Watching the 6th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats is a lot like watching sausage being made…it ain’t pretty. Nevertheless, the Wildcats are deep and they are relentless, much like the demeanor of their intense head coach, Frank Martin. Now at 9-1 on the young season, Kansas State has for the most part, played to the level of their competition. On some evenings, they’ve looked pretty good, easily beating the likes of Gonzaga, Virginia Tech and Washington State. It’s victories like these where All-American Jacob Pullen is at his best, leading the team in scoring and running the offense well. There is no question this team will only go as far as Pullen and his talents will take them. So far this year, the Wildcats have really had to rely on their senior guard, since the inside play of their “bigs” has been inconsistent to say the least. Senior power-forward, Curtis Kelly, has played well in spurts, but has yet to look like the first-team Big 12 player he was picked preseason to be. For the Wildcats to make a deep run in March, their inside play simply has to improve, thus taking pressure off of Pullen and his backcourt mates, Rodney McGruder and Will Spradling. McGruder, for the most part, has been the most consistent Wildcat so far this year. Not only is he dangerous from the three-point line, he also leads Kansas State in rebounds. Spradling, a true freshman, has made some freshman mistakes, but continues to improve when running the point, which allows Pullen to move to shooting guard, a position he much prefers.
Much like last year, Kansas State fans are relying on Martin to get the Wildcats playing their best when March rolls around. This team is certainly deep enough to make a long run in the NCAA tournament, but clearly up to this point, they are still a work in progress. This week, they travel to the Sunshine State to take on the Florida Gators. Look for the Wildcats to step up to the challenge and play well on a big stage, as they prepare for Big 12 conference play which begins in a couple of weeks.
About the Author
Written by Chad Craghead
A 1988 graduate from Wichita State University, Chad has followed WSU as well as Kansas State athletics for over 30 years, along with being a lifelong Boston Red Sox and L.A./St. Louis Rams fan.