A KenPom Preview: Kansas State (Again)

Here we go, the second go-around of a Kansas State preview. I won't go over the same sort of stuff, because we went over just about all of it here, the first K-State KenPom preview.

Opening Thoughts

Is it just me, or are you all rivalled-out, too? It's like we exuded all of our effort trying to take on our cousin, only to have our little brother come on and attack us while we're down. Except, unlike not all-that-long ago, little brother can fight, too. Sure, these Powercats aren't as good or dangerous as last year's team, with Michael Beasley and Billy Walker, but they are still scary. They've won six in a row, and are incredibly hard to slow down. Once they get running, they are dangerous enough to beat a lot of teams. A lot of teams. So, yeah, this isn't going to be too much fun, methinks. We're still recovering from that epic showdown with cousin, and now our dangerous little brother gets to take us on. Ugh. Plus, this is a huge game for lil' bro: with a win, K-State probably jumps to the right side of the bubble, considering they'd had won seven in a row including W's over Missouri, Texas and Kansas.

So, yeah, boo. Get past this game, though, and we should be 11-1 going into Norman. Yeah, that's the game that I wanna get up for. Not this one. It's a game we probably all should be getting up for, but we just can't. Or, at least, I can't. I'm too tired, too exhausted, too wiped out from MIssouri. I just hope our team isn't feeling the same way, or the Powercats'll wipe the floor.

Yeah, that would suck.

The rest of the abbreviated preview after the jump...

The Background

Entering our first matchup, K-State had NIT written all over it. Their non-con was incredibly barren, and it was agreed upon that it would take an awesome conference season to sneak into the NCAAs. And, after their expected L's to Boomer Sooner and in Lawrence, things didn't get any better. They got destroyed up in Lincoln (by 22), then came home and lost by 18 to a not-that-great Baylor squad. Yuck. At 0-4, their hopes of a good conference season were quickly sliding away. But then, in a game they had to have in the worst of ways, they were able to survive a last-second shot that would have tied the game in overtime against Colorado. They followed that up with a tremendous shooting performance and 17-point win against the Tiggers in Manhattan, then tripped down to Austin and upset the Longhorns in OT. Came home to narrowly escape the Cyclones, travelled down to College Station to take down the Aggies and, just on Wednesday, rushed out to an early lead against the Red Raiders and survived the comeback. Bam. An 0-4 start quickly turned into 6-4 in conference play, and an opportunity on Saturday to get on the right side of the bubble. Even if they lose tomorrow, they still figure to be in good shape. Every remaining game on the schedule, save a trip to Columbia, is entirely winnable. And if they lose tomorrow and lose to Missouri, they can still end up going 10-6 in conference play. That should be plenty good enough.

The Offense

Four Factors

  • Effective FG% (143rd) -- This is significantly worse than what they were coming into Allen Field House (106th), and is obviously a more accurate representation. They take plenty of stupid shots (particularly Denis Clemente), but when they're falling they are awesome offensively. Like, when their eFG% was 62.1% against Missouri, compared to their overall mark of 49.8%. What? So, let's all just hope they don't go ballistic again, and we shouldn't be too worried. They did only shoot 43% against us last time, though, so that's good.
  • Turnover % (120th) -- Nothing terribly special, nothing terrible, just well below average. We can turn them over a bunch; if so, we should win. If not, and they hold on to the ball, they have a chance.
  • Offensive Rebounding % (3rd) -- This is their strength of the entire team. They eat you up on the offensive glass. We actually did a pretty good job, overall, when we played 'em; only gave them 38% of their opportunities, compared to their 42% season average. They might be better at home, but I'm also positive that the Law Firm (Morris, Morris & Little) are much better than they were then. So, that should be something interesting to watch; to see the difference. With all of the shots they miss, as long as you don't let them get a billion second-chance points you should be OK.
  • FTA/FGA (54th) -- They shoot more free throws than most teams, particularly Jamar Sameuls, who draws the 11th most fouls per 40 minutes (7.2). Darren Kent and Ron Anderson both get fouled quite a bit, but not nearly as many as JamSam, or whatever the hell they call him.

Miscellaneous

  • As a team, despite getting there a bunch, they are godawful from the free throw line: 65%. Yuck. So, don't be too scared at them going to the FT line.

The Defense

Four Factors

  • Effective FG% (80th) -- Not exceptional, but they won't give you a boatload of open, good looks. We could really use some open threes actually falling, so please make 'em, Brady and Tyrel. We really, really could use some.
  • Turnover % (22nd) -- The real strength of their defense, they turn you over a bunch. Really, that's their entire defensive philosophy. They didn't turn us over much at all in Allen, and that played a large role in how we won. Whatever the case, just don't have another disastrous 27 turnover game like in Columbia. Say what you will, but that was the main reason we lost. That is just embarrassing. Don't let it happen again.
  • Offensive Rebounding % (106th) -- Again, this is where the Law Firm's improvement comes in to play. If they can be huge offensive contributors because of their second-chance points (particularly McMorris and Kieffer), we should be in great shape. If not, the pressure's on Cole and Sherron and open threes.
  • FTA/FGA (333rd) -- With how many turnovers they go for, this isn't all that surprising. However, this is just ridiculous. They foul you a shitload. In fact, on average, take your field goals attempted and divide by two, and that's how many freebies you shoot. Honestly. That is just ludicrous. So, make your throws, and we should be fine. It could be just as simple as that.

The Players

I didn't do it particularly well the first time, but I don't want to completely rehash the player-by-player previews. So, here are just some quick notes:

  • Guards -- The leaders of this team, the best players, all of that, are Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente. Together, the shoot more than 55% of the team's shots. That is ludicrous. Clemente is the better three-point shooter (39% to Pullen's 30%), but both still prefer to drive the ball into the lane. That's their game. But Tyshawn on Pullen, Sherron on Clemente and tell 'em both to keep them out of the lane and you should be OK. Pullen is the much better defender, so there's that. Oh, and then there is Fred Brown. Freddie Brown is the real three-point shooter on the team (45% on over 100 shots), so watch out for him.
  • Forwards -- The forwards are kind of under-the-radar types. Darren Kent, a.k.a the travelling machine, is pretty solid on the boards. He isn't terribly efficient on offense, though, so whatever. Ron Anderson, on the other hand, is a much better rebounder on both sides of the ball. Close to awesome, really. Moving out to the wing, you have the best athlete on the team, Dominique Sutton. Dominique is yet another slasher, and is highest on the teams in steal %. He can explode, but is also really inconsistent (a lot like Denis Clemente, really), so hopefully he doesn't get too crazy. The other key minute-earner at the forward slot is Jamar Samuels. I like JamSam as a player, another athletic specimen who is still developing as a player. Like we mentioned earlier, he gets fouled all of the time, so hopefully the Law Firm can keep their hands off, for the most part. JamSam is another excellent offensive rebounder, and rarely turns the ball over. Finally, in the regular minutes category, we've got Luis Colon. Mostly, he's just another damn good rebounder, and is largely irrelevant on offense. Still, we have to pay attention, because he can pile up the boards.

The Keys

  1. Make Your Throws -- With how often they foul you, a lot of it simply comes down to how many freebies you can hit. We've had a roller-coaster ride at the free throw line as a team, having some excellent games and having some where we couldn't get anything to go. The Morris twins, at least, are starting to become money from there, to along with the awesome freebie talents of Tyrel Reed, Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich. Tyshawn is getting better, too. So, I'm not terribly worried about this, but it is definitely a key.
  2. Hit Your Open Threes -- They give you a bunch of open threes, ranking 204th in the country in opposing 3-point%. So, when we are presented with the inevitable open threes, the ones we consistently missed against Okie State and Missouri, we've gotta hit them. We hit those, we are in tremendous shape. If not, their D can capitalize on our unbalanced offensive performance (everything in the lane), and force a bunch of turnovers, and we could be upset. Let's just make them, OK?
  3. Box the Hell Out -- Law Firm, I'm looking at you. Come on. Box out. This K-State team makes their living off of second-chance points. They get into the NCAA Tournament, it'll be because of their offensive glass prowess. So, I'm not expecting zero second-chance points from the Powercats. But, just don't get consistently destroyed by them. Box out, go up and grab the ball when it's up there, don't give away easy ones. We rebound with them, and their offense should struggle, big-time.

That's all. Prediction-and-more coming in the OGT tomorrow...

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