Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Friday, February 11, 2011

K-State Basketball Preview #2

Saturday night brings the return game against K-State.  It was this win over the Wildcats in early January really got the town talking about the high-flying Buffs.  Both teams are no where near where they'd like to be right now, so it'll be interesting to see who shows up.  Game time is set for 7pm Saturday, and the game can be seen on ESPNU if you're so inclined.
The Buffs will try to get back on track, again, Saturday night.  From: the BDC

Saturday will also mark the final regular season meeting with the school many CU fans derisively refer to as "Kjuco-State."  It's well known that the "other" university in Kansas uses lower admission standards to their advantage in recruiting; shoveling Ju-Co players in like they were coal for a boiler.  For the most part it has served them well to the frustration of CU fans everywhere who know that our school can't get a Ju-Co in to save our lives.

But, in all reality, I can never stay mad at K-State.  Sure, many of their fans are jerks who can barely spell, but, and this is just outright cruel, they all live (or have lived) in what is undoubtedly the worst college town in America.  If you've never been unlucky in life enough to have ventured out to the "Little Apple" Manhattan, KS let me tell you: it's the depressing asshole of the Midwest.  I go to sleep praying to God that I never have to go back there.  Not only is it in the middle of absolute nowhere, but there is so depressingly little to do once you get there that a night at the local Applebee's becomes high-class entertainment.

So the next time you feel the urge to punch a K-State fan in the face for saying something stupid (and, Lord knows, we've all been there before), just remember that they've been hit with the short end of the college choice stick.  Kindly remind them that "we don't live in Kansas," give them a pat on the head, and return to living happily in the mountain resort we call a state.

Click below for my preview

When last we met... - Ahh, the good ole' days.  Back on January 12th, fresh off their beating of Missouri at home, the Buffs went on the road and soundly beat the Wildcats 74-66; making it back-to-back wins over top-25 opponents for the first time ever.  CU was riding high, and K-State was left scratching their heads at their surprising 0-2 start in conference; remember the Wildcats were a preseason dark-horse pick for the national title.
A month ago high-fives and platitudes were called for when the Buffs beat KSU in Manhattan.

The Buffs played out of their minds that night, plus-9 on the boards and 50% shooting, and Levi Knutson just would not miss (7-10 from the field, including 6-8 from 3).  This game also showed that CU could play defense, as they held the 'Cats to 31% shooting in the second half.  It was the most impressive road performance any CU men's team has had in years.

What's happened since? - Following the loss to CU, 'Cats star guard Jacob Pullen announced his intention to either make the Tournament or skip the postseason all together.  Inspired by their leader, the Wildcats pulled together to fall flat on their faces and go 1-2 over the next 3 games to line themselves up for the very same NIT that Pullen refuses to play in.
Senior All-American Jacob Pullen isn't happy he's back in Manhattan this season.

In addition, with the wheels falling off the truck, two highly-touted forwards quit the program.  Freddy Asparilla went home to Colombia to play pro ball and Wally Judge up and quit the team at the end of January.  The piling losses and team defections began to cause the Manhattan faithful to question the previously unassailable coach Frank Martin.

Since the defections the 'Cats have begun to pull it together a little bit.  They've won three of four and their last 2 with wins over Baylor, Nebraska, and ISU sandwiched around a blow-out loss to bitter rival KU.  Still, this team is no where near where most thought they would be at 4-5 in conference and far out of a Tourney spot.

Adding to their woes is the report that forward Curtis Kelly, who was already suspended by the NCAA for 6 games earlier this season may be kicked off the team for "unspecified departmental violations."   As of now he's still playing, but this further underscores the point that K-State is a frak'n disaster right now.
The Wildcats are having a rough go of it this year, and Kelly may end up getting kicked off the team.

Anything different? - Other than Pullen, I'm not sure anyone still on the team still cares.  The front-court is depleted with reserves Judge and Asparilla gone, and a short bench isn't helping them any right now.  KSU even had to use a last-second shot from All-American guard Jacob Pullen to beat lousy ISU in Ames last Saturday.
One thing that hasn't changed: Coach Martin still yells a lot.

There is still some great talent on the team.  Pullen continues to shine (18/3/3) and with Curtis Kelly (10/5) fully back from his 6-game suspension, which included the previous CU game, they can beat a lot of teams.  I'm just not sure their hearts are really in it anymore with the national attention gone and the reality of low-profile basketball in Manhattan, KS setting in.

Prediction - Ohhhh, I don't know.  CU's reaction to the painful loss Wednesday night will be key.  The Buffs are in a funk, and I don't know what it will take to snap out of it.  K-State certainly isn't the #3 team in the nation that some thought before the season started, but they can still be a good basketball team, and Jacob Pullen can win games all by himself.  It certainly helps K-State's cause that they've had a week off and have won 3 of their last 4.

Sure, CU plays better at home and the Wildcats are in dissaray, but the Buffs are finding ways to lose right now.  Additionally, while K-State may be a one man show, that one man is pretty damn good.  Flip a coin, cause I see this as 50-50.

However, even though I think the Buffs may be looking ahead just a bit to their full week off, K-State is a train wreck right now.  Curtis Kelly's potentially impending dismissal from the team may be the emotional 2x4 that broke the camel's back.  Buffs win in a close one.

CU 74 - KSU 72



aaron.jordan said...

Good call in your prediction yo!

RumblinBuff said...

Law of large numbers means I have to get one right :-)