What has Kansas State done to be so disrespected?
It starts in football. It seems like the Wildcats never get their proper due even though their coach Bill Snyder is generally regarded as a coaching god for turning around what was once the worst program in the country, with that label now belonging to his cross state rival.
If you look at the Big 12 preseason football polls down through the years, the Wildcats almost always exceed the media’s expectations.
While I thought this was the year they could challenge for the title, they started slowly before finishing with a rush. With much of the talent coming back next year, K-State should be a Top 3 pick in the preseason poll, but it will probably be ranked No. 6 or 7 when it’s released.
The disrespect is carrying over to basketball. ESPN noted that “Joey Brackets” — their noted bracketologist Joe Lunardi — had the Wildcats among the first four teams out of the NCAA field.
Of course, that was before the Wildcats went on the road and torched Baylor’s weak zone defense for 90 points and won their third in a row, 90-83.
The Wildcats are now 15-5 and tied for second place in the Big 12 in the loss column, regarded by many as one of the top two or three conferences in the country and littered with ranked teams.
The Wildcats could soon be one of those teams.
Ever since Cartier Diarra was inserted into the lineup due to the foot injury of Kamau Stokes, the Wildcats have taken off. The only loss was to Kansas and that was a game the Wildcats had a great chance to steal at Allen Field House.
Diarra has been monumental in the turnaround. He’s a physical guard and can beat defenders off the bounce. He’s also a tough defender and plays with a high motor.
In fact, the backcourt of Diarra and Barry Brown Jr. is developing into one of the best in the Big 12. Nobody really knows when or if Stokes is going to be back this season and should he return, K-State would have a terrific trio.
Dean Wade is one of the Big 12’s best players. He roasted Baylor for 24 points and in his junior year is finally realizing he’s a force. He seemingly has been content to stay in the background, but now he’s showing he can play with anybody. Don’t snicker when I say that Wade, if he stays one more year, will be a first-round pick in the NBA draft. He can put the ball on the floor, shoot the 3 and is long. If he had KU’s Andrea Hudy as his strength coach, the guy would be a monster.
Xavier Sneed gives the Wildcats another explosive player off the bounce and he could be the team’s best athlete. There’s still a hole in the middle, but the center position is getting better.
The way Kansas State is playing right now, it can give KU a run for its money. The Jayhawks are alone at the top, but have some difficult games coming in and their Allen Field House invincibility has been somewhat stripped as they’ve struggled even in their victories.