#32 Kansas State Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Kansas State Wildcats

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #32
Conference Rank:  #4 Big 12

Kansas State Team Page#32 Kansas State Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Kansas State Basketball Tickets

For the first time ever, Kansas State won a regular season Big 12 championship in former Illinois coach Bruce Weber’s first season in Manhattan.  They did so while battling a Kansas team that is constantly favored to win the league.  They won with Weber’s defensive style (they led the conference in scoring defense) and some scrappy veterans in Angel Rodriguez and Jordan Henriquez.  Both are gone now, but Weber still has a roster capable of doing some damage again this season.  

2012-2013 record:  27-8, 14-4
2012-2013 postseason:  NCAA
Coach:  Bruce Weber
Coach Record:  27-8 at Kansas State, 313-155 overall

Who’s Out:
The Wildcats lose a lot of fire power with the loss of Rodriguez, Henriquez, Rodney McGruder, and Martavious Irving.  McGruder was the team’s leading scorer.  All were in the top six last season in scoring, assists, and minutes.  Rodriguez was a great floor manager at the point, and Weber does not exactly have a true point guard to step in this season.  That could be the most glaring issue going into this season.   Henriquez was a big bodied veteran on the front lines and led the team in blocks.  There are a lot of spaces to fill on the floor for the Wildcats this year.

Who’s In:
Jevon Thomas, a highly-touted point guard prospect was expected to come in and take over for Rodriguez.  He has been declared ineligible until December.  Spradling, who played a significant role last season, jumps in to play point guard for at least at the start of this season.  Weber will be looking to evaluate a five-man freshmen class.  All three-star recruits, he has three different positions coming in.  Nigel Johnson is the other point guard coming in, and he will be scrutinized as Weber tries to determine who the next full-time point guard is going to be.  Two small forwards, Wesley Iwundu and Jack Karapetyan, add depth at that position.  They also add a shooting guard in Marcus Foster.  Unfortunately, Weber had a prized recruit in center Neville Fincher, but he was deemed ineligible and will not be attending the school in the fall.

Who to Watch:
Seeing how Spradling will do as a point guard will be the most interesting story line for the Wildcats.  He has some experience at the position.  He has filled in on spot duty for Rodriguez when he was injured last season.  Can he be a long term answer?  What will happen when Thomas starts to play?  Weber would probably like to see one of these freshmen take the bull by the horns and allow Spradling to play at his regular two-guard position.  The effectiveness at point guard is going to determine the trajectory of the Wildcats’ season.

Final Projection:
Kansas State has to feel pretty good about where they are with their basketball team.  In a good conference, the Wildcats were able to match the ever-mighty Kansas for the best conference record.  Weber was a great hire at the time, and he appears to be the man to keep the Cats at the top of the rankings.  Success will boil down to the point guard position.  He is a good enough player that he will be able to find his way at the position.  Outside of that, they have enough experience and minutes played to make another run.  Losing Angel Rodriguez and Jordan Henriquez is tough.  But the Wildcats should still be formidable.

Projected Postseason Tournament:  NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Will Spradling, Senior, Guard, 7.4 points per game
Thomas Gipson, Junior, Forward, 7.9 points per game
Shane Southwell, Senior, Guard, 8.4 points per game
Nino Williams, Junior, Forward, 4.2 points per game
Omari Lawrence, Senior, Guard, 2.1 points per game

By the numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.0 (131st in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.4 (36, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.6 (157, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.9 (127, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.8 (105, 3)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.2 (69, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.5 (205, 7)
Rebound Margin: 3.3 (76, 3)
Assists Per Game: 15.9 (16, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.5 (46, 1)


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