MIDWEEK RECAP For thirty nine and a half minutes, K-State and Nebraska engaged in a desperate struggle between teams that, between them, had gone 2-0 the previous week against the Nos. 1 and 2 ranked teams in all the land.
Then, suddenly, it was like ESPN switched to Dumb and Dumber, as each coach futilely attempted to out-stupid the other. The only question was who was Jim Carrey and who was Jeff Daniels. Or did it matter?
With 21 seconds remaining on the game clock and approximately 17 on the shot clock, K-State held a two point lead and had possession of the ball. Nebraska was, for some dumb reason, exhibiting no interest in fouling to stop the relentless momentum of the clock, apparently hoping K-State would miss a shot with 5-6 seconds remaining in the game, and the Huskers would grab the rebound, go the length of the court, and tie or win the game at the buzzer.
Heck of a plan. Right up there with investing for retirement in lottery tickets.
But K-State was playing it smart, keeping the ball on the perimeter and in the hands of two good free throw shooters—Pullen and Spradling--just in case Jim (or Jeff) Sadler came to his senses and signaled his team to foul.
Oh, wait. Did I say K-State was playing it smart?? For some inexplicable (that means "beyond dumb") reason, Jim (or Jeff) Martin called a time out, stopping the clock for Nebraska: not only lengthening the game, but giving , Jim (or Jeff) Sadler an unexpected free opportunity to gather his team around him and discuss, a plan for the next 21 seconds. And that plan was, surprisingly, not entirely dumb: force K-State to in bounds the ball to anyone other than Pullen or Spradling. A plan they executed perfectly.
The ball was thrown into into Henriquez-Roberts, a 51% Free Throw shooter. The Huskers gleefully fouled him immediately. He missed the first free throw, meaning that NU would have plenty of time to at least tie the game in regulation.
After the second FT was made, the Huskers quickly moved the ball into K-State territory, where K-State fouled with 13 seconds on the clock. . It was a stupid foul, but, not giving discredit where discredit is not due, it did not appear too be planned.
Ah, plan planned stupidity was not dead, After missing the first free throw, NU missed the second intentionally. As a result, the Huskers were down three instead of two eight seconds later, when Jim (or Jeff) Martin ordered an intentional foul.
This time, NU made the first free throw. Down two point at the 4.9 second mark, Doc Sadler wisely told his man at the line miss the second--the same ploy, you might recall, that brought K-State to within a tenth of a second of beating Colorado in Boulder in regulation eleven days earlier. Unfortunately, Jim (or Jeff) Sadler had, evidently, failed to explain to his charges that the shot needed to touch the rim in order to be in play and allow NU the opportunity to grab the rebound for a chance to win the game outright or send it into overtime.
In short, Jim (or Jeff) Martin wound up with a huge W in spite of himself (not even mentioning the technical he had incurred earlier that led to a five point lead shrinking to one on a single NU trip down court), picking up a full game in the REAL Standings in the process. Meanwhile, Jim (or Jeff) Sadler's team fell by the wayside ( and by "wayside," I mean the NIT)—at least for the time being.
The only other marginally interesting result from the Midweek slate came out of Lubbock, where Colorado picked up a Road victory on the High Plains, not being affected at all by 3,200 feet of elevation. The win, a big plus one in the REAL Standings, kept the Buffs theoretically alive for a first round bye in the Big 12 tournament.
Texas A&M also picked up ground (1/2 game) in the REAL Standings with its victory at Oklahoma in an at risk game.
The remaining games all went as projected to the Home teams: KU over Okie ST, UT over ISU, Mizzou taking down Baylor (though by a surprising margin). That margin, along with Baylor’s overall performance recently, resulted in a downward reclassification of the Bears to Tier 3, trading places with K-State, which climbed over the .500 mark in the Newspaper standings for the first time this season.
REAL STANDINGS: 2-20-11
Tier One (Contenders): KU, UT Tier Two (Competitors): K-State,Mizzou, Texas A&M Tier Three (Also rans): Baylor, Colorado, Iowa St, Nebraska, Okie St, Oklahoma, Tech
UT (12-1) Projected L’s: None Losable games: None
KU (12-2) Projected L’s: None Losable games: at Mizzou
A&M (9-4) Projected L’s: at KU Losable games: at Baylor
K-State (7-6) Projected L’s: at Nebraska, at UT Losable games: None
Mizzou (8-5) Projected L’s: at K-State Losable games: at NU, vs. KU
Colorado (6-7) Projected L’s: vs. UT, at ISU Losable games: None
Baylor (6-7) Projected L’s: at Mizzou Losable games: at Okie St, vs. UT
Nebraska (6-7) Projected L’s: at ISU, at CU Losable games: vs. Mizzou
Okie St (4-9) Projected L’s: at OU Losable games: None
Oklahoma (4-9) Projected L’s: vs. KU, at Tech Losable games: None
Texas Tech (4-9) Projected L’s: at OSU, at A&M Losable games: None
Iowa St (1-12) Projected L’s: at K-State Losable games: None
WHAT TO WATCH (or not)
1. Mizzou at K-State (11:00)****(Projected W: K-State) A Fight to the Finish For Fourth place. Which, as you know, comes with a bye in Kansas City.
2. Nebraska at Iowa St (12:30)** (Projected W: ISU) Nebraska was briefly on the bubble. A win here will not put it back on, but will keep it within shouting distance.
3. Texas Tech at Okie St (12:30) * (Projected W: Okie St) If this is not the worst game of the Big 12 season, it is within shouting distance.
4. Texas at Colorado (2:00)***1/2 (Projected W: UT) If Burks, Higgins, and Knutson are all hot at the same time and UT succumbs to the altitude. . . Which will all happen before pigs fly.
KU at Oklahoma (3:00) *1/2 (Projected W: KU)If a KU fan is ever going to miss a game, this is it.
6. Texas A&M at Baylor (8:00)***1/2 (At risk game)
Does any A&M game not fall in the at risk category?