The voodoo that makes it impossible for Texas to beat Kansas State is still alive and well. Hook ‘em horns has got to be getting tired of this! A great win over an overrated top 10 team in the national spotlight continues to make Kansas State the hottest team in the nation right now. Hit the jump to see the good, bad, and ugly of the matchup against the quickly disintegrating Longhorns.
No Pullen, No Problem… It wasn’t like Pullen was gone from the game. Actually, he ended up with his usual numbers. What was so impressive was how the team stepped it up with him being basically shut down for the first half of the game. Give Balbay credit where it’s due. He played incredible defense against Pullen and limited not only his scoring, but his ability to even get open looks. Credit Pullen for recognizing that, not getting frustrated, and taking on the role of a distraction. Pullen running all over the court opened everything up for the rest of team which they took advantage of. Here’s the major final point totals: McGruder 22; Kelly 15; Southwell 8; JHR 8. This team winning tough road games with basically no production from their leader in the first half signals the official return of the team everyone thought they would see from the beginning. I feel sorry for whoever gets to face K-State in the tournament.
Pullen Not Pushing… Pullen was shut down in the first half. No two ways about it. But instead of trying to push too much and take charge when it wasn’t happening, he played the ultimate cool Cat and allowed the game to take its natural form. He distributed the ball when he should have, was patient with his dribble, and backed off at all the right times. You know for a scorer like Pullen that took lots of patience and mental work. Add the fact that he lit it up in the second half and iced it away from the free throw line and the result is what I think is possibly Pullen’s best game this season. (Although it’s hard to place it above his thrashing of KU) Being able to lead a game without scoring at will is a sign of development and progress.
Big’s Offense… Just like last game, CK and JHR came to play. This time they faced a team with size similar to theirs and still came out on top. It seems like they continue to grow in their toughness and ability to bang around under the rim. Heck, it even seems like Ck is doing a whole lot less screaming like a female tennis player after every bump. Keep it up fellas!
Big’s Defense… Texas freshman Tristan Thompson went nuts on Ck/JHR and finished with a career high 26 points. All night long he got the ball deep in the paint and took it to the rim. Sometime a player is just more gifted than the other team but I wouldn’t say that was the case. Thompson is going to be a beast for Texas in the next few years but his performance against K-State came because of a flaw in strategy. It ultimately didn’t cost a victory, but K-State never changed to take away the one major threat Texas had. I would have liked to see a double team or collapsing help which would have forced Texas to play more of an outside game The finished the night shooting only 33% on field goals so that’s a risk that should have at least been explored. It’s nit picky but K-State wasn’t perfect tonight.
Sloppiness… Again, it’s nit picky, but Kansas State could be cleaner in their play. They finished with only 9 turnovers but if I remember right, most of those were unforced. The first 10 minutes of the game were borderline ugly. It could easily be attributed to playing on the road in a hostile environment so I’m not going overboard. Clean it up boys… it’s almost tournament time!
The domination of Texas continues… there’s no ugly in that!