Man, do we ever have a shaky basketball team but it was nice to see them compete. With this win, it's also quite likely that we've given ourselves the opportunity to grab a minimum 7 seed and, of course, an eventual shot at a conference tournament title.
We actually played excellent defense throughout the game (KSU shot < 30%), but the Wildcats shot 65 shots to our 45 by forcing us into a stomach-churning 22 turnovers and by dominating the offensive glass 15-8. We took care of the basketball like Joan Crawford looks after a child. Thankfully, Scott Drew is too dumb to understand that and adjust accordingly.
The most interesting individual stat line was KSU's Denny Clemente. After scorching us for 44 in Austin, including 6 of 6 shooting from the 3 point line, Clemente was 4 of 20 for 10 points. Basketball, thou art a strange and dynamic game. You mock our understanding, law of averages.
Dexter Pittman racked up 19 points to go with 20 boards and 4 blocks on 67% shooting - his second consecutive dominating performance. That he did it playing 30+ minutes is outstanding. We were worried about his gas tank after Colorado. Now we worry about it after KSU. Maybe we shouldn't - big boy was moving pretty well at game's end and he's starting to come into his own. I'm more worried about his hooves than anything else. Get him a pedicure pronto.
We showed fairly good discipline throughout the game in feeding Dexter and bad things generally happened whenever we strayed from running the offense through him. As is always the case.
Varez Ward and Clint Chapman gave us some great minutes off of the bench while Abrams sat with fouls, Damion James wrestled with his own basketball IQ like Borat with his naked manager, and Justin Mason was basically execrable. AJ - unlike the KU game - didn't try to inject himself into the game late and that's why we won.
Maybe Gary Johnson is hurting, but he needs to contribute something more than a flailing shot block attempt on defense if he wants to justify his minutes.
Next up, Baylor.
Scott Drew is the worst game manager in the Big 12 though I predict he will be lauded on tomorrow's broadcast for "getting his kids to play!" as if Baylor were the actual scrappy underdog rather than one of the three most talented teams in the league that chronically underachieved all year. This Baylor team has the feel of every Quin Snyder team we ever watched at Missouri and is fully capable of making short runs playing inspired basketball. Hitting them in the mouth and pulling the jenga piece on their delicate alliance of selfish play is the key to making them tumble to the ground.
We need Dogus, Dexter, and AJ to all have big games if we want to extend our increasingly Dimaggio-esque winning streak over Bible Aggy. Dogus needs to value the ball and get in some people's jocks defensively, AJ needs to drill some open three pointers that will be there when Baylor rolls their defense to Pittman, and we need another double double from big Dex.
Make Baylor play the full possession on defense, guard the three point line like Hannah Montana's virginity on the other end, and eventually Baylor's true colors will shine through.