The Wildcats enter tonight in desperate need of a turnaround. The Huskers bring intense defense, much like we saw last season from Kansas State. The Wildcats have many advantages, but must truly bring their A-game if they want any shot at knocking off Nebraska.
Viewing matchups, the Wildcats appear to be in excellent shape. Nebraska’s four guard lineup composed of Brandon Richardson, Lance Jeter, Caleb Walker and Toney McCray will look to spread the floor offensively and hound KSU on defense. This should give the Cats a giant advantage on the boards. Up to this point, the Wildcats have rebounded 47.8% of their missed shots, and could improve on that number tonight.
The key to gaining their rebounding edge will be boxing out, which has been an issue at times. The Wildcats focus will be tested by a team that features a group who rebound well as a unit, though nobody stands out. 6’11” center Jorge Brian Diaz grabs only 4.6 rpg, while four starters average more than 4 per game.
In order for the Wildcats to open up looks for Jacob Pullen, they will need offensive production from a depleted front court. Jordan Henriquez-Roberts is the only player off the Wildcats bench that can make an impact in the post. The seven footer has shown flashes, but must be consistent and under control if he wants to contribute to this game.
Depth may be a serious concern for the Cats, as the Huskers have three players 6’10” or taller. One of those players is reserve center Andre Almeida. Almeida is most certainly going to be a load. Cats fans, think back to Marshall Moses of Oklahoma State. Almeida is 300+ pounds, and will force Kelly and Samuels to toughen up inside. If the bigs cannot control themselves, foul trouble could easily decide this matchup.
This game will be much like the Big Monday game the Wildcats played last week. In that matchup with Baylor, K-State shot just 36.5% from the field on their way to a 69-61 victory. Home court will certainly be an advantage. Look for the Wildcats to pull together and get the W.
Kansas State 61
About the Author
Written by Shaun Albin