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 beat Oklahoma with defense last month. Toughness could decide rematch

RyanSpangler
Ask Oklahoma forward Ryan Spangler what it will take for the Sooners to beat Kansas State on Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center, and he doesn’t hesitate with his answer.

“We can’t let them out-physical us,” Spangler said. “We have to be the tougher team.”

That wasn’t the case when K-State defeated Oklahoma 72-66 last month at Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats were clearly the tougher team, particularly on defense.

The Sooners sport one of the nation’s top offenses. They average 83 points, with all five of their starters averaging double-figures. But they couldn’t get anything going in Manhattan, outside of Spangler, who had 21 points and 14 rebounds. Shane Southwell and Nino Williams held Cameron Clark to two points and Oklahoma made 33 percent of its shots.

“They do as good a job as anyone defensively,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “It’s hard to simulate, because they are so good at it. But you know what you are getting. They just line up and guard you like crazy. Executing against it is difficult.”
Read More »

Shane Southwell slumps, Will Spradling soars

ShaneSouthwellISU
Will Spradling and Shane Southwell are heading in opposite directions.

Spradling is making shots and playing his best basketball in a Kansas State uniform after a mediocre (at best) start to the season. Southwell is committing fouls, bricking shots and losing turnovers like a freshman after a promising start to the year.

They have effectively switched places.

Check out the stats.

Will Spradling (first 18 games): 6.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists.
Shane Southwell (first 20 games): 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.15 assists.

Will Spradling (last six games): 11.67 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists.
Shane Southwell (last four games): 4 points, 3.75 rebounds, 2.75 assists.
Read More »

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.
Read More »

Postgame Thoughts and Player Ratings: Kansas State 66, Texas Tech 58

Three thoughts from Kansas State’s 66-58 victory over Texas Tech on Tuesday at Bramlage Coliseum:

1. This might be the worst K-State can play while winning a conference game.
Marcus Foster scored two points. Shane Southwell made one shot. Thomas Gipson was on the floor for 11 minutes. Everything about those statistics screams loss, but the Wildcats found a way to beat Texas Tech without significant contributions from their main three scorers. Will Spradling, Wesley Iwundu and a surprisingly strong bench effort saved the day for K-State. In some ways that is a good sign. The Wildcats have enough depth to win when their starters aren’t at their best. It is also a negative sign. How many other teams are getting this little from their best players in late January? Gipson has posted back-to-back poor games. Southwell hasn’t done anything special since the West Virginia game. And Foster has been all over the map lately. K-State needs consistency from all three moving forward. It had enough depth to hold off Texas Tech at home, but it will need more than that to win more difficult games.
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 »

Postgame Thoughts and Player Ratings: Kansas State 78, West Virginia 56

WVUSouthwell
Three thoughts from Kansas State’s 78-56 victory against West Virginia on Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum:

1. K-State made West Virginia look bad.
West Virginia entered Saturday’s game with one double-digit loss on its resume — an 80-69 setback against Texas. Every other game it had played was a victory or a close loss. It even pushed Wisconsin and Gonzaga. But the Mountaineers were no match for the Wildcats. K-State handed them (by far) their worst loss of the season. This one was over by halftime. Reasonable people can disagree on how much West Virginia contributed to the lopsided game. It looked bad by itself. But K-State definitely made it look worse. Outside of Eron Harris and Juwan Staten, the Mountaineers couldn’t get anything going. And Staten lost seven turnovers. That’s an ugly number, considering West Virginia had five assists as a team. K-State piled up 22 assists, played strong defense and got balanced scoring from Thomas Gipson, Shane Southwell and Marcus Foster. That led to a rare easy conference victory.
Read More »

Postgame Thoughts and Player Ratings: Kansas State 72, Oklahoma 66

OUJevonThomas
Three thoughts from Kansas State’s 72-66 victory against Oklahoma on Tuesday at Bramlage Coliseum:

1. Wesley Iwundu is growing up.
This was a very important game for Iwundu. K-State’s starting forward hit the “freshman wall” coaches always talk about a few weeks ago. And when he hit it, he hit it hard. Iwundu had been as quiet as a mouse since scoring 13 points and grabbing four rebounds against Gonzaga. In the five games leading up to Tuesday’s win over Oklahoma, he averaged 6.4 points and 2.4 rebounds. He essentially disappeared in games against TCU and Kansas. Those performances were clearly fresh on the minds of K-State fans, who urged him not to attempt an open three in the first half Tuesday. Funny thing is, those same fans cheered when he knocked down a late three-pointer (his third of the game) to spark a 16-4 run that led to K-State’s victory. Iwundu has never been known as a shooter, but he made several key shots in this game. Perhaps more importantly, he grabbed vital rebounds in crunch time. He finished with 11 points and six rebounds for his best game of the season. “I have been absent the past two games,” Iwundu said. “I had a talk with coach and he was just like, calm down and let the game come to me. I wasn’t trying to force anything and just shot the ball with confidence.”
Read More »

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.
Read More »

Football Friday: Mid-season awards, healthy receivers, a starting 5 and Halloween advice

It’s time for another Football Friday. Who else is excited?

I thought about handing out some mid-season awards as a build-up to the questions this week, but then someone sent along an e-mail asking for a mid-season MVP. So, no intro needed. Let’s get to the questions.


That’s a tough one. It’s hard to name a MVP with K-State off to a 2-4 start, quarterbacks coming in and out and key players suffering injuries. A case could be made for Tyler Lockett, Daniel Sams, Blake Slaughter, Ryan Mueller and maybe even a few others.

I’m inclined to choose Lockett. Even though he has missed two games with a hamstring injury he ranks fourth in the Big 12 with 475 receiving yards and set a single-game program record with 237 receiving yards at Texas. Those numbers are too good to ignore, plus he has developed into a strong leader.

On the defensive side of the ball, I would narrowly choose Mueller over Slaughter. Mueller leads the team with 8.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and three quarterback hurries. And when he makes a big play, it is highlight worthy.
Read More »