Kansas State center Jordan Henriquez (21) blocks a shot by Texas Tech guard Ty Nurse (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas State (7-1, 0-0 Big 12) vs. 14/14 Gonzaga (9-1, 0-0 WCC)
State Farm Battle in Seattle
Saturday, December 15, 2012 * 8:05 p.m. CT *
Seattle, Wash. * KeyArena (17,459)
Dave Flemming (play-by-play); Fran Fraschilla (analyst)
Available on Time Warner, Comcast, Verizon and Brighthouse
Radio: K-State Sports Network
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play); Stan Weber (analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 85/XM 85
Live Stats: http://www.kstatesports.com/multimedia/ksu-gt-live-stats.html
Live Audio: http://www.k-statesports.com/allaccess (free)
Twitter Updates: twitter.com/kstate_gameday
K-State vs. Gonzaga: K-State leads 2-0 (W, 81-64, 11/22/10)
K-State vs. West Coast: 11-5 (6-1 neutral)
Weber vs. Gonzaga: 3-1 (0-0 neutral)
Kansas State (7-1, 0-0 Big 12)
Head coach: Bruce Weber (Wisconsin-Milwaukee ‘78)
School Record: 7-1 (1st season) * Career Record: 320-156 (15th season) * vs. Gonzaga: 3-1
14/14 Gonzaga (9-1, 0-0 West Coast)
Head coach: Mark Few (Oregon ‘87)
School Record: 351-91 (14th season) * Career Record: 351-91 (14th season) * vs. K-State: 0-1
Kansas State (7-1) will face yet another stiff non-conference challenge on Saturday, as the Wildcats trek west to play perennial power and No. 14/14 Gonzaga (9-1) in the 10th annual State Farm Battle in Seattle at the 17,072-seat KeyArena. The game will tip off at 8:05 p.m. CT on ESPN2 with Dave Flemming (play-by-play) and Fran Fraschilla (analyst) on the call. It will be the first of a two-year scheduling agreement between the schools with Gonzaga returning the contest in 2013. Although this will be the Wildcats’ first appearance in the Battle in Seattle, first-year head coach Bruce Weber is familiar with the event, as his Fighting Illini squad knocked off the Bulldogs, 73-61 on Dec. 4, 2010. Illinois played Gonzaga four times in Weber’s nine seasons with three neutral site games in 2004 (Indianapolis) and 2010 (Chicago and Seattle). Weber is 3-1 vs. the Bulldogs, including 2-1 at neutral sites. Gonzaga has played in all nine Battle in Seattle games, posting a 5-4 record, including a 71-60 win over Arizona last year.
Neutral Site Norm
K-State has made a habit of playing in high-profile neutral sites games of late, as Saturday’s Battle in Seattle event will mark the 24th regular-season neutral site game in the last seven seasons. Gonzaga will mark the fifth one against a ranked team (including the second against a ranked Bulldog squad) at a neutral site and includes three wins over No. 18 Dayton (2009), No. 18 Gonzaga (2010) and No. 23 Alabama (2011) and loss to top-ranked Duke (2010). The Bulldogs will be the second of possibly three match-ups with Top 15 teams in non-conference play, as the Wildcats dropped a 71-57 to No. 4/4 Michigan on Nov. 23 in the NIT Season Tip-Off Final and faces current No. 5/5 Florida (7-0) in the Hy-Vee Wildcat Classic at the Sprint Center on Dec. 22.
No. 14/14 Gonzaga (9-1) has built itself into one of the top men’s basketball teams in the country, advancing to 14 consecutive NCAA Tournaments and winning 11 of the last 12 West Coast Conference (WCC) regular-season championships. The Bulldogs return a veteran squad, which produced a 27-7 record in 2011-12, and won its first nine games by an average of 21.6 points before losing to undefeated Illinois on Saturday at home. For the season, Gonzaga is averaging 82.7 points on a nation-best 52.7 percent shooting, including 38.1 percent from 3-point range, while allowing opponents just 61.4 points on a 38.8 percent clip. Senior All-America candidate Elias Harris (16.6 ppg.) paces four players in double figures on 55.8 percent shooting to go with a team-best 8.0 rebounds per game, while junior Kelly Olynyk adds 14.1 points on 66.7 percent shooting and 7.1 rebounds per contest. The squad is led by veteran head coach Mark Few, who has posted a .794 winning percentage (351-91) over the past 14 seasons.
Last Meeting: K-State 81, Gonzaga 64 [Nov. 22, 2010]
K-State connected on 50.9 percent from the field, which included 12 3-pointers, and held Gonzaga to 33.3 percent shooting, as the Wildcats earned an 81-64 win over the Bulldogs in the semifinals of the CBE Classic at the Sprint Center on Nov. 22, 2010. Senior Jacob Pullen led all players with 18 points, while current Wildcats - Will Spradling (13) and Rodney McGruder (10) - also scored in double figures. In all, six current Wildcats played in the game, including Jordan Henriquez (0), Martavious Irving (5), Shane Southwell (0) and Nino Williams (3). Gonzaga was led by Robert Sacre’s 17 points, while five current Bulldogs saw action, including Sam Dower (2), Elias Harris (4), Michael Hart (0), David Stockton (5) and Kelly Olynyk (6).
This will be the third overall meeting between K-State and Gonzaga on the hardwood and the second in the last three seasons. The Wildcats are 2-0 all-time against the Bulldogs, winning 66-64 at home in the Postseason NIT on March 22, 1994 and 81-64 in the semifinals of the CBE Classic at the Sprint Center on Nov. 22, 2010. This will be the school’s 10th game in Seattle (first since 1995), but the first at KeyArena, the former home of the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics. The other nine visits came against Washington with a 4-5 record. The Wildcats are 11-5 against teams from West Coast Conference, including a 3-2 mark in neutral site games.
Quickly on Kansas State
--K-State is off to a 7-1 start to the season for the fourth consecutive season. Bruce Weber’s 7-1 record ties for the best start by a first-year K-State head coach in the program’s history, along with (current Oklahoma head coach) Lon Kruger, who also went 7-1 to start the 1986-87 season. The best campaign by a first-year coach in school history is still held by College Football Hall of Fame coach Zora G. Clevenger, who led the Wildcats to a 15-2 (.882) mark in his inaugural season in 1916-17.
--Five of the eight games have been at home, where the Wildcats have won 26 consecutive non-conference home games in the month of December and boast a 37-1 mark in the month at Bramlage Coliseum the past 10 seasons with the last loss coming to Rutgers on Dec. 28, 2004. The squad is a combined 92-21 (.814) at home in November and December since 2003-04.
--Saturday’s game with Gonzaga at Seattle’s KeyArena will be the 44th neutral site game (20th in the regular season) in the past seven seasons with K-State posting a 21-22 (.488) record in those contests. The Wildcats are 11-8 (.579) in regular season neutral site games since 2006-07, including an 81-64 win over the Bulldogs in the CBE Classic semifinals on Nov. 22, 2010.
--The Wildcats have posted a .500 or better record in true road games in the past four seasons, including a composite 24-16 (.600) road record since the 2008-09 season. The team has won seven of its last eight non-conference road games, including six straight wins (Cleveland State, UNLV, Loyola Chicago, Washington State, Virginia Tech and George Washington).
--K-State ranks in the Top 35 in 10 categories, including first in offensive rebounds (19.3), second in 3-point field goal percentage defense (22.2), sixth in rebounding (44.6), 13th in scoring defense (54.6), 14th in scoring margin (+18.5), 15th in rebounding margin (+10.4), 24th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3), 25th in turnover margin (+4.3), 31st in assists (16.3) and 32nd in field goal percentage defense (37.4). The squad also ranks among the Top 5 in 13 categories in the Big 12, including first in scoring margin, rebounding, offensive rebounds, 3-point field goal percentage defense, turnover margin and assist-to-turnover ratio
K-State is having a stellar start to the 2012-13 athletics season, as the Wildcats have one of the best winning percentages among Bowl Championship Series (BCS) schools when combining football and men’s and women’s basketball records. As of Wednesday’s results, the school’s .926 winning percentage (25-2) is second only to Notre Dame (.929, 26-2), while it is one of just eight schools in the nation with 25 or more combined wins among its three major sports. The others include Louisville (27), Notre Dame (26), Michigan (26), South Carolina (26), Florida (25), Ohio State (25), Stanford (25). The Wildcat football team produced just its second 11-win regular season in school history and its first since 2003, while they are headed to a BCS bowl game (Fiesta Bowl) for the first time in eight years. The men’s basketball team is off to its fourth consecutive 7-1 start, while the women’s basketball team (7-0) has posted its best start in four seasons. If you take into account the success of the women’s volleyball team, which won 20 matches and advanced to NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in 12 seasons, the Wildcats are 46-11 (.807) since August 24.
K-State has proven to be a balanced team across the board with eight players averaging five or more points, including just two in double figures, and seven averaging three or more rebounds per game. Senior Rodney McGruder (12.9 ppg.) and sophomore Angel Rodriguez (10.5 ppg.) are the only Wildcats to average in double figures, while two other players - Will Spradling (8.9 ppg.) and Thomas Gipson (8.1 ppg.) are averaging better than eight points per contest. The team has seen nine players collect 25 double-digit scoring games with Rodriguez leading the way with six. In all, the Wildcats have had five players lead or share the lead in scoring in eight games. Gipson (6.9 rpg.) paces the squad in rebounding despite leading in a game just twice, while three others - D.J. Johnson (5.6 rpg.), McGruder (5.6 rpg.) and Jordan Henriquez (5.0 rpg.) - average better than five rebounds per game. The team has had nine players either lead or share the lead in rebounding with Gipson and Johnson doing it twice.
The Wildcats have also been diverse in other categories, including five players with double-digit assists and eight with at least five steals. Rodriguez has dished out a team-best 36 assists with six players either leading or sharing the lead in assists in eight games. Spradling paces all players with 11 steals, while seven have either led or shared the lead in steals. Weber has played at least 12 in five games with players posting more than 20 minutes of action 25 times, including 30+ on 10 occasions. Spradling (27.6), McGruder (27.5 mpg.), Rodriguez (21.8) and Gipson (20.5) are each averaging more than 20 minutes for the season.
On the Defensive
K-State has continued to be one of the best defensive teams not only in the Big 12, but nationally, where the squad ranks second nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (22.2), 13th in scoring defense (54.6 ppg.), 15th in rebound margin (+10.4) and 32nd in field goal percentage defense (37.4). In all, the Wildcats rank either first or second in six Big 12 categories, including first in rebounding (44.6), 3-point field goal percentage defense, turnover margin (+4.3), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3) and second in scoring defense and rebounding margin (+10.4). The squad is fifth in field goal percentage defense (37.4).
The 437 points surrendered through the first eight games are the fewest in the shot clock era (1985-86) and the fewest since the 1982-83 squad allowed just 428 points (53.5 ppg.) through the first eight games. The defensive effort was nearly historic in the 87-26 win over Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 13, as the 26 points allowed were one shy of the Bramlage Coliseum record of 25 set against Savannah State on Jan. 7, 2008. The Chargers’ 16.4 field goal percentage (9-of-55) was only surpassed by Savannah State’s 15.5 percentage. The Wildcats have held five of eight opponents to 55 points or less.
Points Off Turnovers
A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams were their ability to score points off of opponent’s mistakes and Bruce Weber has continued that legacy in his first season. The Wildcats are out-scoring their opponents, 137-79 (an average of 17.1 points), through the first eight games in points off of turnovers, including a 34-7 edge over Lamar on Nov. 12. The team is forcing their opponents into 16.4 turnovers per game, including a season-high 26 by Lamar, while turning the ball over an average of 12.1 times per game. The 1.3 assist-to-turnover ratio (24th) and +4.3 turnover margin (25th) are both in the Top 25 nationally. In Martin’s five seasons, the Wildcats scored 3,081 points off of 2,763 turnovers in 169 games - an average of 18.2 points per game. Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in that five-year period came off of offense generated from turnovers. The school has scored 500 or more points off of opponent turnovers in six straight seasons, including 577 (17.5 average per game) in 2011-12.
K-State continues to be one of the best rebounding squads in the country, as the Wildcats rank sixth nationally in rebounding (44.6), including first in offensive rebounds (19.3), and 15th in rebounding margin (+10.4). The team ranks first in the Big 12 by one-tenth of a rebound over Iowa State, while they are the clear leader in offensive rebounds (19.3 to West Virginia’s 17.7). Overall, the Wildcats have out-rebounded their foes by a 357-274 margin, including 154-92 on the offensive end. The team has collected 40 or more rebounds in six of its first eight games, including a season-best 55 vs. Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 13, while they have tallied 20 or more offensive boards three times. The squad grabbed 42 defensive rebounds vs. UAH, which ties for the second-most in school history and the most since also posting 42 against Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 16, 1998. The team has had players grab at least five rebounds in a game 30 times this season, including five posting at least five boards vs. USC Upstate.
The Wildcats have taken advantage of its rebounding skills this season, averaging 32.4 points in the paint and 17.3 points off of second-chance opportunities. The team has at least 30 points in the paint in five of eight games, including a season-high 44 vs. UAH on Nov. 13, while it has tallied at least 17 second-chance points five times with a season-best 23 vs. USC Upstate.
K-State has finished among the Top 5 in the Big 12 in rebounding in each of the last five seasons, including first in 2007-08 and 2008-09, while the squad has led the league in offensive boards for five consecutive years, including a school-record 559 in 2009-10. The Wildcats have tallied 700 or more defensive rebounds in each of the last six seasons, including 756 in 2011-12.
Protecting the Ball
Head coach Bruce Weber made ball security a big emphasis after a turnover-plagued trip to Brazil and so far those efforts are paying off, as K-State ranks first in the Big 12 in both assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3) and turnover margin (+4.3). The squad ranks in the Top 25 nationally in both categories, including 24th in assist-to-turnover ratio and 25th in turnover margin. Through the first eight games, the Wildcats have produced 12.1 turnovers per game (second in Big 12 to West Virginia), while forcing its foes into an average of 16.4 turnovers (second-most in the Big 12 to Texas Tech). The team has 14 or fewer turnovers in six of eight games, including just six against No. 4/4 Michigan on Nov. 23, while they have forced their opponents into 19 or more turnovers three times, including a season-high 26 by Lamar on Nov. 12. K-State has also capitalizing on its opponent’s mistakes, averaging 17.1 points off of turnovers, while allowing opponents to score just 9.9 points per game on its miscues.
More on Ball Protection
Six Wildcats have posted an even or positive assist-to-turnover ratio this season, including its four primary ball-handlers (Angel Rodriguez, Martavious Irving, Shane Southwell and Will Spradling) combining for 91 assists to 39 turnovers (2.3 ratio). The current ratio is nearly double for the quartet after posting a 1.4 ratio (302 assists to 211 turnovers) as a group in 2011-12. Spradling (2.7) and Rodriguez (2.1) rank first and second in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio and are two of just four players with a ratio above 2.0. Spradling, who has 24 assists to just nine turnovers, led the team with a 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio a season ago, while Rodriguez has made a notable improvement (36 assists to 17 turnovers) in the area after posting a 1.2 ratio (101 assists to 85 turnovers) as a freshman in 2011-12. Irving has also doubled his ratio (2.9 from 1.5) with 20 assists to seven turnovers, while Southwell has registered a solid 1.8 ratio (11 assists to 6 turnovers) after posting a 1.6 ratio last season.
Adding to the K-State’s balanced attack is the production it’s getting from its bench, where the Wildcats are averaging 28.9 points, including a 231-151 edge over opponents. The team has collected at least 20 points from its bench in six games, including 45 points vs. North Dakota on Nov. 9. Reserves have scored nearly half of the team’s points four times with Thomas Gipson tying for the scoring lead from the bench against North Dakota and Delaware (before earning his first start vs. USC Upstate) and Shane Southwell leading the way with a career-best 16 points off the bench vs. Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 13. The rebounding leader has come from the bench in five of eight games with D.J. Johnson posting the team-high vs. North Dakota (nine) and Lamar (eight), Southwell recording a career-high nine boards vs. UAH, Adrian Diaz with a career-best 10 vs. North Florida and Gipson tying Will Spradling for the rebounding lead (six) vs. Delaware. Nearly 50 percent (177) of the rebounding total has come from its bench, while 40 percent (231) of the scoring total has come from reserves.
K-State has used quick starts in three of their first eight games to jump out to big leads, helping the Wildcats hold a 280-182 edge at halftime. The squad jumped out to 15-0 lead on Lamar en route to a 43-15 advantage at halftime, while they broke out to a 19-2 lead on UAH en route to a 47-11 edge at the break. The 36-point halftime lead ties for the largest in Bramlage Coliseum history, tying a 55-19 lead over Kennesaw State on Dec. 17, 2006. The team led by as many as 17 in the first half against North Florida before leading as many as 30 in the second half. The squad used an 18-2 run in the last 5:46 of the first half against USC Upstate to break an 18-all tie to a 36-20 lead at halftime. The only home game the Wildcats didn’t jump out to a big lead - North Dakota - they broke open a one-point game with a 10-2 run right before the half to take a 36-27 advantage at the break. The lead ballooned to as many as 35 in the second half, as the Wildcats outscored North Dakota, 49-25, on 53.1 percent shooting.
Weber Era Opens with a Win
K-State opened the Bruce Weber Era with a dominate 85-52 victory over North Dakota on Nov. 9. The Wildcats broke open a one-point game with a 10-2 run to end the first half then used stellar shooting (53.1%) in the second half to post its 10th straight season-opening win. The squad is now 85-24 all-time in season openers, including a 73-8 mark at home. Overall, the Wildcats have won 19 consecutive openers at home, including a 20-1 record at Bramlage Coliseum. Weber is 14-1 (.933) in his 15-year career as a head coach in season openers (SIU and Illinois), including a 14-0 mark in home openers.
Weber Continues Success by Wildcat Coaches in Debut
Weber continued the success of Wildcat head coaches in their debut with an 85-52 win over North Dakota on Nov. 9. K-State head coaches have now won 17 of 24 debuts, including each of the last four and seven of the last eight. Jim Wooldridge (2000), Bob Huggins (2006) and Frank Martin (2007) each won their coaching debuts, while Tom Asbury (1994) was the last Wildcat coach to lose his debut - a 79-48 setback at Alabama on Nov. 16, 1994. K-State coaches have won their last eight debuts that have occurred at home with the last loss coming way back on Dec. 4, 1944 when Fritz Knorr’s squad lost a 53-35 decision to Fort Riley. Only three coaches - Mike Ahearn (1907), Charles Corsaut (1924) and Knorr - have lost their debut at home.
McGruder Named Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week
Senior Rodney McGruder earned his second career Big 12 weekly honor on Monday after collecting his sixth career double-double and first of the season in the 65-62 win at George Washington. Playing in front of numerous family and friends in his hometown of Washington, D.C., he tallied 15 points, 11 rebounds, one assist and one steal in a season-high 39 minutes against the Colonials. He earns the weekly honor for the second time since winning on Dec. 26, 2011 after his MVP performance in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. His performance at GW continues his solid play of late after a slow start to the season. He is averaging 17.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in the past three games (all double-figure scoring) after scoring just 50 points (10 ppg.) through the first five games on 38.8 percent shooting with two double-figure scoring games. He posted his first 20-point game and 14th of his career against USC Upstate on Dec. 2 with a game-high 22 points. He scored 14 of his game-high 16 points against No. 4/4 Michigan in the second half, which means in the last 65 minutes of game action, he has scored 51 points.
McGruder Joins Elite Company
Senior Rodney McGruder joined elite company against USC Upstate on Dec. 2, as he became the eighth Wildcat in school history with at least 1,100 points and 500 rebounds in a career. He joined Rolando Blackman (1,844 points & 607 rebounds), Bob Boozer (1,685 points & 824 rebounds), Cartier Martin (1,546 points & 546 rebounds), Willie Murrell (1,121 points & 576 rebounds), Ed Nealy (1,304 points & 1,069 rebounds), Jack Parr (1,184 points & 889 rebounds) and Jamar Samuels (1,259 points & 716 rebounds). McGruder currently ranks 14th in scoring with 1,132 points (just 52 points from tying Parr for 13th and 172 points from tying Nealy and cracking the Top 10), while he is just the 25th player with 500 or more rebounds in a career.
McGruder Named Preseason Candidate for Naismith, Wooden Awards
Senior Rodney McGruder has been selected as a preseason candidate for two of the most prestigious awards in college basketball, as he was named one of 50 preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award on Nov. 8 before he was selected to the early season watch list for the Naismith Trophy on Nov. 12. The preseason lists, which reflects the early frontrunners for two of college basketball’s Premier Player of the Year awards, is based on last year’s individual performance. McGruder becomes the first Wildcat named to the preseason list for both awards since Jacob Pullen was selected in 2010. McGruder led the squad in 11 categories in 2011-12, including scoring (15.8 ppg.), double-figure scoring (28) and 3-point field goals (50). He was one of six Big 12 players selected to the Wooden list, which includes Baylor’s Pierre Jackson, Kansas’ Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey and OSU’s Le’Bryan Nash, while he was one of five on the Naismith list, including Jackson, Withey, Kansas’ Ben McLemore and OSU’s Marcus Smart.
McGruder Named to Preseason All-Big 12 Team
Senior Rodney McGruder was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Big 12 team released by the conference office on Oct. 4. McGruder, who was an All-Big 12 Second Team selection in 2011-12, was one of three unanimous picks by the league’s head coaches, joining Kansas’ Jeff Withey and Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash. The final two spots on the team went to Baylor’s Pierre Jackson and Texas’ Myck Kabongo. McGruder is the first Wildcat named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team since Jacob Pullen was named to the squad along with garnering Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year honors in 2010-11. It marks just the third time that a Wildcat (Manny Dies in 1998-99, Pullen and Curtis Kelly in 2010-11) has been selected to the preseason team. McGruder is of only three returning Big 12 players to have ranked in the Top 20 in both scoring and rebounding in 2011-12.
Rodriguez’s Improved Play
Sophomore Angel Rodriguez has continued his improvement from his freshman season in 2012-13, as he ranks first or second on the squad in eight categories, including first in double-figure scoring games (six), assists (36) and free throws (18) and second in scoring (10.5 ppg.), field goals (27) and 3-pointers (12). He has helped the Wildcats rank first in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio and turnover margin and second in assists, while he places second individually in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.1) and sixth in assists. He has scored in double figures a team-best six times, including a career-best 19 points vs. Lamar to go with a 17-point outburst in the win at George Washington. Rodriguez was named to the NIT Season Tip-Off All-Tournament Team after averaging 11 points and 5.5 assists in two games at Madison Square Garden, where the Wildcats finished as the tournament’s runner-up.
Spradling Clutch from the Line
Junior Will Spradling has been a model of consistency from the free throw line, knocking down 14-of-14 opportunities, including 6-of-6 in the last 35 seconds in close 3-point wins over Delaware and George Washington. His perfect 14-of-14 attempts has raised his career free throw percentage to 83.7 (139-of-166), which is the second-highest in school history behind Steve Henson’s 90 percent (361-of-401; 1986-90). He has not only been stellar on the free throw line, but Spradling ranks first in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7), seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (37.1), 10th in assists (3.0), 11th in 3-point field goals made (1.6) and 12th in steals (1.4). He ranks third on the team in scoring at 8.9 points per game and has registered five double-figure scoring games, including a season-high 14 vs. Lamar on Nov. 12 and 10 in the win at George Washington on Dec. 8.
K-State Selected To Play in 2013 Puerto Rico Tip-Off
K-State has been selected to participate in the 2013 Puerto Rico Tip-Off, which is set for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21, 22 and 24, 2013 at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico, in the Hato Rey district of San Juan. The field for the seventh annual event includes Auburn, Charlotte, Florida State, Georgetown, Long Beach State, Michigan and VCU. Six of eight schools advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2012, while five are either ranked or receiving votes in the current Associated Press/USA Today Coaches polls.
‘Cats Enjoy Memorable Trip to Brazil
K-State got a jump start on its preparations for the 2012-13 season with its 10-day trip to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from Aug. 8-17, 2012. The NCAA allows teams to make a foreign trip once every four years, but this was the first since playing four games in and around Vancouver, British Columbia in October 2004. Overall, it was the program’s fourth trip outside the country, which includes excursions to Japan in 1981 and Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden in 1993. K-State played four games, posting a 2-2 record as the squad had to adjust to international rules. The Wildcats averaged 70 points on 41.9 percent shooting, including 31.4 percent from the 3-point range, while connecting on 75.9 percent from the free throw line. Angel Rodriguez (10.3 ppg.) paced all scorers on 40 percent shooting with a team-best 4.8 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Three others - Nino Williams, Rodney McGruder and Adrian Diaz - all averaged 9.0 points, while Will Spradling and Jordan Henriquez added 8.5 points and 7.3 points per game averages. Williams led in rebounding (6.0 rpg.), 3-point field goal percentage (40.0) and free throw percentage (83.3), while Diaz was tops in field goals (14), field goal percentage (58.3) and blocks (2.5 bpg.).
Up Next: vs. Texas Southern (1-8)
K-State will play its first home game in 16 days, as the Wildcats return home to host Texas Southern (1-8) on Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. The Tigers are making progress under first-year coach Mike Davis with three of their last five losses by five points or less.