CBE Hall of Fame Classic: Reactions From Night One

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 24th, 2015

Brian Goodman is the lead Big 12 correspondent for Rush The Court. He’s in Kansas City this week for the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. You can follow Brian on Twitter @BSGoodman or the RTC Big 12 Twitter account @Big12Hoops.

The CBE Hall Of Fame Classic tipped off in Kansas City on Monday night, with Kansas State walloping Missouri in the opener and North Carolina taking care of Northwestern in the nightcap. Here are the most important takeaways from each team’s performance last evening.

Bruce Weber's crew had a good night in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Bruce Weber’s crew had a good night in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Dean Wade steps up inside for Kansas State. Post production on both ends of the court was a massive struggle for Kansas State a year ago, but it’s been a different story this year thanks to Bruce Weber‘s most important newcomer. Wade overwhelmed Missouri’s undersized lineup all night long, finishing with 14 points and 13 rebounds to register his first career double-double. The 6’10 freshman doesn’t yet have a ton of polish around the rim, but he showed impressive range all the way out to the three-point line and made all six of his free throws. Weber was very pleased with his big man’s play on Monday, telling media after the game that his rookie “responded against probably bigger, more athletic guys than we had played in the previous games.” Wade faces his biggest test of his young career today (7:00 PM PT, ESPN2) when he’ll go up against North Carolina’s formidable back line of Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson.
  • Missouri has an all-around rough night. After last weekend’s gritty loss to Xavier, Missouri was only able to keep up with Kansas State for the first 10 minutes of the game. From that point, the Wildcats clamped down defensively and the wheels just fell off for the Tigers. Kim Anderson’s team was aggressive and played hard, particularly on one occasion where freshman Terrence Phillips leaped out of bounds to save a loose ball, but its execution otherwise couldn’t have been much worse. Missouri’s lack of size made things easy for Kansas State on the interior, and an ice-cold 4-of-18 night from three-point range did little to reduce the gap. This is an important year for the second-year head coach, who is not only working for an athletic director who didn’t hire him, but is also surrounded by SEC coaches who are far more accomplished. Monday night’s game was an opportunity to build on a solid effort against Xavier but the Tigers fell hard instead.

  • North Carolina’s defensive questions remain. The Tar Heels raced to an early 18-8 lead against Northwestern, but just as it did against Northern Iowa, UNC’s perimeter defense then allowed Northwestern to climb back in with timely three-point shooting. Later in the game, Theo Pinson had a rare prolonged defensive lapse as Tre Demps scored Northwestern’s first 10 points of the second half. Eventually the more talented Tar Heels blew the game open with a 23-5 charge, playing through its big men to collapse the Wildcats’ zone and open up the floor for Justin Jackson, Joel Berry and Pinson. North Carolina of course will take the 80-69 win, but a consistent defensive effort against a good team is still something Roy Williams’ team will need to check off before we can feel comfortable about their chances of winning the ACC or making a pilgrimage to Houston next April.
Isaiah Hicks, one of six UNC players to score in double figures, had too much for Northwestern to handle. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Isaiah Hicks, one of six UNC players to score in double figures, had too much for Northwestern to handle. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Northwestern struggles to find a balanced attack. It wasn’t until midway through the second half that Northwestern fell behind for good, but the truth is that it could have (should have?) happened much earlier than that. The Wildcats struggled mightily with North Carolina’s length and had to rely on threes from Alex Olah and Scottie Lindsey in the first half to hang around. Lindsey was quiet for the rest of the game, however, forcing Chris Collins to lean on Olah, Demps and Bryant McIntosh. Those three are good players who may yet lead Northwestern to that coveted NCAA Tournament bid, but the Wildcats needed more from their supporting cast, particularly Nathan Taphorn, who was ineffective last night. There’s no shame in losing to North Carolina, of course, but the Wildcats will need to put this one behind them quickly, because a loss to Missouri tonight would be debilitating.
Brian Goodman (987 Posts)

Brian Goodman a Big 12 microsite writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BSGoodman.

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