Here’s my FDA-style warning concerning college basketball exhibition games: treat ‘em like Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
Like a new box, the lopsided scores look good. And like a second or third doughnut, a true freshman’s 10 points in 20 minutes seem even better. But, in reality, they have no substance and, if over-indulged in, can cause fans to go sugar-high crazy before they spew all over the message boards.
Kansas State fans, already jacked on the fresh memory of an Elite Eight appearance and huge preseason expectations, watched their Wildcats blah their way to an 83-56 win against Newman. And, trying very hard to appear in midseason complaint form, the boards lit up despite a 27-point win.
It’s meaningless, really, but for those who feel they understand this year’s team after 40 exhibition minutes, let’s break some things down.
Yeah, the team shot 21-of-40 from the free throw line. The percentage needs to improve, no doubt, but, that line came within a game that followed a full-out, two-hour practice. So, it is safe to assume K-State, which led the NCAA in free throw attempts (1,098) and makes (734) last season will shoot better than 52.5 percent from the line.
Yeah, Curtis Kelly was a virtual no-show with five points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes. But, don’t we know that about him by now? That he usually only really shows up for big games? Exhibitions sure aren’t big games.
Yeah, Vic Ojeleye started and stole some hearts with his hustling 20 minutes, but c’mon, if he’s playing that many minutes in late December and January, there’s an issue considering the sick depth on this roster.*
*On the flip side, those who were ill at the number of minutes Chris Merriewether played last year…well, meet this year’s Merriewether. Frank Martin (and every coach) loves to have his “example” guy who he can point out as what it takes to earn minutes.
To the extreme, one of my favorite Roy Williams tricks was to substitute in five future insurance salesmen for five future NBA’ers when they loafed.
It was cheesy, against lesser competition, and it would only last a minute or two, but it always seemed to work.
And yeah, the team struggled from 3-point range. On nights Pullen isn’t lighting it up, it is going to happen considering the lack of another seasoned shooter. Will Spradling can shoot, but has yet to play a real game. Martavious Irving is streaky. Nick Russell (and his three minutes of playing time against Newman) apparently is going to remain a mystery.
While that (and a lot of other things not discussed this time around) sorts itself out, chill folks. You have a fantastic slate of non-conference games and all of the Big 12 season to get all angried up.
SIDE DISHES (other notes from around college basketball):
– Purdue senior leader Robbie Hummel is scheduled for surgery Nov. 16 in New York to repair his torn right anterior cruciate ligament, which he suffered on Oct. 16. Dr. David Altchek, who serves as medical director for the New York Mets and as a medical consultant for the NBA, will perform the procedure.
– On Wednesday, new Iowa head coach Fran McCaffrey briefly addressed the recent attention brought on his program after two recruits were introduced to Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore during the Iowa State football game-portion of their visit – an incident considered by the NCAA to be a secondary violation. “Anything that took place on any recruiting weekend is by the book,” McCaffrey said. “Anything that happened other than that is unintentional. Without question, this has been blown way out of proportion.”
No word whether the weekend will show up in a future Kutchar-produced “Punk’d!”
– Lastly, thank you to Hearne for allowing me a little space on KC confidential. I’m ecstatic to be back officially (Twitter is fun, but not nearly as fulfilling)! -ck