Kansas State Wildcat fans: are you excited yet? The Wildcats got another win–their eighth straight– by beating previously 11-1 George Washington. While our nation’s first president wasn’t ranked coming into the game, they were still a good team. They had an RPI of 32, which is the second highest of a team K-State has beat this season.
Shane Southwell is starting to step up and do exactly what a senior needs to do: lead a team through adversity to wins. He scored a career-high 21 points on Tuesday, and was a major reason for K-State overcoming an early nine point deficit. When the Wildcats were down 11-4, Southwell took the Wildcats on a 10-4 run all by himself. His play against Oklahoma State on January 4th will be a major factor in the game, either good or bad.
Freshman Jevon Thomas continues to steal young girls’ hearts around Manhattan with his passing ability, with six assists. If this were baseball (bear with me here) Thomas would be a guy with a lot of RBIs but no home runs. He does things for other people that make the team better, rather than scoring.
With guys like Marcus Foster (who had an efficient 15 points) and Shane Southwell, Thomas doesn’t need to be a big scorer. If he can get them the ball in a good position, that’s all K-State needs at the point guard position.
The newly slender Thomas Gipson played 34 minutes for K-State. While his 12 points are great, 34 minutes for a man who weighed around 300 pounds last year is very impressive. Gipson’s weight loss of 35 pounds in the offseason has allowed him to do things like that for the Wildcats.
With D.J. Johnson still growing as a player and Brandon Bolden sitting out for transferring, K-State needs big minutes inside. Gipson has provided those so far this season and continues to get better every game. If he can become a good scorer inside, K-State may find their way into the top 25 this season.
K-State has beat their share of bad teams this season, but their non-conference resume really isn’t all that bad. The Wildcats had four RPI top-100 wins and one RPI sub-150 loss. But the real season starts on January 4th at Bramlage Coliseum.
K-State has a chance to open conference play with a bang against Oklahoma State. Drilling teams like Tulane is fun, but there aren’t those type teams in the Big 12. It’s time to find out just how good K-State really can be this season.