College basketball exhibition games could probably be compared to NFL preseason games. Sure you get to see your team play against another team but what you can really truly learn about your team, well that is debatable.
So by now a few teams in the Big 12 have played their first exhibition games against lower level competition and fortunately no one ended up being embarrassed although there was one close call.
What observations, if any, can we make from these few games?
Kansas State won 83-56 over Newman University in a somewhat hard game to watch with all the fouls and substitutions. Really hard to form any opinions on a Frank Martin coached team since in an exhibition game last season against Fort Hays State University, Martin kept the majority of his starters on the bench and K-State only won by a slight margin and that team obviously ended up in the Elite 8. So if we had to choose one thing to pick out after watching 1 game, we would have to go with free throw shooting as the Wildcats only hit 21 of 40 attempts with two airballs involved. Now I doubt the airballs continue and I don't expect KSU to barely shoot them at slightly above 50% but this is something to keep an eye on with this team all season.
In checking up on Doc Sadler and the Nebraska Cornhuskers you will see that they easily handled NAIA Peru State 75-43 Wednesday night in a game where the Huskers forced 25 turnovers. In looking at the box score it appears Nebraska will rely on their frontcourt with Christian Standhardinger posting a double double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, also fellow returning big man Jorge Brian Diaz added 13 points. Another big guy to keep an eye on when checking out Nebraska is juco transfer Andre Almeida who is listed at 6'11" and 310 pounds, he chipped in with 11 points along with six rebounds and six assists.
In what might be the team where the most could be learned from exhibition contests, the Oklahoma Sooners beat visiting Northern State on Tuesday night 75-64 behind contributions from their top three returning players in Cade Davis, Steven Pledger & Andrew Fitzgerald. Those three combined for a total of 50 points in the contest and kept OU from an embarrassing start to the season. Northern State led OU 33-29 at the half and at one point in the 2nd half 55-51 before OU's veterans went on a run to gain the victory. Only main observation to make is it could be a long season in Norman and Jeff Capel has his work cut out for him as everyone in the Big 12 will be looking at Oklahoma as a W on their schedule.
Oklahoma State got their exhibition season off against in-state Oklahoma City University on Monday with an 86-66 victory. Trailing at one point in the contest 36-35 the Cowboys pushed their lead up to as many as 24 points in the 2nd half behind a strong effort from Keiton Page who finished with 21 points. It's only one game but main observation is it appears that for the Cowboys to win this year with James Anderson in the NBA, Keiton Page is going to have to up his scoring on a nightly basis.
In their only exhibition contest Texas A&M beat the St. Mary's Rattlers out of San Antonio by a final of 70-53 behind 15 points from David Loubeau and 13 points from Khris Middleton. While the Aggies controlled the contest from the early beginning, Mark Turgeon has to be concerned with being outrebounded 39-26 with 16 of those for the Rattlers being offensive rebounds. With Bryan Davis no longer down low rebounding will be a definite area to keep an eye on with this team.
The Kansas Jayhawks on Tuesday night did what they always do at this time of the year, beat an in-state D2 team very badly, this time the victim being Washburn by a score of 92-62. Marcus Morris led the team with 28 points while Tyshawn Taylor and Markieff Morris both chipped in with 12 each. It's only one exhibition but the observation seen from this contest is that this is no longer Sherron Collin's team but now it's Marcus Morris team.