K-State Q&A: NCAA Tournament, Thomas Gipson, Marcus Foster, Shane Southwell, a tricky game at West Virginia and football

It’s time for another K-State Q&A, so let’s jump right into your questions.

Thanks, as always, for asking them.

Kansas State will make the NCAA Tournament. I don’t think there is any doubt about that. The Big 12 is the nation’s top-rated conference, according to most statistical measurements, and simply playing quality teams on a regular basis will keep the Wildcats’ RPI (currently 39) strong. The better question is what seed will K-State receive in the NCAA Tournament. Halfway through conference play, it is looking like an 8 seed in the latest bracket projections. Saturday’s game at West Virginia, and upcoming home games against Texas and Kansas will be important. But so will every game remaining on the schedule. If the Wildcats take care of business and win most of their home games and find a way to win a few road games, they could work themselves into consideration for a 6 or 7 seed. It they slip up against Texas Tech or Baylor and fail to perform well in the Big 12 Tournament, they could be looking at a 10 or 11 seed.

Thomas Gipson, Shane Southwell and Marcus Foster are K-State’s best three scorers, so they shouldn’t stay in their current slumps for long. I actually think Southwell has played reasonably well the last few games. He received too much blame for the Iowa State loss and he didn’t play as badly as the statistics indicate against Texas Tech. As a freshman, Foster is going to have his ups and downs. And the thing to remember about him is, even when he plays well his efficiency rating is low. He takes a lot of shots and turns the ball over. He makes up for those flaws when he scores 20 points. When his shot is off, his flaws are more noticeable. But he hasn’t had a string of bad games yet. Gipson’s recent struggles are the hardest to figure. He was K-State’s best all-around player heading into the Iowa State game. But he has barely made an impact in his past two games. The good news for K-State is all three players played fantastically the last time they faced West Virginia. Southwell was at his best, Gipson was dominant inside and Foster scored so quickly he got to rest in the second half. I expect all three of them to play up to their usual standards at West Virginia. It will be a tricky game, though. The Mountaineers are playing well, and they came close to sweeping a road trip through Oklahoma State and Baylor. I’m picking K-State to win 72-68, but the Wildcats can’t expect an easy victory solely because they thumped the Mountaineers earlier this month.

I doubt K-State makes a public announcement about the planned renovations at Snyder Family Stadium anytime soon. John Currie will want to have designs and fundraising ready to go before he unveils full details about the project to the public, the way he did with the West Stadium Center. And even after the Wildcats select a design and raise cash, they will need to figure out how they are going to displace their football coaches and players while they build the new facility. There are a lot of moving parts involved.

K-State will go as big as it possibly can with this project. The new facility will add a new look and feel to the football stadium. I expect an enclosed north end zone. Everything inside will be state of the art.

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