Well, this is a bit awkward. When I approached our good friends at Bring on the Cats about joining us in this feisty foray we both assumed that this feature would be ahead of a real casual semifinal battle in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off and not in some shitshow consolation match after horribly embarrassing losses. But yet, we soldier on, and here we are to bring you everything you need to know about the Kansas State Wildcats.
Tell us something about Kansas State University that we might find interesting.
Let's go famous alumni on this one: Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family), Erin Brockovich (yep, her), and Kirstie Alley (Cheers, among other stuff) all earned degrees from KSU. Now, Bill Murray is known to hang out around Manhattan. Random, and awesome.
Freshman Marcus Foster seems to be the real deal. Is he the best player the Wildcats have had since Michael Beasley?
It's too early to tell, and he has some work to do. Jacob Pullen was in Beasley's class and left K-State as the school's all-time scoring leader. Rodney McGruder took some time to develop, but he was also really good. Foster has the chance to put up better numbers than McGruder, but he has to stay all four years and continue to improve. The potential certainly is there.
Other than Foster, who are some of the other guys the Hoyas need to be aware of?
He just came back after missing games with a concussion, but Thomas Gipson is a different type of low-post than you normally see, just because of his width. He lost about 20 lbs this summer to get faster, but he's still a horse underneath. Also, if Shane Southwell heats up, he's dangerous from the arc. He's streaky, though. Freshman Wesley Iwundu is 6-7, and has shown a solid ability to lead the break even though he's a small forward.
Speaking of Beasley, what's your take on his NBA career? Pretty much a huge disappointment, right? But didn't you see this coming?
Hugely disappointing, in that shake-your-head way. You feel bad for the guy because you could see it coming. I think he had too many voices in his ear, family included. They all wanted a piece of him, and it was sad to watch in his year at school. I don't know if he actually ever got to really enjoy his time.
Do you miss the Frank Martin Death Stare?
Nah, not really. It's a neat diversion from things for about two or three years, but then the novelty wears off.
Other than being tremendously less entertaining, how has the transition been from the Frank Martin era to the Bruce Weber era?
For Martin-supporters, it's still choppy, even though Weber just did something that Martin never could, and that was bring a conference championship to Manhattan. For those folks who are able to understand that Martin really isn't coming back, they realize more coaching has gone on in the past year than the previous five.
None of that matters, of course, if things trend down from this point forward.
Do you think the Frank Martin - Dalonte Hill combo on the bench was a match made in heaven or a recipe for inevitable NCAA violation disaster?
In terms of two young coaches learning their way and having an environment to learn and grow in, it was fine for them. Regarding X's and O's, that pair doesn't even make a radar.
In terms of potential disaster, I'll just say this: Kansas State's ability to elevate its program as quickly as it did, and do so unscathed, is nothing short of a miracle. Lots of programs haven't been able to do the same. Bob Huggins, who handed a loaded roster to Martin, is among the very best. What can you say?
Where do you see the Wildcats finishing in the Big-12 this season?
Behind Kansas, Oklahoma State and Baylor, I think the middle of the Big 12 -- from about four through eight -- is going to be a clogged mess. Oklahoma looks like it is about a year away from really being good. Iowa State has impressed early, especially if you saw the performance against Michigan.
In other words, I think K-State will have to fight its way into the top half of the Big 12. It can do that, I think, but it's going to need a little help along the way.
What would the Wildcats have to accomplish this season for you to deem it a success? Good showing in the Big-12 Tourney? NIT? NCAAs?
Well, considering KSU has two legitimate bigs and young guards who will see a lot of time, I think a low-end expectation is the NIT, and a still-reasonable expectation would be an NCAA invite. Anything better than that (high seed) would be gravy.
Former Georgetown forward Brandon Bolden transferred to Kansas State. Do you think his being a spy for you guys will help the Wildcats cause against the Hoyas?
Depends how much he knows. :) ... It also depends on how much the system remains the same from his time there. If little things have changed, or signals/calls are different, it won't really matter other than he might know little tendencies on specific guys.
If I have the pleasure of being in Manhattan, Kansas on a Saturday night and I'm looking to have a nice dinner and looking party, where am I going and what am I doing?
If you're a young someone, skip dinner. Head straight to Aggieville. At the end of the night, order a pizza or go get breakfast, or both. If you're still functioning by then.
Final score prediction?
Well, KSU has struggled early at boxing out, so even if Georgetown struggles from 3 like it did to start the year, the Hoyas could still have plenty of chances at second-chance buckets. I think the Wildcats will want to push pace a little, and if they do that effectively, along with rebound better than they have, I'll say a KSU win looks something like 76-71. If all of that flps, I say a Georgetown win looks something like 78-66.