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.
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.