Monthly Archives: March 2014

Postgame: Kentucky 56, Kansas State 49

Kansas State’s basketball season came to an end Friday night in St. Louis with a 56-49 loss to Kentucky.

K-State can blame a complete lack of offense for the defeat.

Strange that it went toe-to-toe in a shootout with Iowa State at the Big 12 Tournament (falling 91-85) and then mustered just 49 points (a season low) eight days later in the NCAA Tournament.

There were many reasons for K-State’s struggles. First and foremost was Kentucky. Every member of its playing rotation stands 6-foot-6 or taller, and that length created all kinds of problems. Open shots were hard to come by on the perimeter, and Willie Cauley-Stein made driving the lane difficult by blocking four shots and altering several others. But K-State also missed the few open shots it had. Marcus Foster and Will Spradling both went 1 for 7 from three-point range. That’s not going to cut it against a team of future NBA players.

K-State coaches were confident heading into the game. They thought K-State was quick enough to get around Kentucky defenders and find open shots. But that didn’t happen. Bruce Weber introduced some new offensive sets last week, thinking they would take Kentucky by surprise. But poor coaching and execution made that impossible. Foster was the team’s only consistent scorer all season, and that hurt K-State on Friday.

“On the offensive end, we didn’t get anything accomplished,” Spradling said. “We really struggled. Their length bothered us a lot more than we expected. We were pretty stagnant.”
Read More »

Three things about Kentucky

Just a quick primer – three things to watch for about Kansas State’s second-round NCAA Tournament opponent, Kentucky. The Wildcat-Wildcat tipoff is scheduled for around 8:40 p.m. tonight at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Here’s Kellis Robinett’s gameday advance and his excellent feature on K-State coach Bruce Weber.


1. Pick ‘em



The Wildcats have definitely three, and maybe up to six future NBA first-round draft picks on their roster. As in the future being June 26. Freshman forward and Dallas native Julius Randle is a sure-fire lottery pick, while freshman guard/forward James Young and sophomore center and Olathe native Willie Cauley-Stein are both also first-rounders. Freshman guards – and twins – Aaron and Andrew Harrison also could go in the first round, as could 7-foot freshman center Dakari Johnson. I watched a lot of college basketball this season, but getting to see Randle up close yesterday was something else. He’s pretty much the perfectly-built basketball player.

2. Don’t put too much into March 16

That’s the day that Kentucky almost pulled off the upset of No. 1 Florida, losing 61-60 in the SEC championship game. Don’t put too much into it, for a couple of reasons. The first being that it was a completely insignificant came in regards to the NCAA Tournament and one, I would guess, both teams would rather have not been playing in. The second is that the other time the teams played, at Florida on March 8, the Gators spanked Kentucky 84-65.

3. Depth

They’re not that deep — they’ve got seven guys in their rotation, so if Kansas State can find a way to get them in foul trouble they might have a shot. Johnson is a force when he’s on the floor, but he only averages 12.8 minutes per game. K-State can run a little bit, so if they can keep Kentucky’s big men on the move that could change the flow of the game. Run, run, run.



K-State talks confidently in St. Louis

Kansas State has practiced and fulfilled its media obligations for the day and the Wildcats are currently shooting in front fans at the Scottrade Center.

Will Spradling, by the way, looks right at home. He is making everything.

Anyway, here are a few tidbits that Bruce Weber and players shared with media today:

– Bruce Weber was asked about the long, up-and-down season that has featured wins over Kansas, Iowa State, Gonzaga and Texas as well as losses to Northern Colorado and Charlotte.

His answer: “We came a long way. I’m just glad we were able to come together as a good team.”
Read More »

K-State Q&A: Matching up with Kentucky, Wildcat puns, Shane Southwell, Brad Underwood, Marvin Clark and Hawaiian shirts

In honor of the start of the NCAA Tournament, we are moving our weekly K-State Q&A up a day.

Kansas State is taking on Kentucky at approximately 8:40 p.m. on Friday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The game should serve as an exclamation mark on a fun day of basketball. Kansas and Wichita State are both playing in the same arena on the same day.

I’m already here with a strong media horde. So follow along for updates.

Two updates before we move onto your questions:

1. Marvin Clark says he will announce his college decision on Monday. His finalists are Kansas State, Michigan State, Seton Hall and Indiana. He is no longer considering Iowa State. Clark’s AAU coach, Matt Suther, said he will meet with Clark and his family this weekend to discuss the possibilities.

“It’s going to be a tough decision,” Suther said. “He is still weighing his options. He has gone back and forth. He really likes Michigan State, but the pull to stay close to home is also there. He is looking at where he has the best opportunity to play right away. He wants to go someplace that is really big on skill development.”
Read More »

My all-Big 12 basketball team

The Big 12 coaches will announce their all-Big 12 basketball team today. The media will announce theirs on Monday. You get a sneak peek of my ballot now.

I am a voter for the Associated Press all-conference team. Below is a look at how I voted, with players ranked from 1-10.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Melvin Ejim, Iowa State.
Choosing the Big 12′s top player has never been more difficult. I seriously considered Melvin Ejim, Andrew Wiggins and Juwan Staten and didn’t eliminate a few others until the final week of the season. Ejim and Staten had dominant stats, but Wiggins was the best player on the league’s best team. What to reward? I chose Ejim, because his stats were too good to ignore. He ranked second in the Big 12 in points (18.2) and rebounds (8.6) and he ranked third in field-goal percentage (51.3). He also had two mammoth games, hitting TCU for 48 points and 18 rebounds and torching K-State for 30 points and 16 rebounds. That helped Iowa State finish third.
Read More »

K-State Q&A: Marvin Clark, Daniel Sams, Marcus Foster, Shane Southwell, Senior Day and postseason projections

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another K-State Q&A.

Let’s go ahead and jump into your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

I think Kansas State, Michigan State and Iowa State all have a good shot at landing Marvin Clark. They seem to be his top three. The three-star small forward from Kansas City, who is currently playing at Sunrise Christian Academy outside Wichita, visited all three and had good things to say after each stop. Clark was originally going to announce his decision on Saturday, but he told me today he will announce his decision “sometime next week.” So he wants to consider all his options. The Wildcats have recruited him the longest, and he has said staying close to home is a priority. He also rushed the floor at Bramlage Coliseum when K-State beat Kansas. None of that can hurt. But Michigan State is a big name, and Fred Hoiberg is a great coach. I’m not sure who to label as the favorite.
Read More »

Kansas State quarterback Daniel Sams hints at position change to wide receiver

It is hardly an official announcement, but Daniel Sams is publicly hinting that he has switched positions from quarterback to wide receiver.

Late Thursday night, the Kansas State junior described himself as a “WR for Kansas State” in an updated Twitter bio. He then retweeted someone who pointed out the change.

Read More »

Postgame Thoughts and Player Ratings: Oklahoma State 77, Kansas State 61

Three thoughts from Kansas State’s 77-61 loss at Oklahoma State on Monday:

1. Will Spradling has to play 30-plus minutes for K-State to win.
Spradling never appeared more important than he did against the Cowboys. For the second straight game, he picked up two early fouls and barely played in the first half. With the senior shooter and leader of Bruce Weber’s motion offense on the floor, K-State took a quick lead. With him on the bench, Oklahoma State roared to a 35-27 halftime advantage. The Wildcats lose much of their offensive flow without Spradling. He is the only player on the roster who does as much without the ball as he does with it. Spradling only played 23 minutes on Monday, and you can blame both Spradling and Weber for that. Spradling committed two needless fouls by challenging OSU guards more than he needed to. He has to play smarter. But Weber should also have enough trust in Spradling to play him while he is in foul trouble. With the game slipping away from K-State in the first, Weber would have been smart to risk playing Spradling for a few more minutes.
Read More »

Race for second heating up in the Big 12

As the Big 12 season enters its final week, the most fascinating race is for second.

Kansas State, Iowa State, Texas and Oklahoma are all tied with 10 conference victories. All four teams have two games remaining, and all four teams could finish second as easily as they could finish fifth.

A breakdown:

Kansas State
Remaining Games:
at Oklahoma State, vs. Baylor.
Why they could finish second: The Wildcats won their last road game and have already beaten Oklahoma State this season. Winning in Stillwater, though difficult, is hardly impossible. And they should be favored against Baylor at home, where they have won 15 straight. K-State also benefits from tie-breakers, by virtue of its victory over Kansas. Texas also beat the Jayhawks, but it is hurt by losing twice to Oklahoma. That could come in handy when its time to seed the Big 12 Tournament.
Why they could finish fifth: Oklahoma State has been on a roll since Marcus Smart returned from his three-game suspension, and K-State is 2-6 on the road. There’s a reason the Cowboys are favored by 8.5 points in Stillwater. Baylor has also been playing well since it downed K-State in Waco. Beating the Bears at Bramlage Coliseum isn’t a given. The Wildcats face arguably the toughest schedule of this four-team group.
Read More »

Postgame Thoughts and Player Ratings: Kansas State 80, Iowa State 73

Three thoughts from Kansas State’s 80-73 victory over Iowa State on Saturday:

1. Iowa State and Kansas State do not like each other.
A few years ago, Kansas State players went out of their way to let the public know they detested Missouri. They didn’t like the way the Tigers played or acted. So K-State made beating them a high priority. I’m not sure if their dislike for Iowa State has reached those levels, but it could be close. K-State and Iowa State played one of the most physical games I’ve seen in a long time. Their were hard plays, harder fouls, taunting and Marcus Foster took a shoe to the face. Melvin Ejim looked like he wanted to fight during a few dead balls, and Shane Southwell clapped in Ejim’s face when he was hit with a technical foul in the second half. K-State was the tougher, and more composed, team on Saturday. That’s a big reason why it won. But if these teams meet again in Kansas City, things could get even more physical.
Read More »