Campus Corner

K-State Mailbag: Previewing Oklahoma and examining three early basketball losses

Updated: 2013-11-22T23:09:00Z

By KELLIS ROBINETT

The Kansas City Star

Before I get to your questions, I have an interesting K-State football stat to pass along.

If you add up the records of the four teams K-State has lost to (Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas and North Dakota State) you are left with a sparkling mark of 35-4. If you add up the records of the six teams K-State has defeated (Texas Tech, West Virginia, TCU, Iowa State, TCU, Louisiana-Lafayette and Massachusetts) you get a not-so-sparkling record of 25-38.

That places a little extra meaning on K-State’s upcoming game against Oklahoma. Wile there is absolutely no shame to losing to four teams with four combined losses, the Wildcats have only beaten two teams with winning records. The Sooners, at 8-2, could be the third.

I am expecting a close game with home field potentially playing a key role. My prediction is K-State 28, Oklahoma 27.

Anyway, onto your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

FootballFridayQuestion5
Though Oklahoma will be without three players on offense (QB Blake Bell, RB Damien Williams and WR Lacoltan Bester) and K-State will be down one player on defense (Zimmerman) I think the Wildcats face the more difficult transition. Zimmerman is the leader of K-State’s defense and the eyes and ears of its secondary, always helping his teammates line up in the correct spot and formation. He has been playing at a very high level recently and K-State struggled in its first game without him last year. Oklahoma, meanwhile, would have probably played Trevor Knight at quarterback anyway. He was great against Iowa State. And Brennan Clay is the team’s leading rusher. Not Williams. I’m sure the Sooners have other receivers who can fill in for Bester. That being said, Oklahoma rarely tries to beat defenses deep. The losses might be about even.

FootballFridayQuestion4
The cold will probably prevent the crowd from being a true sellout, but fans will still be there bright and early to tailgate and then to fill seats. This is an important game for both teams, and the Wildcats are on a four-game winning streak. The cold may chase away fair-weather fans, but the die-hard fans will be there.

Also, K-State is making the stadium as safe as possible today.


We haven’t seen Jake Waters and Daniel Sams on the field together since the Oklahoma State game, when Waters handed the ball off to Sams as a running back. But players keep saying they have only utilized part of the playbook. The Wildcats have trick plays stashed away, ready to use for a big game. This is a big game. If Sams is going to lineup in a new position, this is when it will happen.


K-State’s 90-63 loss to Georgetown brought back memories of some brutal losses to unranked teams in 2008-09, when it fell to Nebraska, Baylor and San Diego State by double-digits. It also went down hard to California, New Mexico and Xavier in 2006-07. But the Wildcats had unmistakable talent then, making the NIT and winning 20-plus games. This team, which is off to a 2-3 start, looks more like the Jim Wooldridge team of 2002-03. That group started 2-4 and went 13-17. Thomas Gipson had a telling quote today, saying “Right now, we’re not a true team.” The Wildcats lack size, offense and leadership. They may struggle to go .500 this season.


K-State is not a good basketball team right now. TCU is the only team in the Big 12 with a worse resume. And it only gets harder from here. If the Wildcats can’t beat Northern Colorado and Charlotte, can they beat Mississippi, Troy, Gonzaga, Tulane or George Washington? Can they compete in the Big 12? The good news for K-State fans is that basketball teams sometimes make dramatic turnarounds. The long season gives young players plenty of time to improve. Thomas Gipson is just getting back into the swing of things, and he scored 18 points today. That’s a good sign. If Shane Southwell and Will Spradling can start supplementing Marcus Foster as scorers, K-State will start winning games. Of course, they are seniors and should be doing that already. Maybe they can’t take that next step. There is plenty of blame to go around. You can assign as much or as little as you want to Weber.


Most of the time when I get this question it ends with Bill Snyder. K-State fans have questioned Weber since the day he was hired. They will likely question him until he leaves. Weber signed a new five-year deal during the offseason, so he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. K-State is also setup for a big upgrade in talent next year with Justin Edwards (the team’s best player) and Brandon Bolden (a skilled big man) coming off transfer years and Stephen Hurt (a top juco power forward) all joining the active roster. Of course, that won’t help him win over any doubters this season.

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