Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Baylor and Kansas Recap

Howdy guys - Once again I have fallen way behind with the newsletter this year. Are you tired of hearing that yet? I am terribly sorry.

Well, it was an interesting week for the Aggies. On Wednesday last week they won a huge game at Baylor 71-57 in handing Baylor their most lopsided loss of the season. In that game, Donald Sloan and Josh Carter each scored 17 points to lead the way for the Aggies.

The game at Baylor was full of controversy as the Aggies’ tough defense caused all kinds of problems for the Bears. The frustration from the court even spilled over into the stands as the fans at the Ferrell Center were throwing objects onto the floor on two or three independent occasions. There were also a handful of technicals given out after a hard pick from Joe Jones knocked Tweety Carter to the floor.

The game ended on a very controversial (and polarizing) play when Donald Sloan threw down a very acrobatic showboat dunk with 1.8 seconds remaining.

The dunk in and of itself was quite spectacular for a guy who only lists a couple of inches over 6 feet tall. That being said I thought it was highly unnecessary and certainly uncalled for. I fully understand the point that the Baylor players and fans invited that type of reaction by Sloan, but you have to be the bigger guy in that occasion, dribble out the clock, and hit the locker room. Isn't the Aggie basketball program at a point now where we don't need to make ourselves feel better by showing up Baylor?

That is just my two cents and like I said, it is certainly something that many Aggies have had wildly varying views on over the past few days. It does not make one right and one wrong; it just means there are differing views on the play.

If you did not see the dunk you can watch it here:

I think one thing we can all agree on is that taking down the Bears in Waco was a huge win for Turgeon's bunch. The win, the Aggies 8th in league play, guaranteed that the good guys would finish at a minimum of .500 in league play.

On Saturday, Kansas came calling at Reed Arena as the lead college basketball duo of Jim Nantz and Billy Packer were in town to call the game for CBS. It was cool to see college basketball's most dynamic duo down there calling the game, but I must say it was a little odd seeing them get touched up with makeup from time to time and having a guy behind them all the time helping to arrange their microphone cords. Let's hope that is not the last Aggie game that Nantz and Packer call this season!

The KU game got off to a very entertaining start as both teams were trying to settle in early, and the Aggies actually held an early 15-14 lead with 9:30 left in the first half. The Aggies were getting a great team effort early on behind big buckets from Kirk, Sloan, Jordan and Jones.

The Aggies were doing a great job of hanging with the 'Hawks for most of the 1st half, but a devastating series with about 2 minutes to go before halftime changed the course of the entire game. Kansas came down and Sherron Collins missed a three pointer. Cole Aldrich grabbed an offensive rebound and lowered his shoulder and bowled over Bryan Davis. Somehow the officials thought this was a foul on Davis. Aldrich hit one of two free throws and on the 2nd one, KU grabbed the offensive rebound when Beau Mulbach failed to box out Darrell Arthur. Arthur kicked it out to Sherron Collins who buried a three. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Mulbach threw it to nobody, and the ball was scooped up by Collins who was fouled by Mulbach on his way to the rim. Collins hit both of his free throws, and a five point Kansas lead was all of the sudden an 11 point lead at 34-23.

I think Billy Packer summed it up nicely when he said, "That is a terrible sequence for the Aggies. They are piling up fouls and giving up points, both of which are happening while no time is running off the clock."

When you are playing a team as tough as Kansas, you can recover quite easily from a 5 or 6 point deficit, but trying to make up ground when you are down 11 is nearly impossible.

As the teams headed to the break the Aggies were down 10 at 36-26.

To me, the craziest thing about the first half was that the Aggies were only able to get off 18 shots to the Jayhawks’ 28. The Aggies shot a decent 44.4% from the field, but when you only make 8 field goals in a half, it is going to be awfully tough to win.

In the second half, the Aggies were actually able to cut the Kansas lead to 6 points on two different occasions and were still down 7 (44-51) at the 12:17 mark when Josh Carter missed a wide-open three from the corner.

The crowd was already going crazy trying to rally the good guys when they were able to cut it to 7, and if Josh's bucket would have dropped, the place would have nearly exploded.

Instead, Kansas went on a 9-2 run to push their lead back up to 14 at 46-60, and that was all she wrote.

Kansas pushed the lead to as many as 19 points before the Aggies were able to knock down a couple of free throws late to make the final score 55-72.

The funny thing about the game on Saturday is that I thought the Aggies played with great effort for nearly the entire 40 minutes. They could not buy a bucket again in going 8-for-18 in the first half and a miserable 7-for-29 (24.1%) in the second half.

The Aggies were also outscored an improbable 12-to-44 in the paint.

Kansas is just so big, so fast, and so deep that I am still amazed that they lost three times this season. If the Aggies missed a shot and Kansas grabbed the rebound, they had the ball immediately out in transition and were either at the rim or set in their offense in the blink of an eye. It also looked like their entire roster was about 6'9" and 240.

Bill Self does not have any individual superstars on his team, but he does have 8 or 9 guys who are just really really good. They play fundamentally sound basketball and the type of man-to-man pressure defense that is rarely seen in the college game.

OK - Enough about KU.

The Aggies finished 6th in the Big 12 this year with an 8-8 conference record. I think we can all agree that it was a pretty disappointing season, but one thing for certain is that it did not lack for drama. The Aggies’ erratic play was certainly a stress on all of our nerves, and it made for a wild ride.

The Aggies head to Kansas City this week for the Big 12 tournament where they will take on Iowa State in the late game on Thursday night (8:20 pm). If they can find a way to get past the Cyclones they will take on Kansas State in the late game on Friday night (8:20 pm).

The full schedule is below, and the Aggies’ game (and any potential games) are italicized in maroon:

Thursday, March 13
Game 1: No. 8 Texas Tech vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State ESPN2 11:30 a.m.
Game 2: No. 5 Baylor vs. No. 12 Colorado ESPN Plus/ESPNU 2:00 p.m.
Game 3: No. 7 Nebraska vs. No. 10 Missouri ESPN Plus 6:00 p.m.
Game 4: No. 6 Texas A&M vs. No. 11 Iowa State ESPN2 8:30 p.m.

Friday, March 14
Game 5: No. 1 Texas vs. Game 1 Winner ESPN Plus/ESPNU 11:30 a.m.
Game 6: No. 4 Oklahoma vs. Game 2 Winner ESPN Plus/ESPNU 2:00 p.m.
Game 7: No. 2 Kansas vs. Game 3 Winner ESPN Plus 6:00 p.m.
Game 8: No. 3 Kansas State vs. Game 4 Winner ESPN Plus 8:20 p.m.

Saturday, March 15
Game 9: Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner ESPNPlus/ESPN2* 1:00 p.m.
Game 10: Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner ESPN Plus/ESPN2* 3:20 p.m.

Sunday, March 16
Game 11: Game 9 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner ESPN 2:00 p.m.

We will be heading north tomorrow morning on our way to KC for the weekend. If Mrs. Aggie Hoops Report does not make me go to the riverboat casinos with her, we will have daily updates for you guys from the Sprint Center.

If any of you guys are going to be up there, let me know, I would love to buy you a beer.

The Big 12 also announced their annual awards this week.

Player of the Year
Michael Beasley, Kansas State

Defensive Player of the Year
Marcus Dove, Oklahoma State

Newcomer of the Year
DeMarre Carroll, Missouri

Freshman of the Year
Michael Beasley, Kansas State

6th man Award
Sherron Collins, Kansas

Coach of the Year
Rick Barnes, Texas

All-Big 12 First Team
Curtis Jerrells, Baylor
Darrell Arthur, Kansas
Brandon Rush, Kansas
Michael Beasley, Kansas State
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
D.J. Augustin, Texas

All-Big 12 Second Team
Mario Chalmers, Kansas
Aleks Maric, Nebraska
A.J. Abrams, Texas
Damion James, Texas
Martin Zeno, Texas Tech
All-Big 12 Third Team
Richard Roby, Colorado
Jiri Hubalek, Iowa State
Darnell Jackson, Kansas
Bill Walker, Kansas State
Byron Eaton, Oklahoma State

All-Big 12 Honorable Mention (Listed alphabetically by school)
Henry Dugat (Baylor)
Kevin Rogers (Baylor)
Wesley Johnson (Iowa State)
DeMarre Carroll (Missouri)
James Anderson (Oklahoma State)
Marcus Dove (Oklahoma State)
Josh Carter (Texas A&M)
Joseph Jones (Texas A&M)

Big 12 All-Defensive Team
Rahshon Clark, Iowa State
Mario Chalmers, Kansas
Russell Robinson, Kansas
Marcus Dove, Oklahoma State
Justin Mason, Texas

Big 12 All-Rookie Team
Michael Beasley, Kansas State
Bill Walker, Kansas State
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
James Anderson, Oklahoma State
DeAndre Jordan, Texas A&M

OK – That is going to do it for now. Again, I am sorry that I have not been able to put these newsletters out with the same frequency this year that I have in years past.

I hope you guys have enjoyed reading them again this year.

We will have much more for you over the next couple of weeks as the Aggies head to post-season play.

I also know that a big lingering question is whether or not the Aggies are going to get an invite to the big dance. I guess my two cents is that I think they are currently in, and beating Iowa State on Thursday will basically cement their position.

If they lose to the cyclones in the first round of the tournament, I think you can start making your NIT plans immediately.


Hope you guys have a good week. We’ll talk to you in a couple of days.

Carry on.


At 3/12/2008 12:34 AM, Anonymous 1 of 18 Balda traders said...

Dribbling out the clock is for babies.... it's time this team find some sort of personality... even if it's not quite where we'd like it to be.. better then lying meekly in fields of grain... getting slaughtered. Have some backbone.... or make your reservations for the NIT.....


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