KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Quick hitters here at Sunflower State central:
Kansas probably has a 65-35 split in fans. That was evident during introductions when the two team videos were unveiled. The KU one probably pushed the noise meter a bit higher.
Kansas State may win this game -- may -- but it’s obvious that Kansas is the better team and more capable of winning the national title. The Jayhawks simply don’t rely on a pair of players like Kansas State. Kansas early went to Cole Aldrich, then saw the Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff get active around the basket or facing it. And then there is Sherron Collins. He’s simply just better at making plays than anyone on Kansas State. Collins gets to the hole to create for himself and others. He had eight points, four assists and zero turnovers in the first half as Kansas built a 31-27 lead at the break.
My one knock on Aldrich is he can start quickly but then tends to fade. Aldrich picked up a ridiculous second foul during a scrum for a loose ball. We’ll see if that becomes a factor in the second half.
Kansas’ Thomas Robinson, Aldrich’s replacement, needs to learn a pump fake. He came into the game, took two post shots and got them both blocked.
If you’re looking for one stat to show the aggression of one versus the other, look to the free-throw line where Kansas is 8-of-10 and Kansas State didn’t attempt a free throw.
Here’s a stat you can’t ignore. Kansas State isn’t going to win unless Jacob Pullen makes shots. He was 1-of-7 in the first half and missed all three 3-pointers. That has to change if Kansas State is going to win the game. The one blessing for the Wildcats is they are getting some production from various role players like Curtis Kelly, Rodney McGruder, Wally Judge and Jamar Samuels.
What is Luis Colon doing? He missed two shots, picked up two fouls and played eight minutes. To deserve more time on the court he needs to be more productive.
I’ve covered every power six conference tournament and I would reiterate that Kansas City, when Kansas is in the final, is one of the best for atmospheric presentation. The Big 12 and the downtown do a solid job in creating a pre-game frenzy outside with the bars and restaurants. There is a street fair type of atmosphere. Tickets were going for $200 to $400, apparently, according to the licensed scalpers outside.
Everyone seems to be in quite a good mood here despite some dreary weather. I’ve been here for three days and haven’t seen the sun.