Kansas State closing out on a dominant first half of the season on a 10 game win streak, longest in 16 years. The Wildcats are currently ranked 11 in the AP Poll and 10 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll. The Wildcats strength of schedule mixed with their impressive wins makes this seem well deserving.
The Wildcats are off to their best start since the 1958-59 season , matching their record of (13-1). Which that team went to the Final Four.
There is no one thing to the Wildcats success. Coach Martin said in an interview with ESPN that the Wildcats are “So eager to get better and compete.” After the loss to Ole Miss early in the season they’ve improved game-by-game.
In the loss, a few things stuck out to me. The bench was a non-factor, the Wildcats bench all-together produced 15 points, and 11 total rebounds. In addition, the bench players only took 16 out of 65 shots, overall the bench players score 26.2 points, and grab 17.7 rebounds per game. So when they play team basketball Kansas State is a tough team to beat.
Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente both add different dimensions to the offense. Jacob Pullen can break down defenses with his shot or driving ability and Clemente being able to handle the basketball and push it up the floor as fast as any point guard in the country. The Kansas State frontcourt plays with intensity on both sides of the court and you can tell by their rebounding total. More able guys on the frontline takes so much pressure off the guards.
They lead the nation in free-throw attempts due to their physical style of play. They score a lot of points off turnovers; they force teams into their style of play and if they can’t keep up, the Wildcats just roll. Their offense shares the basketball, can shoot the three consistently with their streaky shooters, doesn’t force their offense, plays good transition defense, and great transition offense.
Headed into conference play, the Wildcats 13-1 record is the best ever in non-conference play. The Wildcats need to improve their inside-game. Their inside game has been sub-par and because of their dominance on the boards, they don’t have to throw it in and try to get an easy finish at the rim. Ball security is another thing that needs improvement, the Wildcats turn the ball over 15.2 times a game. But overall they’re a very good team with a lot of athleticism and good players that can make plays. Early on they’ve utilized their strengths and are growing as a team. Moving forward onto the big picture is looking bright if the Wildcats rack up a winning conference record.