Kansas State University

K-State Q&A: Dean Wade, Bruce Weber, Big 12 predictions and NCAA possibilities

Kamau Stokes, Barry Brown on K-State’s Big 12 Tournament win over TCU

Kansas State's Kamau Stokes and Barry Brown talk about their 70-61 win over TCU in the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday, March 14, 2019.
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Kansas State's Kamau Stokes and Barry Brown talk about their 70-61 win over TCU in the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday, March 14, 2019.

It’s time for another K-State Q&A.

Almost let it slip through the cracks with everything else going on this week at the Big 12 Tournament. But we have tons of great topics to cover, so let’s get right to them. Thanks, as always, for your participation.

If K-State wins the Big 12 Tournament, the Wildcats will probably be a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Perhaps, more importantly, they might also get to play close to home.

With Texas Tech going out early in Kansas City, the door is cracked open for K-State or KU to pass the Red Raiders in the eyes of the selection committee and start the NCAA Tournament in Tulsa with a potential trip back to KC for the Sweet 16.

K-State might also need to jump past Houston and LSU for that to happen, but it’s at least on the table.

A spot in the Midwest Region certainly seems up for grabs. Texas Tech seemed like a lock for a 3 seed there before the Big 12 Tournament. Now K-State or KU could take it.

But, as we saw last year, seeds and location don’t always mean much in the NCAA Tournament.

So I doubt the Wildcats will cry if they are a 4 seed playing a first-round game in San Jose.

As long as Bruce Weber continues to say there’s a chance Dean Wade will be healthy enough to play in the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats are good.

Right now, Weber says he hopes Wade will be able to play next week but he can’t promise anything.

I don’t see how the selection committee could penalize K-State for that. If he clearly had a season-ending injury, maybe the Wildcats drop a line. But this team got to the Elite Eight (mostly) without him last season and looked pretty good for 30 minutes against TCU on Thursday.

No way K-State gets dinged for Wade being questionable.

Kansas State senior guard Barry Brown said on March 13, 2019 that he expects the Wildcats to make a run at the Big 12 Tournament title, even without Dean Wade.

I want to say West Virginia.

Wouldn’t that be something? The Mountaineers could be the biggest bid-stealers of all time, winning four games in four days as the 10 seed at the Big 12 Tournament to reach the NCAA Tournament.

But I very much doubt Bob Huggins can keep the magic going against Kansas tonight.

The Jayhawks are the smart pick. The bracket has opened up for them and they will have the freshest legs on Saturday.

But I could also see Iowa State winning the trophy. When the Cyclones hit shots, they can beat anyone. And they love playing in Kansas City.

Maybe K-State will prove me wrong, but I don’t see the Cats winning three games in three days without Dean Wade.

The Wildcats will probably want to avoid teams that play good zone defense and have big front courts.

K-State’s two worst losses of the season (Tulsa, Texas A&M) both came against zone defense. And KU seemed to rattle the Cats in Lawrence by blocking shots at the rim.

But I don’t think K-State needs to be too worried about any first-round opponent. This team has enough experience to handle anything, and it has played quite a bit better against zones lately.

Kansas State Wildcats junior guard Xavier Sneed talks about his 19-point performance against the TCU Horned Frogs in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday, March 14, 2019.

Xavier Sneed is the team’s biggest X-Factor.

You really teed that one up for me!

The junior wing has played some of his best basketball in March, and that was once again true on Thursday when he had 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists against TCU.

He can be a difference-maker at the four. When K-State goes small without Wade, he has to play well for small ball to work. When he does, the Wildcats tend to win.

I appreciate the hospitality, but I think (or at least hope) we’ll have enough money for a hotel.

The only way I can see K-State reaching the Final Four is with a completely healthy Dean Wade. He’s not only going to have to play, but do so at high level. He can’t be the Decoy Dean we have seen at times.

At full strength, I truly believe this team is a Final Four contender. But if Wade is limited or out K-State will need Barry Brown, Kamau Stokes and Xavier Sneed to play out of their minds (at the same time) for four straight games.

I don’t see a lifetime contract in his future, but he will almost certainly get an extra year or two added onto his deal after winning the regular season Big 12 championship.

His current contract runs through 2023.

That’s always a possibility. It probably depends on the offers that come along.

Chris Lowery has been a candidate for some mid-major openings in the past, but he’s stayed at K-State to serve as associate head coach under Bruce Weber. He likes it here. It would probably take a great opportunity for him to leave Manhattan. He has been a head coach before and wants to be a head coach again, but as good as things are going at K-State right now he might be in line to replace Weber as the next head coach if he stays.

I think Chester Frazier has proven himself as an up-and-coming assistant. So he could have some opportunities to leave, as well. But he also played for Weber. Brad Korn has deep ties to Weber and Lowery. They aren’t going to leave for just anything.

Bruce Weber's K-State Wildcats beat TCU 70-61 in the Big 12 Tournament on March 14, 2019 at the Sprint Center.

Shaka Smart seems like the most divisive coach in the conference right now. Not only has he underperformed at Texas, but the guy he replaced is winning big at Tennessee. If not for a fully guaranteed contract, the Longhorns would probably be looking for a new coach right now.

No one else is really on the hot seat, which makes the other coaches hard to rank, but here goes:

Mike Boynton, Scott Drew, Jamie Dixon, Steve Prohm, Bruce Weber, Lon Kruger, Bob Huggins, Bill Self, Chris Beard.

It’s hard to choose.

The K-State social media team has produced some absolute gems this season.

The one yesterday of Austin Trice eating cereal out of the Big 12 championship trophy was really good. Dean Wade getting a Bruce tattoo was funny. And who could forget Xavier Sneed at the slam jam?

But I prefer Bruce Weber screaming “Barry” into a megaphone.

Having listened to him scream “Barry” at the top of his lungs for the last four years that got me laughing.

It took me longer than expected to come up with these comparisons. As much as I have eaten at McDonald’s during my lifetime, I have really only ordered a handful of items on the menu.

Here goes:

Kansas State = Bacon, Egg and Cheese McGriddle.

McDonald’s does breakfast best, and this sandwich is the champion of the breakfast menu.

Texas Tech = Big Mac.

The Red Raiders weren’t very good at basketball until Chris Beard arrived and made everything better with his special sauce.

Kansas = Chicken McNuggets.

They are so good, but it’s hard for anyone to eat more than 14.

Iowa State = M&M McFlurry.

When they mix it just right, this bad boy is one of the best desserts you can find at a fast-food joint. But sometimes the candy is too cold and tastes like rocks. It can be as unpredictable as the Cyclones.

Baylor = Quarter Pounder with cheese.

Not as flashy as other items on the menu, but it gets the job done.

Texas = Big Breakfast.

Sounds good, and it has the word “big” in the title. The talent is there to win. But without the right coach to assemble the items and add hot cakes, it can be a mess.

Oklahoma = Grilled chicken sandwich.

You think you’ve ordered something healthy and begin to celebrate. Then you realize you also had french fries and a soda and it wasn’t healthy at all. This is a bad comparison to Christian James hitting what looked like a game-tying three against West Virginia, only to realize it was a two.

TCU = Free wifi.

Not a food item. I know. But Jamie Dixon looks like a business man who stops in McDonald’s to use the free internet without ordering any food.

Oklahoma State = Apple Pie.

Yuck.

West Virginia = McRib.

You know Bob Huggins eats it.

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