What's that saying about the definition of insanity? Shooting the same shot from the same spot on the court over and over expecting it to start going in? I think it's something like that. Texas A&M looked like a team with collective Alzheimer's last night. Every time down the court they would dribble towards the top of the key, pass it to the corner, and miss a three pointer. Every. Single. Time. At some point you'd think that someone would step in and say "hey guys, I think there's a reason they're giving us this shot." But no one did. Brilliant move by Bill Self going to a zone defense. That move probably won this game for Kansas.
However, the Aggies not being able to shoot 3's isn't a new development. And neither was anything else that happened this weekend, but like a review before a final, it's exactly what we needed. Here are a few things we learned again this weekend.
The Texas Longhorns Are Not Good at Basketball
The media keeps referring to this collapse in an almost humorous way, but they really shouldn't. Sure as fans of the Big 12 it's fun to see Texas struggle. After all, they're the school that has everything. And nobody is ever going to feel sorry for Rick Barnes, it's just not possible. But you have to feel for the players. They were flying high early in the season, but their coach didn't prepare them for the grind of conference play. What's worse, is they have forgotten how to have fun. The only emotion they know how to show now is anger. Even when they go on a run during a game, there's no joy in it, just anger. Andy Katz said that Rick Barnes believes they can still turn it around. I doubt it, but if it is possible, maybe they should take a day away from basketball and go bowling or something. These guys look like they haven't had any fun in three months.
The Big 12's Collective NCAA Hopes Rest With Its Guards
In a league that's lately been known for its big men, this years Big 12 teams are all defined by their guards. Even Baylor and Kansas, with the conference's best big men, can only go as far as Sherron Collins and Tweety Carter can direct them to. Every team has a backcourt duo that controls the tempo for their team except Kansas.
Pullen and Clemente and Kansas State, Dunn and Carter at Baylor, Harris and Sloan at A&M, Page and Anderson at Oklahoma State... you get the picture. It's nice to talk about Udoh and Aldrich, and sure Davis and Loubeau have come a long way at A&M, but this league is guard-tacular.
Baylor is Dangerous, A&M is Tough, but Kansas and Kansas State Are Good
Baylor can beat anyone in the country when Carter and Dunn are hitting shots. It makes doubling on Udoh practically impossible. And their zone defense does a great job of not giving up too many looks and funneling the offense towards Udoh.
Texas A&M can beat almost anyone because they are just tough. I don't really know how else to describe it. If they were to get really lucky and hit a few 3's in the tournament they could make some noise on the second weekend.
But Kansas and Kansas State are a level above the others. I'm not sure if anyone outside of the Big 12 could tell you why Kansas State is so good. It's their defense and their team speed combined with the experience level of their phenomenal back court. They know how to score, and when their shots aren't falling they know how to guard. With the right series of matchups, Kansas State could be a final four team.
Kansas is going to be the NCAA Tournament favorite for a reason. They win when they play poorly and they win big when they play well. It's hard to imagine Kansas playing worse than they did for the first 30 minutes of yesterday's game, and they were still behind by 3 or 4 points at most. It only took 8 minutes of good basketball for KU to blow away Texas A&M. THAT is impressive.