Trotting out a team short on both size and experience, Bruce Weber’s squad was expected to experience some bumps before coalescing in conference play and pushing for another favorable tournament seeding. Losing the season opener 60-58 to Northern Colorado was not expected to be one of those bumps. Yet one game into the season, Kansas State sits at 0-1. The team will attempt to use a visit by Oral Roberts Wednesday night to get back on track.
There are a lot of things to point out that went wrong against Northern Colorado. K-State shot just 10.5 percent from behind the arc, hitting two of 19 three point shots. The team also shot 34 percent overall and was outrebounded 49-40. Yet most frustrating was the 16-33 line for free throw attempts. The Wildcats shot under 50 percent from the charity strip – even a lackluster performance of 60 percent would’ve resulted in three more points and a victory.
The team’s most promising trio – Shane Southwell, Will Spradling, and Marcus Foster – combined to shoot just 7-34 with interior big man Thomas Gipson still injured and unable to play. As such newcomer Wesley Iwundu led the team with 14 points and 10 rebounds. The Wildcats are already poised to give up considerable height and getting Gipson healthy and properly conditioned is among the team’s top priorities.
Visiting Bramlage will be the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles. The Golden Eagles began the season with a 74-68 victory over cross-town rival town, and demonstrated the ability to score from anywhere on the court. Four of the team’s starters recorded double figures in scoring, with forward Brandon Conley close behind with seven points. Oral Roberts also held a significant advantage on the boards, outrebounding the Hurricane 45-28. With K-State struggling to pull down rebounds and the Golden Eagles dominating that aspect of their game, that could be the key to this match-up. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 pm Central Time.