Kansas State Wildcats
Big 12 (21-11, 9-7)
NIT Seed: #4
Big Wins: 1/28 Missouri (88-72), 1/31 at Texas (85-81), 2/7 at Texas A&M (65-60)
Bad Losses: 11/29 vs Iowa (63-65), 12/7 at Oregon (70-75), 1/17 at Nebraska (51-73)
Coach: Frank Martin
Jacob Pullen, Sophomore, Guard, 13.7 ppg, 3.2 apg, 1.7 spg
Denis Clemente, Junior, Guard, 15.4 ppg, 3.3 apg
Dominique Sutton, Sophomore, Forward, 7.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg
Darren Kent, Senior, Forward, 8.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg
Luis Colon, Junior, Center, 4.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Ron Anderson, Sophomore, Forward, 5.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg
Fred Brown, Sophomore, Guard, 8.3 ppg, 1.4 apg
Jamar Samuels, Freshman, Forward, 8.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
Kansas State does not have one or two great rebounders, but they are still one of the best rebounding teams in the nation. Starting forward Darren Kent leads the team with 5.7 boards per contest, but he gets a lot of help in that department. Kent is also the most dynamic scoring threat in the frontcourt as he will score around the basket and step outside and hit the mid-range jumper. Center Luis Colon and small forward Dominique Sutton will usually get the starting nod and both of those players average around five rebounds per contest.
What makes Kansas State’s rebounding so impressive is the depth in the frontcourt. Jamar Samuels and Ron Anderson play nearly as much as the starters and there is virtually no drop off in production when they are on the floor. In fact, Samuels, who is just a freshman, is emerging as a dynamic scorer around the basket and could be in for a coming out party in March.
Why They Can Disappoint:
The Wildcats will commit quite a few fouls, but that is not too big of an issue due to the amount of depth. Coach Frank Martin has the luxury to take out any player who gets into foul trouble and still have weapons available. The other issues for this team are shooting, turnovers and youth. The free-throw shooting is atrocious and the youth leads to some bad turnovers. Point guard Jacob Pullen is a good scorer who can shoot the long ball, but he will turn the ball over too much. That is something that needs to be fixed during the tournament or Kansas State will have trouble scoring.
Who To Watch:
But Denis Clemente rarely has trouble scoring. His scoring output, especially early in the season, was pretty inconsistent, but few players in the nation are playing as well as he is right now. On January, 31st he put up 44 points in an upset win over Texas. Ever since then the 6-1 junior has been on the national radar and has not disappointed. Clemente does most of his damage by getting to the basket, but he is a capable long range shooter as well. KSU can win even if Clemente does not score 20 or more points. Youngsters like super sub Fred Brown have developed into scoring threats and Coach Martin has six players who have scored 20 or more points in a game this season.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.2 (46th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.3 (132, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (162, 11)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.5 (79, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.7 (121, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.1 (91, 10)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.1 (270, 12)
Rebound Margin: 6.9 (14, 2)
Assists Per Game: 14.3 (86, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.0 (175, 9)
Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to Illinois State