willing to draw any negative conclusions from this game about the Jayhawks – they didn’t play that poorly; it’s just that KSU, fueled by a frenzied home crowd, simply played better. If anything, it also gets the unbeaten monkey off of their neck, and they can regroup and get about the business of winning the Big 12.
This is a huge win for KSU, however. Frank Martin’s team has come a long way from the listless squad we watched lose to Oregon and Notre Dame earlier this season. It’s doubtful anyone is getting a win out of Manhattan the rest of this season, so something like 13-3 in the conference is not out of the question for the Wildcats. That kind of a record and finish would propel KSU into a top four protected seed in the NCAAs, and their computer profile is already solid (#6 in Pomeroy; #18 in Sagarin).
Photo Credits: Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle