Kansas State boosts its bubble stock with win vs. No. 9 Baylor

Leave a comment

Saturday afternoon has already provided us with quite a few fireworks, bubble and otherwise, but there hasn’t been a bigger winner than Kansas State.

The Wildcats picked up a huge win on Saturday, going into Waco and knocking off No. 9 Baylor 57-56. K-State had been struggling in recent weeks, losing four of their last six games and playing themselves onto — and, potentially, off of — the bubble. With a trip to Missouri coming on Tuesday, this is a game that Frank Martin’s team had to have.

And they got it.

Granted, the Wildcats are anything but a lock for the dance. While they do have two quality wins — they beat Missouri by 16 at home — they also got swept by Oklahoma and lost at Texas. With a 7-7 record in the Big 12, the Wildcats would do well to win at Missouri or knock off Iowa State at home next week. A .500 finish in the Big 12 may not be enough.

The star for Kansas State today was Angel Rodriguez. The freshman point guard has been as inconsistent this season as he was good today. He finished with 15 points, six assists and four steals against Baylor, which came less than a week after a scoreless performance in a loss to Kansas in which he finished 0-8 from the floor with seven turnovers.

But to be frank, this loss wasn’t as much about Kansas State as it was about Baylor.

A lack of effort from Perry Jones has become one of the most cliched critiques of a player this season. Whether its a lack of heart, the fact that he is soft or he simply struggles when he gets out-physicaled, the fact of the matter is that PJ III is irrelevant far too often in games that matter. Against Kansas State, he finished with four points and four boards in just 22 minutes before fouling out.

That’s unacceptable.

And at this point, I have to drastically change my thinking on the Bears.

As down as we all were on Baylor after they got swept by both Kansas and Missouri, the fact of the matter is that those four losses were the only four losses that the Bears had. Sure, they struggle when they get punched in the mouth by a talented team, but up until now they were able to handle teams they were supposed to handle.

Not so, anymore.

At this point, I’d say you’re foolish to think the Bears can make it to the second weekend of the tournament.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Creighton lands 2016 combo guard

Greg McDermott
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.

News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.

Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.

Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.

Three-star power forward commits to WVU

Bob Huggins
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.

6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.

West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.

Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.