Typical ISU game for the most part. How many times have we seen, what we saw this afternoon? Too many to count, in my opinion. Before I get into my thoughts, I will say that I have to give credit to the team for playing until the end. It sucks when you have to be in a position to give credit for something, you expect to see every game, but that lack of effort during the Baylor game, really was frustrating. It sucks when you're at the point where you feel like the fans care more about the result than the players. I still feel that way during sports at times, especially professional sports. I'm just a really competitive guy by nature, and it's hard for me to see somebody "ok with a loss", or losing pride in myself, and allowing my opponent to embarrass the hell out of me.
Oh yeah, and I thought the pink effort today was cool, so I'm going with that for the picture at the top.
Below are my five thoughts I took away from today's game:
1. K-State fans are straight classless online. If they had a fanbase with some class, it'd be much easier to respect them. It's their fans alone that make them one of the teams I dislike the most in the Big 12, and that's really too bad, because it's not a team I want to dislike....Rooting for our guys to be out for the game? I'm guessing K-State fans were on the Tonya Harding-side of things during the Winter Olympics back in '94.
2. Why does McDermott NOT use timeouts to break up runs? He's stated before, he wants to be able to have some left in crunch time, but guess what? If the game is out of hand by "crunch time", who cares? In the early part of the 2nd half, we saw K-State score on 4 straight possessions, while stopping ISU on 4 straight possessions. After the first couple, it was clear the team was out of sync? Why not burn a timeout, to try to break up the momentum and to regroup the team? We see this all the time, and we just continue to get 4-0 runs turn into 8-0 runs, or 6-0 runs turn into 12-0 runs. I don't think I've seen us run out of timeouts all year long. Might as well use some while it's still a game.
3. Can we get some urgency, earlier in the game? Why were we waiting to trap and trying to go for turnovers so damn late? I realize that in the pass when we've tried to press and trap, we've gotten burned. But guess what? Our defense against that team was non-existant. I would rather have us gamble with 4-5 mins left in the game, and actually give ourselves a chance to comeback, rather than throw up a barrage of 3s in the final minute, hoping to make every single one of them, and hoping the other team misses every single free throw. I'd rather see us lose by 15-16, being aggressive, than to see us lose by 4, because we were only aggressive when it was unrealistic to expect a comeback.
4. It was suprised (in a good way) with our rebounding effort. K-State is one of the best teams at offensive rebounding. To see us outrebound them as a % of possessions, was surprising in a good way. If we could have shot a little better, and/or play better defense, we could've had a better chance at this one.
5. The lack of support on offense was frustrating. Brackins had 29, Gilstrap with 18, and we still lose. Last year, with Brackins doing the bulk of the scoring, it felt like we were "one scorer away" from being able to compete more in the Big 12. With Gilstrap, you have a guy averaging 14-15 points per game, and it still feels like we are "one scorer away".
Lastly, credit goes to K-State. They are a good team, capable of competing for the Big 12 Championship at the tourney at the end of the year. People can say what they want about Frank Martin, but he gets a lot out of his players. Not looking forward to the matchup at their place later in the month, but there probably isn't a matchup that I am looking forward to at this point as an ISU fan. I just want to see some improvement.
In my opinion, K-State has built their team they way you want to in the Big 12. You have a couple of guards who can score, along with some bigs who can rebound. K-State seems to play better off the offensive rebound, than they do just running their offense. Pullen and Clemente make horrible decisions with their shot selection at times, but their front court is so good at getting the rebound, it doesn't hurt them as much. If they could find a way to not play down to their opponents, I could by into them being a Sweet 16 or Elite 8 team... Heck, even Final Four depending on the matchup. Problem is, they seem like they will be vulnerable to a mid-major picking them off in the 1st or 2nd round.
But enough about K-State for now.
It was another frustrating loss, and while you can take away some positives from the Cyclones today, it still isn't good enough when we're talking about being in Year 4, with a team of mostly upperclassmen. If this were the early days, or if we had a young team, I could buy into the moral victory angle a little bit.
Now the Cyclones play a couple of games away from Hilton. First at Columbia against Mizzou, then to Lawrence against the Jayhawks. I hope it isn't some pipe dream to hope for 1-1 on this next stretch....
What were your thoughts on the game?