Once again, Kansas City was the center of the college basketball world. With the Kansas State Wildcats, Kansas Jayhawks and Missouri Tigers all ranked in the top 11 of the AP poll, that's no surprise. On Tuesday it was the No. 4 ranked Kansas State Wildcats that the country had their eyes on, though, as they faced off against the No. 1 ranked Duke Blue Devils.
Kansas State lost, 82-68, in a very disappointing game for the Wildcats. They made a lot of mistakes and were never quite able to do what they wanted to do. Credit is due to Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski for coming up with a 24-hour game plan to slow down Kansas State.
Here are eight things to remember about the game.
1. This one was never really close. Duke controlled this game from the start and you knew with Jacob Pullen struggling that Kansas State's chances of mounting a comeback weren't very good. While Duke built a 10-plus point lead into the second half, Kansas State never quite got the final knockout punch until it was too little too late.
2. Kansas State's starters disappeared. At halftime, Kansas State's starters had 11 points. So did Curtis Kelly. Yeah, K-State's bench is great but tonight their starters weren't very good. Kansas State ended with 25 points from their starters while reserves Kelly, Jamar Samuels and Montavious Irving combined for 41.
3. Mike Krzyzewski gets 800th win with Blue Devils. Too bad it had to come against Kansas State but well-deserved nonetheless. His resume includes 872 career wins (4th all-time), 4 NCAA championships (t-2nd all-time), 77 NCAA Tournament wins (Most all-time) and 11 30-win seasons (most all-time).
4. Pro-purple crowd at KC's Sprint Center. The crowd at the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, Mo. was loud and creating a "March Madness atmosphere" according to ESPN's Dick Vitale. The crowd was tilted towards Kansas State but there was a healthy amount of blue as Duke always travels well. Still, the crowd was at its best when Kansas State made any sort of run.
5. Free throws are a problem (again). We knew coming into the game that Duke was the superior free throw shooting team and that was clearly the case on Tuesday. Duke connected on 24-of-31 free throw attempts while Kansas State hit just 11-of-23. There's not much else to say. It's pretty obvious. K-State has to get this fixed or else they become much more vulnerable.
6. Three pointers are also a problem. Kansas State shot a very 46 percent from three point range on Monday against Gonzaga, which was about 10 points above their season average. Because of that, I suggested they would come back to earth against Duke. Unfortunately, they did come back to earth -- to the tune of 3-of-17 from three point land. Ouch. Duke meanwhile hit 6-of-12 three-pointers.
7. Curtis Kelly reminds Dick Vitale of Lamar Odom. I can definitely see it, especially on a night like Tuesday when Kelly was having one of his best games.
8. Kansas State had no rhythm. Kansas State is becoming known for a team that will go on a run at some point. With their high tempo style of play, it's almost inevitable they'll force the opponent into some mistakes. Jacob Pullen said after the Gonzaga game on Monday night that K-State would rather not get into a set offense instead running in transition. I can see now why they didn't want to run their offense.