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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Football Friday: Kansas State, Michigan, Nebraska and the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

Football Friday is back. Who else is excited?

This is a good week to talk Kansas State football. The Wildcats are headed to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl later this month to take on Michigan, and that should be a highly competitive game. Both teams went 7-5 in the regular season and K-State is an early 3.5-point favorite.

And with a title sponsor like Buffalo Wild Wings, you know the game won’t be decided until the final play.

Anyway, let’s get onto your questions. Thanks, as always, for providing them.


Nebraska vs. Kansas State definitely seemed like the more compelling matchup, and I think most expected the former Big 8/Big 12 rivals to meet in Tempe. The Cornhuskers won more games than the Wolverines and beat them head-to-head, yet the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl opted for Michigan. You don’t see that every day. It would have been like Texas Tech jumping over K-State in the Big 12 bowl order. There are, however, a few reasonable explanations why Michigan was the more attractive team. For starters, K-State and Michigan have never played. It’s always fun to create new matchups in bowls. K-State now gets a shot against a storied program. Conversely, Nebraska and K-State have played 95 times, with the Cornhuskers winning 78 of those games. They have even played in a bowl game (kind of) before. Anyone remember the 1992 Coca-Cola Bowl in Tokyo? I get that K-State vs. Nebraska would have been cool, but from a bowl executive’s point of view, are Nebraska fans going to be fired up for another game against K-State?
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Sunday Rewind: Oklahoma 41, K-State 31

OULockett
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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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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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.
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When healthy, Kansas State expects a lot from Tramaine Thompson, Tyler Lockett

Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson are expected to return to Kansas State’s lineup on Saturday. The Wildcats missed them while they were out.

Kansas State looked like a different football team without Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson.

That was to be expected, of course. Not only did the Wildcats have to get by without their top two receivers, they were also down their top two returners. With them on the sidelines the past two games, K-State has been unable to throw the ball deep or aggressively return kicks and punts.

Lockett, a junior captain, and Thompson, a senior speedster, are both expected to play against West Virginia on Saturday. The Wildcats will welcome their return in several areas.

Here is a statistical look at the impact they have made on games this season:
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The Week Ahead: Kansas State looking for confidence-boosting win vs. West Virginia

Kansas State’s hopes of a second-half turnaround begin on Saturday against West Virginia.

The first half of the season didn’t go the way Kansas State hoped it would.

First came an unexpected loss to North Dakota State. Next came narrow defeats against Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor. The result is a 2-4 overall record and three-straight losses in Big 12.

With a favorable closing schedule, the Wildcats are hoping for a stronger second half and another trip to a bowl game. Both certainly seem possible. They have the look of an improving football team (fourth-quarter leads over ranked teams in back-to-back games and solid defensive numbers) but they need to learn how to win close games.

The journey begins on Saturday against West Virginia, a team that has looked excellent at home and shaky on the road.

Here is a look at that and everything else you need to know about the week ahead:
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The Week Ahead: Can anyone stop Baylor?

You’ve got to hand it to Wofford. The FCS team from Spartanburg, S.C. is the only team that has held Baylor’s offensive juggernaut under 70 points this season.

The Bears managed just 69 points in a blowout win over Wofford. They have since gone for 70, 70 and 73. They are averaging almost 71 points a game. They are averaging nearly 50 points in the first half. Bryce Petty, Lache Seastrunk and Tevin Reese have their offense rolling.

Can anyone stop them? Kansas State will try on Saturday.

Here is a look at that and everything else you need to know about the week ahead:
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Sunday Rewind: Okla. State 33, K-State 29

Kansas State lost another close game at Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Wildcats committed penalties left and right and turned the ball far too often. In the end, they couldn’t overcome those mistakes and lost 33-29.

There will be some soul-searching after this one. The Wildcats feel like they let one slip away, which they couldn’t afford to do after losing to North Dakota State and Texas. Next up is Baylor, a team that appears unstoppable on offense. It will be interesting to see how K-State moves on from another agonizing loss and prepares for the toughest opponent of the season.

And with that, here is a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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