K-State Q&A: Keys for the Iowa State game and football recruiting

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

Thanks, as always, for asking them.


Rebounding might be the most important part of the game. Everyone knows Iowa State is going to spread the floor and take a boatload of threes, but what happens when the Cyclones miss? Will the Wildcats be able to secure rebounds and push the ball up court, which they hope to do in order to exploit Iowa State’s transition defense, or will the Cyclones grab rebounds and score in the paint? That could easily decide the game. Another key: K-State needs to make it hard for Iowa State players to drive to the basket. Everyone from DeAndre Kane to Georges Niang can shoot or put it on the floor. Thomas Gipson, in particular, needs to be ready to defend anything. One final thought: Will Spradling could be important at Hilton Coliseum. He has a history of playing well there. He has averaged more than 11 points in his three prior trips to Ames, and he scored 15 points there last year. If he can do that again, that will help K-State tremendously.
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K-State Q&A: The Big 12 basketball race, Jevon Thomas, Jim Wooldridge, attendance figures, Daniel Sams and facility upgrades

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

Thanks, as always, for asking them.


Kansas lost four games before the start of conference play, and the Big 12 is too tough to envision anyone going undefeated. So I guess it is silly to imagine the Jayhawks running the table. Remember, they got clubbed at Baylor (a NIT team) and TCU (a horrible team) last year. Texas Tech (still bad) stomping Baylor (now a top 15 team) earlier this week shows the Big 12′s depth. Still, the conference race is currently KU’s to lose. The Jayhawks have already beaten K-State at home and they have defeated Oklahoma and Iowa State on the road. Will anyone else duplicate those victories? If they beat Oklahoma State and Baylor next, they will have a huge advantage at 5-0. K-State does have a shot at challenging them. Victories over Oklahoma State and Oklahoma have the Wildcats off to a nice start, and the upcoming schedule isn’t daunting. But they can’t afford to drop any games they are favored to win. Beating West Virginia and Texas will be vital. They will also need to prove they can play in tough road environments. If they can do that, then future games against Iowa State and Kansas take on added meaning.


I agree that Jevon Thomas has developed into a valuable sixth man. His speed allows K-State to score in transition and get up the court in ways it simply couldn’t while he was waiting to become eligible. He can come in for Marcus Foster or Will Spradling, and the pass-first point guard helps in many ways. Against Oklahoma, he even made a difference on the glass, grabbing four rebounds. The best part about his game is that he doesn’t lose turnovers. He averages one per game. His defense has dropped a tad from his blazing start, but that is to be expected now that opponents know who he is. As a freshman, he has a lot to offer K-State’s basketball program.


During the Jim Wooldridge era, Bramlage Coliseum averaged about 7,000 fans. The 2001-02 season bottomed out with 5,915 fans. His final season, in 2005-06 topped off at 7,664. Then Bob Huggins arrived and attendance regularly shot up over 12,000. The bottom half of the Big 12 currently averages between 4,000-9,000 fans. Remember, all of those numbers are based on announced (not actual) attendance. By the way, while we’re talking about Wooldridge, congrats to him on becoming the full-time AD at UC-Riverside.


Sams played some running back in high school, and I think he could succeed there at K-State. After all, he is a running quarterback. But he says he only wants to play receiver or quarterback. When he said he would consider changing positions next season, I asked for his thoughts on possibly switching to running back or safety, as well. He didn’t seem remotely interested. Besides, I trust K-State coaches when they say DeMarcus Robinson and Jarvis Leverett are capable replacements for John Hubert.


I think so. He wasn’t plagued by fumbles last season as a quarterback. I’m sure there will be an adjustment curve for him if he switches positions, which is no guarantee, but Chris Harper, Ty Zimmerman and Justin Tuggle all thrived in different spots after coming to K-State as quarterbacks. Bill Snyder knows how to get the most out of his players, regardless of position.

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Here are the two things I keep hearing when I ask about K-State’s new wave of athletic facility upgrades: They are in the very early planning stages, but with a $50 million price tag they are thinking big. I don’t know specifics about what the new north end of Snyder Family Stadium will look like when this project is complete, but it will feature drastic changes. Additional seating and a more enclosed stadium both seem like possibilities. Still, no timetable is in place for that project. K-State is much closer on adding videoboards to Bramlage Coliseum and Snyder Family Stadium. Depending on fundraising, you could see those popping up later this year.


Have a comment or future story idea for K-Stated?
E-mail: krobinett@wichitaeagle.com
Twitter: @KellisRobinett

K-State Q&A: NCAA Tournament chances, keys to beating Oklahoma State and the football season that was

We’ve got a loaded K-State Q&A today, so let’s jump right into your questions.

Thanks, as always, for asking them.


Maybe I’m a bit on the optimistic side, considering the latest Bracketology doesn’t even list K-State on the bubble, but I think K-State has a great shot (maybe 70 percent) of making the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats have won eight in a row and they have victories over Mississippi, George Washington and Gonzaga. They are a good basketball team.

I understand that early loss to Northern Colorado will haunt them all year and that their RPI is in the high 80s, but a winning record in conference play should be enough to get them in. The Big 12 is surprisingly a beast of a basketball conference this season. Simply playing league games will boost K-State’s RPI.

There’s certainly no guarantee that K-State can go 10-8 or better in the Big 12, but it’s possible the way Marcus Foster and Jevon Thomas are playing. The key may be beating teams like Texas Tech, TCU and West Virginia. The Wildcats have no room for error. They need to sweep those games, split with teams like Texas and Oklahoma and try to knock off Kansas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Baylor wherever they can.
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Blake Slaughter helped bring the Governor’s Cup back to Kansas State as a freshman. He is focused on keeping it there as a senior

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Kansas State has won four straight Sunflower Showdowns, so very few active players know what it feels like to walk by an empty trophy case on their way through the lobby of the Vanier Football Complex.

But senior linebacker Blake Slaughter, who made the unusual decision to redshirt last season so he could be a major contributor in his fifth year, does.

As a freshman in 2009, he was part of the team that ended a three-game losing streak to Kansas with a 17-10 victory.

He helped bring the Governor’s Cup back to Manhattan, and it hasn’t left since. He hasn’t forgotten the significance of that victory.

“I remember it being special for that team, because of the struggles it had gone through and how hard that season had been,” Slaughter said. “I remember that being a turning point for our team and our defense. It was special.

“We hadn’t had it the three years before that. That was huge, being on your own turf with so many guys from Kansas, you definitely wanted that win for the guys who live here.”
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Sunday Rewind: Oklahoma 41, K-State 31

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A look back at Oklahoma’s 41-31 victory over Kansas State:

THREE THOUGHTS

1. This game showed the importance of a balanced offense.
Tyler Lockett didn’t just play the game of his life. With 440 all-purpose yards, 278 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns, he played the finest game of any K-State receiver … Ever. When he went off in the second quarter, catching touchdown passes of 48, 30 and 90 yards, the Wildcats looked unstoppable. But when Oklahoma adjusted and put top cornerback Aaron Colvin on him in the second half, K-State couldn’t adjust back. Jake Waters threw two devastating interceptions, while Daniel Sams and John Hubert were essentially bystanders. Sams attempted three runs and no passes. Hubert touched the ball nine times. K-State rushed for 24 yards.

The Wildcats didn’t have a balanced offense, and, much like a loss at Texas when Lockett went crazy for 237 receiving yards while the rest of the offense was quiet, they lost by double-digits. Oklahoma, meanwhile, ran for 301 yards and threw for 171 yards. That balance kept K-State’s defense guessing. That was the difference in this game.
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A few minutes with … Kirby Hocutt


Kansas State fans first met Kirby Hocutt more than 20 years ago as a linebacker on some of Bill Snyder’s early teams. He helped the Wildcats reach their first bowl game under Snyder – the Copper Bowl in 1993 – and he left the program as a memorable player.

Today, he is better known as an athletic director. In the past year, he has made sweeping changes at Texas Tech, hiring Kliff Kingsbury as the Red Raiders’ new football coach and hiring Tubby Smith as the Red Raiders’ new basketball coach.

After a 7-0 start to the football season, fan excitement boomed in Lubbock. Back-to-back losses have brought Texas Tech down to earth a bit. Now it will try to bounce back against Hocutt’s alma mater.

Hocutt was kind enough to talk about that matchup, his current job and his former school in a wide-ranging interview earlier this week. Some of the conversation was covered here. Here are the other highlights.

What kind of relationship do you have with Bill Snyder?

He is why I pursued a career in college athletics. The five years I spent playing under Coach Snyder, I enjoyed that time at Kansas State. I learned from Coach Snyder and Coach (Bob) Stoops and all of the coaches. Those experiences are still valuable to me today.
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The Week Ahead: Kansas State, Texas Tech both looking to make a statement

When Texas Tech raced to a 7-0 start, many labeled the Red Raiders as overrated. Why? Well, for starters their four conference victories came against TCU, Kansas, West Virginia and Iowa State, the Big 12′s weakest teams.

They have since lost back-to-back games to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. And they have since fallen from the top 10 down to No. 25. If they want to stay in the mix for a conference championship and keep their national ranking, they need to beat Kansas State on Saturday in Lubbock.

It appears Texas Tech chose a good week to unveil special uniforms with the words “Never Quit” on the back.

K-State at Texas Tech figures to be a highly competitive game. Much like the Red Raiders, the Wildcats’ only Big 12 wins have come against teams in the bottom four, West Virginia and Iowa State. They have won two in a row in blowout fashion, but they still have plenty to prove. A win would get them within one victory of bowl eligibility and give them legitimate hope of finishing in the top half of the conference standings after a 2-4 start.

Here is a look at that and everything else you need to know about the week ahead:
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Sunday Rewind: K-State 41, Iowa State 7

Sophomore quarterback Daniel Sams and the Kansas State Wildcats played their most complete games of the season against Iowa State.

At the moment, Kansas State is in a class of its own within the Big 12.

The Wildcats are clearly better than the conference’s struggling teams. They have blown out West Virginia and Iowa State and they will be favored against TCU and Kansas. As long as they take care of business against the Horned Frogs and Jayhawks they will reach bowl eligibility.

But the Wildcats also appear a notch below the conference’s contenders. They have already lost to Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma State. They are three-point underdogs against Texas Tech and they will likely be underdogs against Oklahoma. They probably need to beat the Red Raiders to have any chance of finishing in the top half of the Big 12 standings.

A 41-7 clobbering of Iowa State proved the Wildcats are improving. They have won back-to-back games, and their defense has gotten better each and every week. They will have momentum and confidence on their side when they head to Texas Tech, fresh off its first two losses, next week. Can they take advantage and once again prove their progress? Or will they stay where they are?

It will be an important game.

Here is a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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Sunday Rewind: Kansas State finds passing groove in 35-12 victory over West Virginia

Kansas State put Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson to good use on Saturday. The Wildcats’ top two receivers combined for four touchdowns.

This was definitely a crossroads game for Kansas State. A loss would have made it very difficult for the Wildcats to keep their spirits up and to reach bowl eligibility. Instead, they pounded West Virginia in the second half for a 35-12 victory and now go into their final five games with momentum.

Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett were back on the field together for the first time in a month. Jake Waters looked like the quarterback who originally won the starting quarterback job in the preseason. And K-State looked like a new team.

Here is a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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Bill Snyder sends letter to Kansas State students thanking them for their “continued support during this difficult time”

Kansas State is off to a 2-4 start, but the Wildcats have played their home games in front of large and noisy crowds.

For that reason, Bill Snyder sent a digital letter to the K-State student body this week thanking them for their “continued support during this difficult time.”

Snyder sent out a similar letter to fans in 2009, when K-State started the year with a lackluster win over Massachusetts in Snyder’s first game out of retirement.