I don’t know, but we are about to find out. After dropping both conference games to an Oklahoma team that many had marked as the “gimmees” on the basketball schedule, everyone is wondering what to make of this year’s team. K-State (15-5, 4-4) currently has all the pieces to the puzzle in the wrong places. They’ll get a quick flash of what the overall picture is about the time someone decides to move their piece.
By no means is this a time to panic and get tight. Let’s look back to just last year when K-State was in a similar situation. K-State ended the month of January with an ugly 24pt lose in Lawrence to fall to 2-5 in the conference. K-State fans couldn’t have been more down after being picked by the coaches as the favorite to win the Big 12. The Cats would go on to win 8 of their next 9 to finish regular season play with the one lose being to Colorado, who should have made the NCAA tournament.
Fast forward back to this year. Rodney McGruder has showed he can take over a game the way Jacob Pullen did last year, but he without a doubt needs his teammates to pitch in. Will Spradling is due for a big game as he has certainly had his struggles. Spradling has missed all of his last ten 3pt attempts and is just 4-23 (17%) going back the past five games. Jamar Samuels put on 30lbs this off-season and has done very little with it. Samuels needs to become a force inside, start finishing around the bucket and STOP shooting 3 pointers.
K-State has a great opportunity to get the train back on the tracks by getting a win on the road at Iowa State tonight. The Wildcats will tip off at 8pm against a Cyclones team coming off a big home win against Kansas on Saturday. These two teams appear to be jockeying for 4th place in the league, as the top three have set themselves apart.
My 3 keys to a K-State win. 1, limit Royce White. Shocking. This will also mean fewer times the TV audience will have to hear him referred to as “Rolls Royce.” 2, Rebounds. Outside of Royce, no other Cyclone is crashing the boards. Offense rebounds and second chance points will be huge. 3, Mental mistakes. K-State needs to stop giving the ball away on offense and start making better in game decisions.