I hate this expression, and I hate myself for being lazy and using it, but where was the sense of urgency? I mean, from anyone from Kansas State? Missouri had plenty, and it’s little surprise the Tigers find themselves in the position they’re in. Still don’t think they’re especially talented, but man, they play hard. And they cover so much ground. And they’re relentless. And they’re fun to watch.
Funny thing is, those were all things I know I’ve written or told people about the Wildcats. What happened? Why wasn’t it there last night? Is this just another step in the maturation process of a young team? Was this just a matter of a team not recognizing how the intensity level would rise for an opponent with possibly more at stake?
It was mystifying. And it’s also way too many questions this late in the season.
Now, everyone take a deep breath.
Because I know this to be true, NO ONE was anticipating a season of 20-plus wins. Well, no one besides Frank Martin, his staff, the Wildcats, assorted family members and a few others. Don’t throw the towel in yet – man, I’m wearing out the cliches here, aren’t I? – because there is plenty to play for. And what if K-State, as streaky as it gets, goes to Oklahoma City and something clicks? You don’t think the Wildcats, on a neutral court for everyone but Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, match up well with the rest of the league?
Failing all of that, however, an NIT bid shouldn’t be viewed as a disappointment. What could be a concern is all of the “must-win” talk that spewed from the mouths of Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente. It’s nice to be aware, and they’re both good kids and all, but what now? Do you lay down against Nebraska because you think your goals are out of reach? We know Martin won’t allow that, right? Still…
Denis can’t do it all, and he shouldn’t be asked to do so. On a side note, after Martin spent so much time telling us how fast Clemente is, I agree – he has to be the fastest player in the country with the ball in his hands. It’s ridiculous.