Oklahoma’s 63-60 win at Kansas State flew under the Big 12 radar yesterday. That tends to happen when Kansas loses a conference game, because it seems that, well, Kansas never loses a conference game.
But I’d go out on a limb and say that Sooners win in Manhattan was the most surprising of yesterday’s result. The Kansas loss wasn’t totally unexpected: you knew Hilton would be jazzed up, the Cyclones had played the Jayhawks tough in Lawrence, and when crunch time came Royce White could exchange blows with Thomas Robinson.
Texas giving Baylor a run for its money in Waco wasn’t a shocker either because the Longhorns had been playing better as of late even if they were getting wins. And Missouri not blowing away Texas Tech at home raised an eyebrow, but it seems the Tigers may have hit a bit of a cold patch. The way they were shooting all season that isn’t totally unexpected.
The Sooners gave the Wildcats their second home loss of the year, and in the process picked up the first win over a ranked opponent in the Lon Kruger era. Steven Pledger (3o points, 11-17 FG) gave one of those super-human performances you generally need to beat a good team on the road. And he especially needed to play like that because K-State did a good job limiting Andrew Fitzgerald (3 points, 1-7 FG).
It’s odd to see a K-State Frank Martin team lose at home, but especially to see that in a game that should have been a “taking care of business” affair, and especially when they need to keep piling up wins to really feel secure about a NCAA bid. They are probably still safe right now but they certainly can’t afford any more slip ups. And I’m sure Martin will make that crystal clear in his own special way over the next few days.
The Wildcats still have trips to Columbia, Waco and Austin on their schedule as well as a home game with Kansas. That’s definitely no picnic.
As for the Sooners, I am sure Kruger is pleased his team was able to pick up at least one win in a brutal 5-game stretch against the conference’s five best teams. After playing Baylor and K-State, they’ll now head to Kansas and then get Iowa State and Missouri at home.
If they complete a state of Kansas sweep then I will be floored and declare Kruger the “Kansas killer.” But Iowa State could be a winnable game at home, and a 2-3 mark in that stretch would be an encouraging thing.