KANSAS CITY, Mo. – This is from Kansas State coach Frank Martin.
No just kidding. But a young fan thought I was Martin. Who knew?
I said this Thursday night and I’ll add it again: Baylor is a lot tougher than I ever thought. The Bears went right after Kansas State and didn’t back down one bit. Clearly this is a decidedly pro-Kansas State crowd but that hasn’t fazed the Bears one bit.
The star of this tournament so far if you’re looking for lasting impressions is Baylor’s Ekpe Udoh. He continues to be around the basketball, scoring 10 points and missing just one shot. The Bears are efficient but did have too many turnovers if they want to win this game. Committing eight was almost too costly in building a 37-36 lead.
Kansas State can count on Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente, but can the Wildcats consistently rely on Jamar Samuels? Samuels scored 27 points in the quarterfinal win over Oklahoma State. He was limited to two points in the first half against Baylor. But if the Wildcats are going to win this game they may need more production out of someone other than Pullen and Clemente, who had 16 and 11 points, respectively.
Remember when Curtis Kelly was a quality option for the Wildcats getting buckets around the basket? Kelly needs to be much more active. He didn’t grab an offensive rebound in the first half.
Baylor is primed to ruin the all-Kansas final. Maybe it’s too good to be true for the Big 12. If Kansas State doesn’t win this game then the Bears will be playing a true road game Saturday night. If Kansas State can win in the second half, then there’s a chance for a 75-25 or at least 60-40 split of Blue/Red vs. Purple.
Credit the KU fans for sticking around. These folks are basketball fans. Good late-night crowd still dominate by Rock Chalk.