K-State Q&A: Looking ahead to important road games, looking back on the Baylor loss, plus NCAA Tournament and Justin Edwards

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another K-State Q&A. Apologies for taking last week off, but it was 86 degrees in Texas leading up to the Baylor game. I chose to spend every second I could away from the computer.

Anyway, there’s a big week of basketball ahead. The Wildcats play at Oklahoma and Texas Tech and then return home to take on Iowa State. All three games could be considered toss-ups. They will certainly impact the seed K-State earns in the NCAA Tournament.

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


1. The expectation has to be 0-2, given K-State’s recent history. Though it has often looked dominant at home (winning 14 straight) it has played poorly on the road (losing every away game other than at bottom-feeder TCU). But the majority of its road losses have been close, so it’s also reasonable to assume K-State will break through and win a road game at some point. Oklahoma is 11-3 at home. Texas Tech is 10-5 at home. K-State could win in both venues, but both games will be difficult. Too difficult to expect victories given that K-State has lost five straight on the road.
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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.
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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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TCU quarterback caught wearing Kansas State sleeve during game vs. Texas Tech

If you look closely at Trevone Boykin’s wrist, you can see a K-State logo. (photo credit: Dave Smoller)

Kansas State football apparel has apparently become so popular that other Big 12 teams are now sporting the powercat during games.

Several K-State fans caught TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin wearing a K-State arm sleeve while playing against Texas Tech last night and flooded social media with screen grabs of the uniform snafu.

It is hard to spot from a distance. Both TCU and K-State wear purple, so the purple-and-white sleeve doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. But look close and you can definitely see powercat logo.

And you probably thought the strangest thing about last night’s game was a fox running loose on the field.


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

Kansas State football will benefit from a home-heavy, travel-friendly schedule

If you have access to a car, you can easily attend all 12 of Kansas State’s football games this season.

Perhaps that’s the best way to describe just how travel-friendly the Wildcats’ schedule will be this year.

It features eight home games and only three trips across state lines. And it is one of the main reasons many believe K-State will exceed preseason expectations, which have the Wildcats qualifying for a middle-tier bowl and finishing sixth in the Big 12 standings.

Let’s take a closer look at the schedule perks: K-State will benefit from five conference home games, as opposed to four last year, and play all three of its nonconference games at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

K-State hasn’t played eight home games since 2006, when Ron Prince had his lone winning season and the Wildcats reached the Texas Bowl. The last time it happened during the Snyder era was 2002, when the Wildcats won 11 games and beat Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl.

This is the type of schedule Snyder prefers. He has been building toward it since he returned to the sidelines in 2009 and only played six home games in his first two seasons back.
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Fiesta Bowl Countdown: Oregon’s offense reminds K-State of Baylor

Kansas State safety Jarard Milo was asked to compare Oregon to a team he faced this season in the Big 12.

It didn’t take him long to answer.

“When we look at their film we kind of see Baylor,” Milo said. “We also see of the other teams we faced. They have a very fast-paced offense. They have good players, too, but when we look at them we see some of the other teams we have gone against.”

Preparing for a juggernaut offense is nothing new for the Wildcats. That’s part of life in the Big 12. Earlier this season, West Virginia looked so unstoppable behind Geno Smith that Bill Snyder joked his gameplan centered on him being kidnapped. Texas Tech throws the ball as well as anyone. Oklahoma State churned out yards despite three quarterbacks this year. And Baylor became an offensive force behind Nick Florence and Lache Seastrunk.

K-State fared well against most of that competition. It made West Virginia look bad, dominated Texas Tech and only needed Collin Klein for 35 minutes against Oklahoma State. But Baylor got the best of the Wildcats.

The Bears wasted no time between plays, rushing to the line and snapping the ball every few seconds (just like Oregon), and took advantage of Ty Zimmerman’s injury. Baylor threw deep, ran effectively and handed the Wildcats their only loss.

That could mean bad news for K-State in the Fiesta Bowl, but Milo thinks the defense learned a lot from that game.

“They have a good offense, but we aren’t going to get nervous about it,” Milo said. “A lot of the things they do are similar to some of the other teams we’ve already seen. With their spread offense, we are used to that.”
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Crunching numbers on K-State’s defense


Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder and defensive coordinator Tom Hayes are using the same argument to explain why the Wildcats were better against the pass last season than the 263.3 yards per game they allowed indicate.

Said Snyder:

“Statistically, the defense against the passing game may have suffered, but you have to look at this conference. You look at the conference and there are teams that are throwing the ball an average of 400 yards per ballgame against some very fine football teams. In this league, statistics throwing the football are going to be significantly higher than they might normally be in most conferences.”

Said Hayes:

“Our stats are skewed somewhat in the way that we played against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State two weeks in a row. We didn’t play very well and they played very well and they were very talented on offense, both of them. We gave up a ton of yards to them and we lost both those games, but they kind of skew what happened in the whole scheme of things … They do that to everybody.”

There is truth in each of those statements. There is no shortage of offense in the Big 12. While K-State’s pass defense ranked a respectable sixth in the conference last season, it ranked an ugly 103rd nationally.

Maybe Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said it best in Dallas last month when he described the Big 12 as “a points league.”

“You’re still going to have to score a lot of points no matter what,” Tuberville said. “You’re going to give up points in this league. This is a points league. I mean, we scored close to 40 points a game last year and won five games.”
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Chris Harper uses bowl game as motivation

If preparing for its fourth consecutive game as an underdog wasn’t enough to fire up the Kansas State football team heading into Saturday’s game at Texas Tech, the 17th-ranked Wildcats can always think back to last year’s frustrating trip to the Pinstripe Bowl for motivation.

More than anything, that’s what wide receiver Chris Harper uses to drive him in practices these days.

“Last year we were 4-0 and we lost and things went downhill from there,” Harper said. “We did it before, barely making it to a bowl game, and not a great one at that. I don’t think guys want to let that happen again.”

A year ago, K-State started the season hot with wins over UCLA, Missouri State, Iowa State and Central Florida. The Wildcats were close to breaking into the top 25, but then came a lopsided loss to Nebraska. They didn’t win consecutive games the rest of the way, and ended the season at 7-6 with a loss at chilly Yankee Stadium in the Pinstripe Bowl.
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Now at the podium: Texas Tech

Under Mike Leach, the Texas Tech Red Raiders became famous for throwing the ball on practically every single play.

They piled up enormous offensive numbers, won a lot of games and churned out impressive quarterback after impressive quarterback.

But now that Texas Tech’s pirate-loving coach is gone, and former Auburn head man Tommy Tuberville has taken his place everyone wants to know what the Air Raid offense will look like.

Will there even be an Air Raid offense?

“We’ll change it to some degree and put our own stamp on it,” Tuberville said. “But we’ll throw the ball.”
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