K-Stated

Kansas State Q&A: Transfer watch, postseason basketball odds and a victory over Russia

K-State head coach Bruce Weber listens to K-State guard Marcus Foster. (January 18, 2014)
K-State head coach Bruce Weber listens to K-State guard Marcus Foster. (January 18, 2014) The Wichita Eagle

It’s time for another K-State Q&A.

Let’s jump straight into your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

This is certainly the question of the week.

See ...

What I mean.

Based on the dysfunctional nature of K-State’s basketball season and some of Bruce Weber’s comments throughout the year, it has long been fairly obvious that there will be some transfers during the offseason. And the recent commitment of point guard Kamau Stokes more or less guarantees there will be transfers. K-State has to make room on its roster to sign Stokes. Because we know at least one player will transfer, the obvious question is who?

But here’s the thing about predicting transfers: It’s impossible. At least while the season is still going.

Let me give you some examples of the unpredictable nature of transfers. In an old job, I once covered a college basketball player who was so set on transferring that he worked out a behind-the-scenes arrangement with a Division II school and informed his teammates and coaches of his plans in February. He would stay with the team through the season, he said, but then he was gone no matter what. He was upset about playing time and he was butting heads with the coach. He was gone. But then his play began to improve, his minutes increased and the team ended the year on a hot streak. He called off the transfer and stayed. Will Spradling and Nino Williams had similar changes of heart. Both were dead set on transferring as sophomores. They wanted out and started making plans to leave. But they didn’t transfer once they met Weber.

It works the other way, too. Did anyone see Dominique Sutton transferring before his senior year when K-State was coming off a trip to the Elite Eight and Sutton figured to be a primary player on a team picked to win the Big 12? No way. But he transferred.

Point is, just because a player thinks or says he is transferring now doesn’t mean that is what he will ultimately do. A few weeks ago, I would have targeted Nigel Johnson as one of the most likely transfers on K-State’s roster. Now he is playing his best basketball and I don’t think he will leave.

But I might as well throw out a few possibilities, since so many of you asked. The most likely transfer appears to be a guard. So Tre Harris, Jevon Thomas, Marcus Foster and Nigel Johnson all have to be considered. For what it’s worth, Harris and Foster are currently making the smallest impacts. You could make a case for and against each of them transferring. Perhaps Malek Harris will transfer. Wesley Iwundu seems committed to the future, but he hasn’t had the best of seasons. Can he be considered a lock to stay? What about D.J. Johnson? Stephen Hurt, Justin Edwards and Brandon Bolden all transfered to K-State from other programs. Players seldom transfer twice. So it’s a safe bet they will stay. For now, though, we just don’t know.

These are all decisions that are unlikely to be made until Weber meets with players individually at the conclusion of the season. Until then, it’s a guessing game.

Want some positives? Here you go: K-State ranks third nationally with five wins against RPI top 25 teams. It might get a bye in the Big 12 Tournament. It beat Kansas. Nigel Johnson looks like he has promise. Justin Edwards seems like he is starting to figure things out. The team only loses two seniors. Give the Wildcats two mulligans (say against Texas Southern and Long Beach State) and they are probably in the NCAA Tournament. This season hasn’t been a disaster. With a few changes, things could work out much better next year.

Here is the most likely scenario. If K-State beats Texas, it will be the No. 6 seed in the Big 12 Tournament. If it loses to Texas, it will be the No. 8 seed in the Big 12 Tournament. The only thing that could change scenarios is if there is a four-way tie for second and Oklahoma State wins the tiebreaker because of wins over West Virginia or Baylor. Right now, K-State holds the tiebreaker with wins over Iowa State and Oklahoma.

Can I go with none of the above? I predict K-State will lose to Texas, beat TCU in the Big 12 Tournament and then lose to Kansas in the quarterfinals. That would give the Wildcats a final record of 16-17. Both the NCAA Tournament and NIT would pass. And K-State would pass on the CBI. No postseason.

It all comes down to the Texas game. Win that one, and K-State secures a finishing record of at least .500 and is probably headed to the NIT. Win three more, and then the NCAA Tournament becomes a possibility, but I don’t see that happening given K-State’s record away from Bramlage Coliseum.

Right now, my sources say K-State is not interested in anything lower than the NIT. I suppose things could change if they finish with a winning record and somehow miss out on the NIT, but I doubt it. There just isn’t enough upside to spend the money necessary to play in the CBI or CIT.

I can’t say that any team has ever won that many games against top 25 competition and miss out on the NCAA Tournament. There isn’t much easily accessible information (at least that I could find) on the subject. Missouri State went to the NIT with a top 25 RPI in 2006, but it lacked great wins. Texas Tech missed out with a top 30 RPI in 1997, and it had some good victories. Maybe the Red Raiders? I seem to remember Utah State being ranked about 10 years ago and playing in the NIT. But they weren’t in a power league. If K-State misses the NCAA Tournament, it may become the answer to this question.

Bruce Weber has made it his mission in life to criticize the timing of this bye week, but players said Thursday they think the schedule break is a good thing. They got time to rest between games and extra time to study Texas. As bad as K-State has been on the road this season (1-9) it could use some extra time off before an important game at Texas. Maybe the extra rest helps the Wildcats in the Big 12 Tournament, too.

The basketball choice is easy for me. I would go back to 1978 and watch Kansas State play the Russian national team in an exhibition game at Ahearn Field House. That might not be what you expected me to write (maybe the NCAA Tournament win over No. 1 Oregon State in 1981or the national championship game in 1951) but I am always amazed by the stories people tell about that game. For starters, K-State scheduled it between conference games against Oklahoma State and Kansas. No way that happens today. And everyone says the environment was off the charts. I once asked the esteemed Kevin Haskin about the loudest crowd he had ever encountered at a sporting event, and he said it was Ahearn on that day ... Hands down. K-State won a close game in the final seconds. That really would have been something to see.

For football, I would probably choose to go back and watch a home game before Bill Snyder arrived so I could contrast how different things are now.

He will look bigger and strong, no doubt. K-State’s offense will look much different with Bazooka Joe under center than Jake Waters. He may run the ball more often than Collin Klein did.

Yeah, it was around before I graduated in 2005. Surprisingly, it is still a thing today! I was more into The Facebook during my college years. That’s right. Back then it had a The.

Reach Kellis Robinett at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @kellisrobinett.

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