It is a testament to the quality of the Big 12 that Kansas State is ranked 44th in KenPom, but is in 8th place in the league standings and ranks 9th in offense in the league. The Wildcats have just one win against a team other than the 7-10th place teams in the league, and of course it was against Oklahoma.
Kansas State this season is like the Frank Martin teams of the past in a way. The Wildcats rank 3rd in offensive rebounding and free throw rate, but rank 9th in effective field goal percentage, 10th in turnover percentage, and 8th in free throw percentage. Fortunately for them, Kansas can't force turnovers, so Kansas State will get to attempt a few more shots than they're used to. Fortunately for Kansas, K State can't shoot. Of course there's always the possibility they shoot 45 percent from three, but for a team that doesn't attempt many threes (7th in the league) or make many of them (30.4 percent) it would certainly be out of character.
K State is a good defensive team, but they have gotten the benefit of some good luck in Big 12 play. They allow 1.02 points per possession, which is 4th in the league, but they rank 8th in 2-point percentage allowed (51.5 percent). K State also is 9th in allowing 3-point attempts, but leads the league in 3-point percentage allowed. If they allow that many attempts tomorrow, it won't go well for them.
Players to Watch
DJ Johnson has had a nice conference season this year, and currently ranks 5th in both offensive rebounding and block percentage. He draws a lot of fouls (8th in the league) and shoots 60 percent from two. I expect newfound defensive stopper Landen Lucas will get the tough assignment.
Wesley Iwundu has been the team's best passer at 6-7 during the conference season, but it is worth noting he has a higher turnover percentage than assist rate. He probably won't turn it over much (again, because Kansas can't force turnovers to save its life) so he might be in for a good game tomorrow night.
Justin Edwards is 13th in the league in offensive rebounding, 4th in the league in steals, and draws a lot of fouls. He can't shoot very well (44 percent from two, 33 percent from three) but he is a tough matchup for KU's smaller guards.
The only thing keeping Kansas from winning this one is a game in which they don't come out with an inspired opening few minutes, and K State rides that momentum to an upset win. Fortunately, Bruce Weber and his team spent all of yesterday talking about Brannen Greene's dunk and storming the court. Thanks guys. Kansas wins 74-67.