October 19, 2020

2018-19 Bruceketball preview

With Kansas State’s amazing run to the elite eight last year, there are high expectations down in Manhattan. The two hosts of the TGS pod “Down the Rabbit Hole”  Jake Ohlde and Gabe Markley are also Kansas State fans so let’s let them break down the upcoming season.

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It’s hard to believe, but hoops season is already upon us – with Bruce and the boys taking on Pitt State this Friday in an exhibition contest. The hype around the program has been unreal (especially with the news of a victory over preseason PAC-12 champion (and 14th ranked) Oregon in a scrimmage this past Saturday). So I think it’s safe to say most KSU fans are anxious to get this show on the road. But while we’re counting down the minutes until game one, we decided to take a deeper look at the squad…

Most looking forward to…?

Jake: Seeing what kind of chemistry this team has with Dean Wade back (as well as a few newcomers). This group has always been pretty solid defensively but they seemed to find an entirely new identity on that end late in the year, and that ultimately helped galvanize their run without Wade in the postseason. It’ll be intriguing to see how they operate with him back in the lineup. I also want to see how they perform with incredibly high expectations going into the year, since the last time there was this level of offseason hype, they cratered around the unfortunate influences of Marcus Foster. I do feel the leadership is far stronger now than it was then, but still something to keep an eye on going forward.

Gabe: This is a far more interesting question than I would have imagined it being. My initial reaction was how the two newcomers will fit in, who are Shaun Neal-Williams and Austin Trice. They are new, exciting, and both seem to fit an obvious need for this team. But that’s unfair, because it plays off the fun of the unknown. I really should be answering this for Dean Wade and Barry Brown and if they can both make 1st team all big-12. The amount of work they have put into this program demands that.

However, I’ll still end with Trice and SNW. Because even though the returners take this team 90% of the way there, those two are the ones to push the other 10% across.

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Intriguing stat(s)/trend(s)?

 J: Steal/Rebound % – They finished 3rd nationally in this category last season (at 11.9%), which will be pretty tough to reach again, although they’ve ranked in the top 25 each of the last three years. This is primarily a result of their extended on-ball pressure and disruption in passing lanes, a style that Weber and the staff have really placed an emphasis on recently. It also helped offset their severe rebounding deficiencies a year ago (they finished outside the top 250 in nearly every metric for that category, including ranking 301st out of 351 in opponent OReb%). I do think the rebounding will improve, but they’re going to need to generate plenty of steals/turnovers if it doesn’t.

G: K-State was 211th overall in terms of percent of shots that were 3 pointers. It’s not a super popular shot for Bruce’s system. However, with the new additions to the offense with the dribble drive and Kam’s shifting role, I think we see that shoot up considerably – to the point where it might be top 100 for the season. X, Wade, and Stokes should be bombing consistently throughout the year.

The K-State defense ranked 3rd last year in plays that ended up in steals. I know it’s crazy, but I bet that only goes up this year. Maybe that should be a bold prediction. I think they will hound teams into submission on defense and just sort of hope to find offense as the game goes along (and make 3s!).

Most improved player?

J: This is really, really tough. Mak Mawien, Xavier Sneed, Cartier Diarra, and Mike McGuirl should all be in the conversation. However, I think I’ll give the nod to McGuirl after his breakout performance(s) in the NCAA tournament. There was plenty of hushed excitement around him going into 2017, though unfortunately he was injured just prior to the start of the season and planned to redshirt. But then Kam Stokes went down with a foot injury in the 3rd game of the conference slate, and the coaching staff chose to pull the redshirt for depth purposes. He played only sparingly until another injury (Barry Brown getting poked in the eye in the Big 12 semifinals) again thrust him out onto the court for significant minutes. And he didn’t disappoint, flashing all kinds of raw ability on both ends. If he wasn’t playing active on-ball defense and taking charges, he was finding open teammates and driving the lane for and-1s. Then came the NCAA tourney, where he put on a show against Creighton by burying three 3s and dropping 17 points. He seems to have as much natural feel for the game as anyone on the team, and another year of experience/strength training should only help him further excel.

G: I’m going to go with X. The “junior jump” is a real thing under Bruce. Wes (Iwundu), Barry, and Wade all made considerable leaps going into their junior years and I see no reason why that would stop with Xavier Sneed.

He also has a path to quick improvement with a better 3 point shot. And as the offense continues to morph with some dribble-drive components, there will be roles outside the Brown/Wade connection that should make for easy 3s for all parties. X being a secondary player to both Brown and Wade in any pick and roll should provide more opportunities for a player who’s starting to show up on NBA draft boards because of his athleticism.

Frankly though, player development is where Bruce might excel the most. So I expect this to be a crowded competition with players like Mak, Cartier, and Mike McGuirl.

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Surprise impact player?

J: Shaun Neal-Williams -teammates call him “Rondo.” Really the only true PG on the roster and oozing with talent. He showed some incredible passing ability and vision in the Midnight Madness scrimmage, while hounding the other guards defensively with his length and athleticism. But he wasn’t cleared for team activities until the end of July and has been working to acclimate ever since – which will likely be his biggest obstacle in garnering more playing time. The Rondo talk is great but I think a much more realistic comparison is someone like Jawun Evans from OSU a couple years ago (best case scenario). I suspect he’ll be a very key component as the year moves along.

G: The one that might surprise me the most would be for Kam Stokes to make an impact. He’s struggled with turnovers, injuries, and finding the right role for K-State. He’s been miscast as the lead ball-handler for the Bruce offense that doesn’t suit his skill set. If the transition from Kam to Barry continues and Kam gets to become more of a secondary handler with 3 point shooting, I think he has some potential.

He missed the “junior jump” I was talking about, but there’s a chance that was simply due to injuries and the time he spent declaring for the NBA draft. If the focus returns, he could be a useful piece.

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Keys to a top 3 league finish and another run in March?

 J: Know and perform in your role(s) – This squad should have some of the best roster depth from top to bottom in the conference (excluding that team in Lawrence, of course). BUT…this can be both a blessing and a burden. Guys are still going to want their touches, even if they don’t necessarily need them (at least in large quantities). It’s important to remember who your stars are, and when to ride the hot hand on a given night. That, to me, is the single most important factor in having a successful season. If everyone buys in, finds and plays within their role (whether that be a reserve rebounder or playmaker off the bench, etc), and ultimately contributes to team wins – this group will go far. If not, the path to another run in March could get a little dicey.

Development in complementary players – We already know Wade and Barry Brown are going to be the catalysts for this team, but can the complementary pieces improve to a point where they can still win games when DW or BB (or both) have an off day? If Sneed can find consistency and play like he did in the Elite 8 run (alongside Brown and Wade), this team is going to be tough to beat. If guys like Diarra, McGuirl, Mawien, and/or others can also take big leaps – look the hell out.

Protect homecourt – This is always an obvious key to competing for titles, but it’s nonetheless very crucial. Weber’s teams haven’t won more than 6 home games each of the past three years after winning 7 once and 8 twice in his first three seasons in Manhattan. For whatever reason (most likely youth/inexperience), it seems like the team just hasn’t had quite the level of focus/intensity that they’ve needed at home in this timeframe. One or two games don’t seem like a huge margin on the surface but it’s often pivotal for conference positioning and ultimately tourney seeding.

G: To finish in the top 3, I think it’s more about simply avoiding the traps and pitfalls that come with being the hunted and the expectations of being a top 3 team. I think they are the 2nd best team in the big12 and would therefore expect a 2nd place finish. So a top 3 finish even gives them some room for error.

The key to a long run in March is an improvement in shooting. Judging by the strength and conditioning done over the off-season, this is going to be a grinding defensive unit that’s going to take a lot of pride on that end. I don’t have many worries there. It’s the offense that will need to find consistency and the proper roles for multiple players. Barry can’t repeat his 31.8% season long 3 point percentage like he did last year. In fact, to continue a 3 year trend I expect his attempts per 40 minutes to keep going down, but he’s going to have to make some to keep teams honest. K-State finished 101st in effective field goal percentage and that must go up.

I do think the sheer number of players getting better should help mitigate some of the risk of an off-shooting night. However, this team will go as far as Barry and Dean can take them, so it’s on those 2 to continue to get better and lead for a long run in March.

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One reason to temper expectations?

J: They notched only one win over a top 25 team (Kentucky) and didn’t beat any .500 or better conference opponents (TCU was 9-9 before they beat them in the league tourney) – going 0-7 against the top 3 teams with an average loss of 15 points. That’s a cause for concern, and if not for the tournament run, this group isn’t getting anywhere close to this kind of hype thanks to that stat. They’ll need to be much better against those quality teams to avoid a disappointment.

G: I think the single biggest issue is players not finding their roles, or in some cases, not wanting to accept their roles.

The potential is frankly unlimited with this team. They have talented guards, options in the post, unique players like Dean, depth, and talent. They even have the missing pieces of years past in player leadership with Barry. These should eliminate most all of the chances for the types of things that have befallen Bruce Weber coached teams in the past.

But everybody needs to be rowing in the same direction. And that may cause some bumps. But even if that happens, I still expect a course correction.

What to watch for?

J: Three point shooting – Perimeter shooting is going to be paramount, especially with so many small ball and guard-oriented lineups on the floor. Barry Brown in particular needs to improve (though he quietly shot 38% from 3 in conference play).

Trice dunks – This dude plays with some amazing aggressiveness around the rim. He’s always looking to dunk on people. I think it’s very possible we see a poster (or two) on an unfortunate soul in the non-con.

Guard competition – This group is loaded, and it’ll be interesting to see the minute distribution. Brown isn’t going to find the bench very often, but Diarra, McGuirl, Neal-Williams, and Stokes are going to be in a stout battle for time at the 2 and 3. Hopefully Bruce can find a nice balance here, and maybe even incorporate a 4 guard “lineup of death” (ala the GS Warriors) with Wade at the 5.

Transition – The roster depth should allow much more focus on transition. I think a “get out and run” mentality would suit them very well, especially since the half court offense got really bogged down toward the end of last year and resulted in ugly, rushed shots at the end of the clock. They need to look to push the ball as often as possible to help limit that.

Wade’s minute load – He was obviously out down the stretch with a stress fracture last year, and that’s typically not easy to come back from for someone his size. Hopefully the depth will allow him to stay in the 30 min/game range most of the time, but we’ll see. They can’t afford to have him go down again.

G: To me, this is a breakdown for each player on offense. For defense, I think it’s a group wide effort to see just how much damage they do grinding opponents to a pulp.

Dean – Ascension to superstardom. He shot 44% on 3s last year, but just didn’t take enough of them. He appears in better shape so if he’s able to add even more polish and strength to his post game, he’s on track to be possibly the most unstoppable offensive force in the big12.

Barry – 3 point shooting.

X – 3 point shooting and carving out a larger role in the offense.

Kam – Carving out a secondary role for the offense that helps his team.

Cartier – The game was too fast for him last year, which makes sense for a player new to basketball. If the game starts to slow down for him, watch out, as his athletic ability allows for unlimited potential. He also shot 41% from 3 last year, so again, if he puts it all together this season, watch out.

Mawien – needs to find some strength to keep playing out of position at the 5. He’s more of a stretch 4 in the mold of Dean and is a logical replacement for Dean’s departure, but he needs to make something happen more consistently this year.

McGuirl – continuing to find minutes for Mike and to simply see more of him. He didn’t play that many minutes and while he seems like a logical Barry replacement for his driving and defense, it will be fun to see what else he can do

Neal-Williams – Bluntly, to see when he takes over the starting job as the lead point guard. The staff got him committed when there wasn’t even a spot open yet, which tells you just how much they loved him. I think they’ve tried to keep the potential down so not to put pressure on him, but he’s possibly the most important piece

Trice – Simply to see how many dudes he wrecks by dunking on them.

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Non-con thoughts?

J: Not too worried about the lower conference schools, with the exception of Georgia State. They were a 15 seed in the NCAA tourney last year and return all but 1 starter. They also employ a zone defense…something Bruce’s teams have been notorious for struggling mightily against. Definitely could turn into a loss if they don’t bring their A game.

They’ll likely play Northern Iowa and then potentially Missouri in the Paradise Jam tournament. These are both games they should win, but Mizz will be plenty talented again and could be very tricky despite being picked 9th in the SEC preseason poll (although they did just lose potential 1st round pick Jontay Porter for the season with a torn ACL).

@Marquette – The Golden Eagles are a strange case in that they’ve steadily improved offensively every year under coach Steve Wojciechowski (were in the top 10 nationally in 2018)…but have steadily declined every year defensively (were barely inside the top 200 in 2018). They’re arguably the best shooting team in the country, with Markus Howard (20.4 ppg, 40% from 3) leading the way as the frontrunner for Big East POY and All-American candidate. Sam Hauser (6’8”, 48% from 3 and nearly 3 makes per game) is a matchup nightmare and makes for a lethal counterpart. This has the makings of a high-flying shootout and that doesn’t favor KSU. I go back and forth here, but I think ultimately Marquette feeds off the home crowd and wins by a couple possessions.

@Tulsa – Not often you see a Big 12 school go on the road to play at an AAC venue, but here we are. This should be a revenge game for the purple, as their loss to the Golden Hurricane in Wichita was arguably their most frustrating of last season (and only occurred thanks to a historically-awful shooting night). I think it stays close for a half before the ‘cats pull away late.

Vandy – They beat the Commodores in Nashville last winter, but this year’s version looks to be scarier with a pair of 5 star freshmen (Darius Garland and Simisola Shittu) and 4 star Aaron Nesmith ready to compete. I still think this is a victory thanks to KSU’s presence in the Sprint Center (only loss there since 2010 was to national runner-up UNC in 2015), but this will be a dogfight to the very end.

@Texas A&M – Another chapter in the “storied” Big 12/SEC challenge. It comes at a very vulnerable time on the schedule (follows back-to-back home games against TT/TCU, smack dab in the middle of conference play). The Aggies did make a run to the Sweet 16 last year but also lost most of their size in Robert Williams, Tyler Davis, Tonny Trocha-Morelos, and DJ Hogg (though Admon Gilder is back). This looks like a bit of a trap game right now, but should be a win.

G: K-State has no room for error, unfortunately. I’ve liked Bruce scheduling easier games in the past because he’s been breaking in new players for key roles almost every year, but this year, I think they needed to get a bigger test. Marquette might prove to be that, and since it’s in Milwaukee, it’s a good test no matter what, but the rest of it is lean.

I think you’d like to see a max of 2 losses and frankly, even 1 might be that number. I also think winning the Paradise Jam should be the expectation and anything less should be a disappointment.

Schedule predictions?

J: Final regular season record: 23-7 (12-6)

Likely conference wins: OU x 2, OSU x 2, Baylor x 2, UT, TT, ISU

Toss-ups: WV, TCU, KU, @UT, @ISU, @TT

Likely losses: @KU, @WV, @TCU

Only non-con loss to Marquette. Based on these conference groupings, I think this team’s floor is 9-9 with a ceiling of 14-4. So 12-6 seems about right to me at this moment (assuming they go at least 3-3 in the toss-up games), give or take a game or two.

Loss in the Big 12 Finals, loss in the Sweet 16

G: I think non-con should either be 12-0 or 11-1. 11-1 is probably the most likely, with the following games, in order, at risk; Marquette in Milwaukee, Vanderbilt in Kansas City, or Missouri in the finals of the Paradise Jame.

The conference schedule is next to impossible to figure out. Despite being the 2nd best team, you still have 9 road games that would be shocking to win any more than 5-6. I think 13-5 is a record to be proud of. So, let’s go with 24-6 as the most likely case. Possibly a bit disappointing in the grand scheme, but if everything is firing on all cylinders and all the players make the leaps, you can dream about a 26-4 type season, with a conference tournament final vs Kansas.

With tournaments, I’d like the bar to be 30 wins.

Around the conference?

J: Projected finish:

KU

KSU

TCU

WV

TT

ISU

UT

OU

BAY

OSU

***If you’re not particularly interested in a long-winded breakdown on the rest of the league (which is totally fine), just skip ahead.***

KU: Have their best roster in years on paper. The Lawson brothers (combined 31.5 ppg), Cal transfer Charlie Moore (12.2 ppg), Lagerald Vick, and Udoka Azuibuike are all proven difference-makers at this level. 5 star freshmen Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson are also expected to make immediate impacts. Hard for me to see them losing more than two or three in conference play.

TCU: Jamie Dixon is perhaps the most underappreciated coach in America, and that’s going to be on full display once again this season. He loses his two best players in All-Big 12 performers Vlad Brodziansky and Kenrich Williams (who were stellar on both ends), but still brings back star Jaylen Fisher (124.1 O rating, 44% from 3) who went down for the year just a few a games into conference play last season. They’re going to spread the floor and score a ton of points again, with Alex Robinson (31.1% assist rate), Desmond Bane (46% from 3), and Kouat Noi (43% from 3) all back as well. The question surrounding the Frogs will be if they can get stops? I tend to believe so, and they’ll be extremely difficult to slow down because of it.

WVU: The ‘Eers are always tough under Bob Huggins and boast probably the best shot blocker in America in Sagaba Konate. Along with Lamont West and Esa Ahmad (and incoming 4 star center Derek Culver), WV should have one of the most intimidating frontcourts out there. But their success is still going to rely heavily on their guard play after losing senior anchors Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles. Beetle Bolden (41% from 3) was tremendous off the bench last season but he isn’t a true PG and isn’t used to a starter’s workload. They do bring in coveted 4 star PG prospect Jordan McCabe, but how effective will he be in his first playing time at this level? If he excels, this group could very well challenge for 2nd in the league.

TT: I have the Raiders slotted 5th for one reason – Chris Beard. He’s had near instant success everywhere he’s been and I can’t see that changing anytime soon. Stars Keenan Evans and Zhaire Smith are both in the NBA now but Jarrett Culver (11.2 ppg, 38% from 3) looks primed to have a breakout year on both ends of the court. He’ll have help carrying the load from South Dakota transfer Matt Mooney (18.7 ppg) and St John’s transfer Tariq Owens (2.8 blocks/game). Frosh 4 star forward Khavon Moore (who I’m personally really high on) and top JUCO transfer Deshawn Corprew should make names for themselves as the year progresses, too. This has the makings of a really fun group if they can find some cohesiveness.

ISU: They were easily the worst team in the Big 12 last season, winning just 4 games and often getting run out of the gym. But I think they take a sizable jump this year, with young phenom Lindell Wigginton (16.7 ppg, 40% from 3) and the promising Cam Lard (111.2 O rating, 25.3 PER, 60% FG) getting another year under their belt. UVA transfer Marial Shayok (8.9 ppg, 96.2 D rating in ’16-’17) led the Cavaliers in usage rate and is a terrific defender, so I expect he’ll also make a key impact. Nebraska transfer Michael Jacobson should be big on the boards and they’ll likely get some really solid production from hyped 4 star frosh Talen Horton-Tucker, too. I’m just not sure if the Clones will have the outside shooting (Wigginton is really the only quality option as it stands) or defensive capability (143rd nationally in defensive efficiency in 2018) to make more noise in the conference. I think they’re a year away from being taken very seriously.

UT: Is this finally the year Shaka Smart competes? I don’t think so, but it’s now or never if he wants to retain his job, in my opinion. They’ll be tenacious defensively again even with Mo Bamba bolting for the draft – with Kerwin Roach, Jericho Sims and Dylan Osetkowski all back for more. Transfer Eli Mitrou-Long (brother of former Cyclone sharpshooter Naz Mitrou-Long) will play a significant role after averaging over 15 ppg for Mt. St. Mary’s two years ago. They’ve also got a top 10 recruiting class, with 4 stars Courtney Ramey, Gerald Liddell, and Kamaka Hepa as the headliners. I’ve got them finishing 7th but there’s a ton of upside here.

OU: The outlook is a little rough after the loss of All-American Trae Young to the draft, although they do return 3 starters in Christian James (11.9 ppg), Brady Manek (38% from 3), and Rashard Odomes, plus Jamuni McNeace (67 FG%) who broke into the lineup late in the year. Top 150 freshman Jamal Bieniemy will likely start at PG with grad transfers Aaron Calixte and Miles Reynolds pushing him hard. Their biggest question mark will be depth (and it’s a big one). The Sooners are still better than Baylor and OSU but clearly below the seven teams in front of them.

Baylor: It’s shaping up to be a near-total rebuild year for Scott Drew and the Bears. Terry Maston (2018 Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year), Manu Lecomte (2nd Team All-Big 12), Jo Lual-Acuil (3rd Team All-Big 12), and Nuni Omot (41% from 3) are all gone. Mark Vital and King McClure are still around but neither was particularly impressive last season. Their best pieces may well be newcomers Flo Thamba (a 6-10, 245 lb freshman) and Yale transfer Makai Mason (16 ppg, 3.8 ast/g in ’15-’16). They’ll be fighting for conference wins all season.

OSU: The Pokes are an easy choice for the cellar after the exodus of most key contributors (Jeff Carroll, Kendall Smith, Mitch Solomon, and Tavarius Shine all hit the road) and no obvious impact newcomers. Cam McGriff (117 O rating) and Lindy Waters (37% from 3) will have to carry the load. Between this and potential NCAA infractions tied to the Adidas scandal, things look awfully bleak for 2nd year coach Mike Boynton.

G: Down, overall. But there is still tons of player and coaching talent everywhere. Everywhere you look, there is reason for optimism.

KU – Brings in a loaded class with the Memphis transfers. As long as Self doesn’t go down for the cheating he was a part of, then you can see unlimited potential.

WVU – Has HuggyBall, returns Konate and brings in multiple 4-star players.

ISU – Has legit NBA talent in Wigginton and Lard.

TCU – Jamie Dixon with Fisher coming back and some high level recruits.

TTU – Has Beard at coach and legit prospects.

It’s interesting to see all the players who left and still see so much talent left. It’s why it’s hard to predict so a ton of road conference wins.

O/U 3 – number of times the lavenders are worn?

J: Under. Bruce indicated at media day that more alternate uniforms were/are in the works, and that the lavenders will be a staple for years to come. It’s great news, but I still tend to lean toward them only breaking out a couple of times per season for certain occasions until proven otherwise. Sigh.

G: There is no chance for this to go under. It’s one of the greatest marketing and branding opportunities K-State has ever had (we never have any, for the record) and so if it’s not done almost every other game, it’s a waste.

In fact, it’s incredible it’s still not widely available for purchase as fans. I think once Nike catches up, there will be a blitz because everybody knows this is an opportunity.

Realistic chances at a Final 4?

J: 10%. As fun as the Elite 8 run was last March, it was also (obviously) incredibly fortunate. And that’s just how the NCAA tourney works – a lot of luck is involved and upsets occur frequently. The stars could certainly align and a string of favorable matchups could materialize, but I just don’t think this group has quite enough top end talent to make it that far without a fair amount of help. I would love to be wrong and definitely don’t see it as a near impossible feat, but I think anything beyond a second weekend appearance (Sweet 16) is gravy at this point, even when factoring in offseason expectations.

G: Without the benefit of seeing the brackets, I’d say 20%? This is the best opportunity in a long time for K-State and I’d like to think they are one of the top 16-20 teams who can blindly think they will get there this early in the season.

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Bold Predictions 

J: Veteran leadership & experience allows for a tight conference title race – In today’s CBB landscape – with so many one-and-dones and early departures, in addition to graduate transfers – it’s rare to see teams at the high major level return as much of the prior year’s (very successful) roster as KSU will. This is definitely an advantage that they’ll own over the rest of their conference peers (including KU). In order to win a conference title, you’re going to have to grind some games out along the way – and this is specifically where vets come into play. They tend to help steady a team in times of adversity and often serve as outlets for a late-game bucket or a key defensive stop. Also worth noting that Wade and Brown are the only two first or second team All-Big 12 players from 2017-18 to return this year, and that cannot be overemphasized. I still tend to think the Jayhawks are simply too talented to not run away with the conference crown, but if the ‘cats have one distinct advantage over them – it’s right here.

Dean Wade will average 4+ assists per game and win Big 12 Player of the Year – He averaged 2.7 p/g last season and I think that number will only increase as he sees more double teams and increased defensive attention. He has some of the best vision you’ll find in a player his size and he’ll use that to feed cutters in the lane or find open shooters around the arc. Some may not view the latter part of this as particularly bold considering he’s already been named preseason POY, but I think this will be a tighter race than most with him coming off injury and Dedric Lawson, Jaylen Fisher, Sagaba Konate, Jarrett Culver, and Lindell Wigginton (among others) also in the mix.

Austin Trice will play starter’s minutes in conference play and beyond – He was the top rebounder in JUCO ball a year ago and that’s something this team desperately needs. He’s limited offensively, but his prowess on the boards and intensity can more than more than make up for that. I think he’ll bring a nasty, junkyard dog mentality on the block, which in turn will make it hard to keep him off the floor. Mawien still has the edge at the 5 spot and will likely hold down the starting slot, but don’t be shocked if Trice is often on the floor next to Wade in crunch time.

G: Well…let’s go big or go home. K-State takes home some version of hardware. That means (in order of likelihood) win the Paradise Jam, Big 12 conference tournament, Big 12 regular season title, or national title. And I should clarify – I think they win more than just the Paradise tournament. I think all K-State fans are a bit shell-shocked, just in general, and don’t realize how good this team can be. The entire point of recruiting, developing, and keeping 4-year players is to have seasons like this one. If they don’t win some of that coveted hardware, this class won’t be remembered like they should. So it’s on them, and…I think it happens.

Another one? The Big 12 wins the national title.

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Chaplin
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Jake Ohlde 42 Articles
Staff Writer

Hails from a minuscule town of fewer than 100 people in north central Kansas. 3rd generation Kansas State alum with a distilling science major. Fervent Wildcats, Royals, Thunder and Stars supporter. Harbors an unabashed love for blink-182 and pineapple pizza. Here for the Family Feud conspiracy theories.

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