Last Saturday did not go well.
The Aggies' were blitzed by ASU in their first true road test of the season, and they never really challenged in an ugly 67-54 loss in Tempe.
For those keeping score at home, we're looking at a 1-2 stretch over our past three... and that win was an awfully unconvincing struggle-bus effort at home against Florida Gulf Coast.
There's a massive, nationally televised home game against #15 Baylor looming next weekend, so we have to work the kinks out today.
Let's break it down.
"Others receiving vote"
No, that's not a typo. Kansas State received exactly one vote in the latest USA Today Coaches poll, placing them well off the top 25 but safely among the top 50 teams in the nation. Like Arizona State, they were picked to finish in the bottom half (8th of 10) in an extremely competitive conference.
Unlike Arizona State, KSU has taken care of business early. The Wildcats are 7-1 on the young season, with their only loss coming in the finals of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic against #3 North Carolina. In addition, they already have two SEC victories (Mizzou, @Georgia) in their hip pocket. Their remaining wins range wins range from "cupcake beating" to "really close cupcake victory," but the point remains the same - they've yet to slip up.
Master of none
Kansas State slots respectably well in most team-wide statistics... but they don't have an obvious strength.
|Texas A&M||Statistic||Kansas State|
|47.8%||Field Goal %||42.5%|
|38.2%||Three Point %||31.1%|
|67.8%||Free Throw %||71.7%|
Individually, the show runs through senior guard Justin Edwards. He leads the team in minutes, points, rebounds, assists, and steals. Probably a guy worth keeping an eye on.
The illusion of youth
One unfortunate constant from the recent three game swoon is the "youth" excuse... but this team isn't young. It has young contributors, sure, but the crunch-time lineup of Caruso (senior), Collins (senior), House (senior), Jones (senior), and Davis (freshman) might be the most senior-laden in the country.
When things go wrong (as they did in Tempe), the seniors have to steady the ship. They have to. Composure and discipline shouldn't be a problem with three all-conference veterans on your roster, which was the biggest reason last Saturday was so difficult to watch.
So if you're still holding on to the idea that this squad needs time to grow up, take that excuse and drop it in a filing cabinet that looks suspiciously like a trash can. We've got everything we need to take care of KSU today at home, and there's no reason we shouldn't get it done.
Much like last week, I don't know what to make of our opponent. It's a solid, unspectacular power conference squad without an obvious defining characteristic... and it's the type of team we need to beat if we're ready to take the next step.
I'm willing to overlook ASU as the "road game where everything goes wrong," as that tends to happen to even the best teams 1-2 times per year. But there is no excuse for losing this basketball game.
If we are who we say we are, we have to get it done.