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Kansas State Basketball: Wildcats in position to knock Jayhawks off their throne

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 24: Cartier Diarra #2 of the Kansas State Wildcats takes the court before the fourth round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at Philips Arena on March 24, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 24: Cartier Diarra #2 of the Kansas State Wildcats takes the court before the fourth round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at Philips Arena on March 24, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images) /
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As analysts chew away at the Jayhawks being ranked No.1, Kansas State Basketball brings back each starter and the most formidable Big 12 team to challenge.

Kansas State Basketball had an amazing run last season. The Wildcats made it as far as the Elite Eight before being knocked off by Loyola. That strong run and the return of virtually everyone has placed high expectations for the 2018-’19 season.

With Barry Brown making his return announcement on Twitter, Bruce Weber now has 11 lettermen returning, including the top eight scorers from last year. Kansas State Basketball has a fine opportunity to knock the Jayhawks off their perch for the first time in 14 seasons.

The Jayhawks coach, Bill Self recently went on air with Andy Katz and spoke about how he felt the Wildcats should be the favorite. A typical Bill Self statement. Perhaps he is correct.

While Kansas leads all the early preseason polls across the land, Kansas State isn’t far behind. Depending on where you look you’ll find the Wildcats floating around the mid-teens, off the list all-together, or as high as eighth. That is where nbcsports.com has them.

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The Wildcats will no doubt be one of the most experienced basketball teams in the nation. Last year’s leading scorer Dean Wade returns after only playing eight minutes in the tournament. Barry Brown returns needing only to work on his leadership.

Kamau Stokes was never fully healthy after returning from an early-season injury, so he will be much more help this season. Makol Mawein has had a nice spring so far, if he comes back stronger than last year, he will be a much bigger concern for opponents in the post.

Coach Weber won’t have the element of surprise next season. His Wildcat’s long tournament run and the return of virtually his whole team has the nation’s eye on the program.

Last season the Wildcats were projected as the eighth-ranked program in the conference when the season started, this year they should have the number two or three ranking in the Big 12.

That other Kansas school will be good once again, but the Wildcats could have the upper hand since the Jayhawks lack experience. At most Kansas will only have one returning starter, with the majority of the roster made up of transfers who haven’t played for over a year and freshmen who haven’t played at this level yet.

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The Wildcats have the talent and the experience to pave their own path this upcoming season. The hurdle of Kansas may be their only roadblock.