Two days have passed since Tulsa surprisingly defeated Kansas State 61-54 at Intrust Bank Arena, but Wildcats basketball coach Bruce Weber can’t stop thinking about the game.
Everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong, and K-State paid the price.
“We were all disappointed,” Weber said. “That was a gut check. We got low-blowed. It didn’t feel good.”
K-State entered the game shooting 39.1 percent from three-point range and averaging nearly 80 points. But the Wildcats went cold against a zone defense, making 12.9 percent of their outside shots and scoring a season-low 54 points.
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Had they shot just 20 percent from deep, Weber said, they might have won.
K-State returned to practice on Monday and began preparing for Saturday’s game against Southeast Missouri State at Bramlage Coliseum and next week’s semi-road game against Washington State. After that, it’s off to Iowa State for the start of Big 12 play.
Improvements need to be made. The areas they will focus on: zone offense, rebounding and leadership.
“It’s good to have practices now,” Weber said. “We need some practice time. We just haven’t had much practice time. This week, we can tell them, ‘Here are a couple things we need to get better at. Let’s get better at them.’”
Reinforcements on the way?
Two K-State basketball players could enter the Wildcats’ rotation in the coming weeks.
James Love, a 6-foot-11 redshirt freshman, has recovered from a foot injury and Weber hopes to start using him fully in practices sometime around Christmas.
Mike McGuirl, a 6-2 freshman guard, is also healthy and currently practicing with the team. He has not played this season, so he might opt to redshirt and start fresh next year. But if he practices well over the next week and it appears he is deserving of playing time, Weber said he will let McGuirl choose whether to burn his redshirt or remain on the sideline.
Weber referred to McGuirl as K-State’s surprise of the summer not long after he arrived on campus. He could add backcourt depth.
Arizona State has been the surprise of college basketball this season.
After a 9-0 start, including a 95-85 victory at Kansas on Sunday, the Sun Devils have climbed up to No. 5 in the Associated Press poll. With wins over San Diego State, Xavier, K-State and KU, you could argue they have the nation’s best collection of victories.
You won’t hear any disagreement from Weber.
“Some pretty good wins,” Weber said. “They are good.”
Of course, Weber has known that since the Sun Devils beat the Wildcats 92-90 in the semifinals of the Las Vegas Invitational last month.
“I had no doubt,” Weber said. “I watched them on film. I had no doubt. Now, you wonder if they could shoot like that all the time. We told the Kansas coaches, ‘They are good, you better be ready.’ And they were. They are playing at a high level.”
K-State led Arizona State at halftime and Barry Brown missed a shot at the buzzer that would have sent the game to overtime.
“We showed we can compete with them, but it doesn’t mean anything,” Weber said. “Now you have got to get wins. That is the most important thing ... Get better and get wins.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett