K-Stated

Kansas State Q&A: Can the Wildcats finish strong and make a bowl?

K-State head coach Bill Snyder waits to bring his team on the field Saturday in Lubbock as the Wildcats defeated 25th ranked Red Raiders 49-26(November 9, 2013)
K-State head coach Bill Snyder waits to bring his team on the field Saturday in Lubbock as the Wildcats defeated 25th ranked Red Raiders 49-26(November 9, 2013) The Wichita Eagle

It’s time for another K-State Q&A, and there is no shortage of topics. Basketball starts tonight with the Wildcats hosting Maryland-Eastern Shore. Tomorrow, the football team will try to end its five-game losing streak against Texas Tech.

I’m heading to Lubbock to cover the football game. My boy Tony Adame has hoops covered tonight. Give him a follow.

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

I admire your confidence if those are the only two scenarios you can envision. K-State could finish anywhere from 4-8 to 7-5, in my mind.

At the season’s outset, I predicted K-State to win its first three games, lose the middle five and then finish on a four-game winning streak. I still think that is a possibility. The Wildcats haven’t lost to any of their final four opponents – Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas and West Virginia – since 2009. Bill Snyder owns this portion of the Big 12.

But I’m currently leaning toward a 6-6 finish, with K-State falling at Texas Tech and closing with three straight victories. The Red Raiders score big at home and have a dominant passing attack. That plays into the Wildcats’ weaknesses. While I see this game as a toss-up and give K-State a decent shot at winning, I give Texas Tech a slight advantage as the home team.

Iowa State, like always, will be a close game. But the Wildcats should win that. K-State should win at Kansas. If bowl eligibility is on the line in the season finale, I pick K-State to win that, too, for a 6-6 record and a trip to a lower-tier bowl.

Bill Snyder says Alex Delton’s status remains unchanged from last week when he said the freshman quarterback was still in rehab mode. Given that he still isn’t dressing for games, I think it’s safe to presume he will redshirt and sit out the remainder of the season.

Jonathan Banks at least dressed for the Baylor game, but I don’t think we will see him play this season, either. A source with access to practice told me is only working with reserves. He should finish out his redshirt season on the sideline.

Joe Hubener’s improved play against Baylor makes them both unnecessary. Take away turnovers, and K-State can win with him at quarterback and Kody Cook backing him up. K-State would have only evaluated other options had he continued his struggles from the Oklahoma and Texas games.

This is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, and few fans are patient enough to kick back during a five-game losing streak and be satisfied with the bigger picture. Even if the team they root for was the underdog in all five of those games and injuries played a big factor in those losses.

Better days are ahead for the Wildcats. The underclassmen playing well right now – Elijah Lee, Dalton Risner and Duke Shelley, to name a few – will benefit from this season.

But they might need a strong finish to build confidence. K-State is once again an underdog against Texas Tech, but it could be favored in its final three games. A late winning streak would calm the waters, to steal a Bill Snyder term.

That is a possibility. But K-State will do what it can to hold onto his commitment, especially after losing running back Tre Bryant to Nebraska last week.

Danzel McDaniel is out for the season with an undisclosed injury. Unfortunately, we won’t see the hard-hitting corner in a K-State uniform again. He played too many games this year to qualify for a medical redshirt.

I’m going with 14.

K-State should be an obvious favorite in 10 of its games and have a puncher’s chance in about 10 more. If it takes care of business in the majority of its easy games, splits the toss-up games and pulls one or two big upsets you are left with about 14 victories. So that’s what I’m going with.

How the Wildcats perform in bigger nonconference games against Missouri, Texas A&M, Colorado State and Saint Louis will be important when decide whether to go with the over or the under. So will the strength of the Big 12. If West Virginia and Oklahoma State are down, that’s more chances for wins. If they exceed expectations, conference wins could be hard to come by.

It’s been a while since K-State produced a NBA draft pick, hasn’t it? I don’t see Wesley Iwundu ending the streak. That’s not a knock on Iwundu, a smart, versatile player with size that has plenty of room to improve in his final two college seasons, but it’s just very hard to get drafted by a NBA team. I mean, there are only two rounds. Jacob Pullen couldn’t do it. Rodney McGruder couldn’t do it. And they were fantastic college basketball players.

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett

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