Pete Hughes thinks K-State baseball team can reach NCAA Tournament
It’s time for another K-State Q&A.
There are lots of great questions to cover this week, so let’s get right to them. Thank you, as always, for providing them.
It’s wild to think about how much Bryce Brown’s perception has changed over the years with K-State football fans.
When he abruptly quit the team after two games in 2011, ending his K-State career with 16 rushing yards on three carries and three receiving yards on one catch, he was thought to be among the biggest busts in program history. His most memorable moment in a Wildcats uniform was an epic missed block against Miami in which he more or less urged a blitzing defender to sack Collin Klein.
After witnessing that play, the K-State coaching staff subbed the former five-star recruit out of the game and inserted tiny walk-on Robert Rose for the next play. I oddly remember that moment like it was yesterday.
But all was more or less forgiven when John Hubert turned out to be really good and Brown ended up getting drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round of the 2012 draft.
K-State has produced at least one NFL Draft pick every year going back to 1994. It’s the longest active streak in the Big 12 and it’s something the Wildcats are very proud of, and it would have died seven years ago if not Brown playing two games in a K-State uniform.
So make sure to celebrate Brown in some fashion this weekend. But don’t forget about other obscure draft picks like Joshua Moore (left early and was picked in the fifth round in 2010), Tavon Rooks (the Saints surprisingly picked him in 2014) and D.J. Reed (another late-round early entrant last year). The draft streak wouldn’t still be going without them, either.
I have been asked this question a few different times since the basketball season ended, and my opinion has changed a few different times on what K-State’s starting five will look like next year.
So you’re in luck. I’m happy to reveal my new prediction:
Cartier Diarra, DaJuan Gordon, Mike McGuirl, Xavier Sneed, Makol Mawien.
The biggest competition will be at guard. Shaun Neal-Williams is good enough to start instead of Gordon or McGuirl and might end up doing so. But I’m high on Gordon and McGuirl has more experience, so they get the edge at the moment.
I previously thought K-State would insert Montavious Murphy or Antonio Gordon straight into the starting five and go with a big lineup, but the more I think about it they will probably start out small unless those incoming freshmen really hit the ground running.
As the season goes on, you may see more of Sneed at the three and Murphy/Gordon at the four. But this is the group I bet K-State uses at the start of the season.
You should read it.
But I am happy to discuss the Bat Cats more here. They have turned into a pretty good story. I like their chances of avoiding the Big 12 cellar and making the conference tournament. That will happen as long as they don’t nosedive. They are currently in seventh with a 5-7 conference record, ahead of Texas (5-9) and Kansas (5-10).
The bigger question is if they can win enough games to reach the NCAA Tournament. They will need to get their overall record (20-22) above .500. But if they do, I think they will have a decent shot.
Griffin Hassall and Jordan Wicks are the main guys to keep an eye on moving forward. They are both freshmen pitchers, and they are both having great seasons. K-State has a chance to win every time they take the mound.
Bruce Weber’s basketball team seems like an easy answer here.
With Xavier Sneed, Cartier Diarra, Makol Mawien all expected back and a promising group of recruits coming in, they have the look of a NCAA Tournament team that finishes in the top half of the Big 12 standings.
Weber’s group definitely has the highest floor.
Not quite sure what to expect from the Bat Cats. They are currently playing better than I thought they possibly could right now.
But I want to see how much longer they can sustain their hot streak before I make any grand predictions about next year. With two impressive freshmen pitchers leading the way, you would think they could be pretty good and challenge for the NCAA Tournament. We’ll see.
The football team is also hard to judge right now. I mostly liked what I saw at spring practice, but the lack of depth at running back is a problem. The Wildcats also lost their best linebacker to an ACL injury and their best receiver is currently suspended following a domestic battery arrest. Right now, winning six games and reaching a bowl game would seem like a nice accomplishment.
Why couldn’t I buy actual beer at the grocery store until earlier this month? Why is wine still off limits? Why are there so many pot holes in our roads?
There are many things I can’t figure out when it comes to our state government.
This should be fun.
Texas = Iron Man. The Longhorns are as rich as Tony Stark and arguably the leaders of the conference.
Oklahoma = Captain America. The Sooners are similar to the first avenger. They were one of the best teams in the old Big Eight and their football team is currently carrying the flag for the league. They defend the Big 12 like they have an indestructible shield.
Kansas = Hulk. The Jayhawks are Bruce Banner during football season and a juggernaut during basketball season. They also associate with the color green after extending their apparel deal with Adidas.
Texas Tech = Ant Man. The Red Raiders have changed their size on the basketball court drastically under Chris Beard, who makes some entertaining light-hearted comments like Paul Rudd.
Oklahoma State = Thor. If anyone in the conference can pull off long hair or an eye patch it’s Mike Gundy.
Kansas State = Hawkeye. You can’t argue with the results. He’s a main character in all of the movies and seems formidable against even the mightiest of villains, but at the end of the day he does a lot more with less than the other super heroes. I mean, all he’s got is a bow-and-arrow.
TCU = Spider-Man. They have both made big impacts for their respective groups despite being new to the scene.
West Virginia = Doctor Strange. An odd fit compared to the rest of the group.
Baylor = Black Widow. Seems like the national champions of women’s basketball should be compared to the female lead of all the movies.
Iowa State = Star-Lord. Cyclones fans seem to like listening to really old music and looking for any reason to leave Ames and cruise around the galaxy, even if it means teaming up with a talking raccoon and a walking tree.
I’m willing to predict many things in this space, but the college choice of a high school senior with plentiful options is not one of them.
Caleb Grill took his official visit to K-State earlier this week and his recruitment remains open. He is scheduled to visit Iowa State this weekend and UNLV next month. He might also check out Creighton. If the Wildcats want to sign Grill, they will need to beat out some solid competition for him. Seems like there is still a long way to go there.