“I don't think there's any doubt,” said Wildcats head coach Bruce Weber, “we watched — at least the coaches watched in person last night the second half — and really thought they were getting a little tired even in the Baylor game.”
There's evidence in the poor shooting, with air balls and other short shots. The Cowboys regularly failed to finish at the rim.
And as Rodriguez said, the Wildcats consistently created freedom on the break.
“We still came out and played hard,” said OSU guard Marcus Smart, who scored a team-high 18 points. “It wasn't much fatigue …”
Like Brown, Le'Bryan Nash was saddled with early foul trouble and didn't score in the first half, before rallying late to finish with 11. No other Cowboy managed more than eight. And only Philip Jurick, who sat much of the game, was the only player to shoot better than .500 from the field with a 2-for-3 night.
Maybe that's a silver lining in K-State's story. If the Cowboys are showing signs of wear and tear, having Saturday off at least gives them another day to recover.
Then Sunday, when OSU returns to the NCAA Tournament field for the first time in three years, there should be a boost in the announcement of where they're headed and who awaits.
“Right now, I'm not too excited, because we just lost,” Brown said. “But it's a great time to be playing. We'll get back, have a nice cooked meal waiting for us and watch the Sunday selection.”