Race for second heating up in the Big 12

ISUGipson
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 »

Marvin Clark “loved” watching Kansas State defeat Kansas at Bramlage Coliseum

MarvinClark If Kansas State ends up landing Marvin Clark, its 85-82 overtime victory against Kansas on Monday could be a big reason why.

Clark, a three-star small forward from Kansas City who is currently enrolled at Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, watched the game from the front row while on an unofficial visit. And he had a good time. Such a good time, that he rushed the floor with K-State’s student body when it was over.

“That’s the craziest game I’ve ever been to or been a part of. I loved it,” Clark said Tuesday by phone. “First time I’ve rushed the floor. People were telling me it was going to happen, so when it happened I figured what the heck?”
Read More »

Postgame Thoughts and Player Ratings: Iowa State 81, Kansas State 75

Three thoughts from Kansas State’s 81-75 loss at Iowa State on Saturday at Hilton Coliseum:

1. The Wildcats need to handle double-teams better on both ends of the court.
Thomas Gipson had an unusually quiet day, scoring four points and grabbing seven rebounds in 28 minutes. His struggles were tied directly to the way he handled double-teams. Iowa State players descended on him every time he touched the ball down low, and he didn’t react fast enough to the extra pressure. He missed five of seven shots, and often held onto the ball too long when teammates were open. Gipson is used to double-teams, but he struggled against them at Iowa State. The Wildcats also failed to effectively double-team Iowa State forwards on defense. Georges Niang and Melvin Ejim faced two, and sometimes three, K-State defenders in the paint. Yet, they combined for 38 points and 13 rebounds.
Read More »

Cats ready for first trip to Ames since 2007

The last time Kansas State traveled to Jack Trice Stadium, Iowa State handed the Wildcats a 31-20 loss in Ron Prince’s second year as head coach.

The Wildcats have since reeled off four straight wins over the Cyclones, but they came by an average of 5.75 points and none of them were played in Ames. K-State defeated Iowa State at home in 2008 and 2011. In between, the Farmageddon series briefly moved to Arrowhead Stadium.

So Saturday’s game will be a new experience for K-State players. None of them have played at Jack Trice Stadium before. Next week will bring a new stadium, too, when the Wildcats play their first game at West Virginia since 1931.

Question is: Will that have an impact on the games?

“I would like to think that’s not the case,” K-State football coach Bill Snyder said. “As we’ve said so many times, it’s keeping it all between the white lines. If you do that it all looks the same no matter where you happen to be. Grass is grass.”
Read More »

Sunday Rewind: K-State 30, Iowa State 23

Overall Assessment:
Coming into Saturday’s game against Iowa State, the Kansas State football team wanted to win the final game of the regular season for several reasons. Players viewed a 10-win season as a great accomplishment, and wanted to put themselves within reach of a BCS bowl.

But they also wanted to send the seniors out on top. After beating the Cyclones 30-23, it sounded like players were motivated by that more than anything else.

“We just wanted to win the game for them,” sophomore linebacker Tre Walker said. “It wasn’t about Iowa State. It wasn’t about getting a three-way tie for the Big 12 championship. We just wanted to win it for them because we love them so much.”

Throughout the week, seniors and upperclassmen were allowed to give speeches to the rest of the team. Some of the most emotional came on Friday night at the team hotel.

Senior cornerback David Garrett said he was the first to speak to the whole team on Wednesday, and that after hearing everyone’s take on the season he thought the team was fired up to play.

“Our team, we care a about each other a lot,” Garrett said. “We are always together. Everything we do, even if it has nothing to do with football we do it together. Us stepping up like that and showing that we care and expressing ourselves, it gets to people and makes us go hard.”

Well, K-State’s seniors went out in style. They finished the season 10-2 and finished second to only Oklahoma State in the final Big 12 standings. Now it will wait to find out if it makes a BCS bowl.

If the Cowboys play in the BCS title game, the Wildcats could head to the Fiesta Bowl. If Alabama heads to the BCS title game, K-State may go to the Sugar Bowl. Or maybe K-State will end up in the Cotton Bowl. It will definitely be one of those three. We’ll know for sure in a few hours.

Here’s a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
Read More »

Looking ahead to gameday: Iowa State

Editor’s note: In preparation of the upcoming football season, K-Stated will look ahead to all 12 games on the Wildcats’ 2011 schedule. We start at the end with Iowa State. Next up, at Texas

As fun as Farmageddon was to watch at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas State won two exciting games over Iowa State by close scores of 24-23 and 27-20) the former Big 12 North rivals are moving their annual meeting back to campus.

That’s bad news for anyone hoping for K-State/Iowa State to turn into the next Red River Rivalry. But, hey, at least it won’t become the next Baylor/Texas Tech, where neither fan base seems interested in driving to a neutral site for the game.

Overall, the switch back to Manhattan and Ames should be a positive for the matchup. The move away from a pro stadium will mean full – or at least near full — crowds watching from the stands, and the unusual scheduling date of December 3 gives the game a sense of added importance.

These are two similar teams that were picked to finish in about the same spot of the final Big 12 standings. Paul Rhoads looks like a real up-and-comer. Bill Snyder is the most established coach in the conference. The Cyclones and Wildcats have played each other tough for the past five seasons, and there’s no reason to think this year will be any different.
Read More »

Postgame: K-State 27, Iowa State 20

ISUThomas

Kansas State defeated Iowa State 27-20 on Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium. Daniel Thomas did most of the leg work by running for 181 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries, and the Wildcats are hoping to parlay their 3-0 start into a promising season.

Here’s a look at everything that transpired — good, bad and interesting — between the Wildcats and Cyclones:

FIVE THINGS THAT WENT WELL
1. Thomas deserves first mention. Before the game started, K-State coach Bill Snyder told the senior running back to be ready to carry the load. He did.

The Wildcats went to him a career-high 34 times, and he delivered from start to finish. It wasn’t the easiest of experiences, but Thomas said he felt strong afterward. Read More »

Gameday Preview: K-State vs. Iowa State

Farmageddon_lineup

Do a Google Images search on the term “Farmageddon” and very little comes up about Kansas State and Iowa State. Instead you get all kinds of unintentionally hilarious cartoon drawings of farmers and farm animals like the ones featured here.

Too bad, because the Wildcats and Cyclones lived up to their end of the bargain in their first neutral-site game at Arrowhead Stadium last year. The two teams played a fantastic game that wasn’t decided until the final moments when Emmanuel Lamur blocked an extra point.

K-State won 24-23, and the 40,851 in attendance left speaking highly of their experiences. But unless something drastic changes in the minds of John Currie and Bill Snyder following Saturday’s rematch, the series is headed back to Manhattan and Ames in the future.

It’s the right move to make, but that doesn’t mean the Wildcats and Cyclones can’t put on another great show in Kansas City.
Read More »

This week’s player to watch: A.J. Klein

Iowa St Football Media Day

An unlikely player as emerged as the Big 12′s leading tackler two games into the season: A.J. Klein.

The Iowa State sophomore linebacker has 26 tackles so far, and is one of the Cyclones top up-and-coming players.

Klein, a 6-foot-1, 240-pounder, first showed his talents last season, when he made it on the field for all 13 of Iowa State’s games as a true freshman. He only recorded 17 tackles, but the groundwork for a strong career was established.
Read More »

Wednesday K-State links

– For the second straight year, Kansas State will be featured on ESPN’s “College Gameday” basketball program.

Rece Davis, Digger Phelps and Jay Bilas previewed the Sunflower Showdown in front of a huge crowd at Bramlage Coliseum last season. The Wildcats and Jayhawks played an overtime thriller, and the game got big ratings. This year, ESPN will head to Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 29 to preview the rematch.

Gameday will also appear at Baylor (did I really just write that?) later in the season when the Bears host Texas.

– It’s been hard to keep up with all the injuries coming out of UCLA football practices, but the Bruins finally appear to be getting some good news. The Los Angeles Times reports sophomore quarterback Kevin Prince, barring a setback, should be good to go against Kansas State.

– Speaking of UCLA, this guy predicts K-State to beat the Bruins 17-7.
Read More »