Complete Effort Gives K-State Upset Win

| February 8, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Cole Manbeck

 

If you are the top-ranked team in the country, Bramlage Coliseum isn’t on the list of places you want to visit. Kansas State defeated No. 1-ranked Oklahoma 80-69 Saturday, the Wildcats’ third straight home victory since 2010 against a No. 1-ranked team.

 

K-State accomplished the feat with a combination of terrific offense and defense. Oklahoma entered Saturday’s game as the best 3-point shooting team in the country, connecting on 46 percent of its attempts. The Wildcats came into the game with the 7th-best 3-point defense in the country, holding opponents to just 29-percent accuracy from beyond the arc. Something had to give. On Saturday, it was K-State’s defense that held its ground against one of the best offenses in the country.

 

Oklahoma shot 25 percent from 3 (6-of-24), its worst shooting performance from beyond the arc this season (next lowest was 29 percent vs. West Virginia). The six made 3s tied for the second-fewest makes in a game by the Sooners this season. Oklahoma started the game 5-of-9 from 3, but went just 1-of-15 over the final 30 minutes of action.

 

The Sooners scored 69 points on 69 offensive possessions Saturday, an average of 1 point per offensive possession. Only West Virginia has held Oklahoma to a lower points-per-possession total this season (0.96 points per possession). The Sooners came to Manhattan averaging 1.13 points per possession, ranking 14th nationally in offensive efficiency. Over its previous four games, Oklahoma had averaged 1.23 points per possession, which is terrific.

 

Wesley Iwundu’s defense on Buddy Hield can’t be understated. Hield still ended up with 23 points, but many of those came late in the game. I’m not sure an individual can defend Hield any better than Iwundu did, as the Wildcats elected to face-guard the best offensive player in the country, refusing to help off of him.

 

K-State completely took Oklahoma’s Jordan Woodard out of the game, holding him scoreless for the first time this season. Woodard, who is second on the team with 14 points per game and shoots 52 percent from 3, went 0-for-6 from the floor in 29 minutes. His previous season-low in points prior to Saturday was 4. He had scored in double figures in 16 of Oklahoma’s 21 games prior to Saturday. Woodard also never got to the free-throw line, marking only the third time that’s happened to the junior guard this season. And that’s significant, as Woodard shoots 83 percent from the foul line.

 

A game-by-game breakdown of Oklahoma’s offense this season:

 

Opponent Points per possession Field-goal % 3-point %
At Memphis 1.01 43% 42%
McNeese State 1.08 48% 44%
Incarnate Word 1.19 59% 38%
Wisconsin 1.05 43% 33%
Central Arkansas 1.35 52% 59%
Villanova 1.07 47% 54%
Oral Roberts 1.28 50% 59%
Creighton 1.15 48% 40%
Washington State 1.21 50% 44%
Hawaii 1.08 46% 47%
Harvard 1.09 50% 38%
Iowa State 1.13 43% 38%
At KU 1.06 41% 49%
K-State 1.12 57% 58%
At Oklahoma State 1.06 46% 43%
West Virginia 0.96 33% 29%
At Iowa State 1.08 42% 53%
At Baylor 1.22 62% 57%
Texas Tech 1.30 53% 52%
At LSU 1.18 44% 48%
TCU 1.20 51% 37%
At K-State 1.00 43% 25%

 

 

K-State’s offense was just as good as its defense, if not better. Oklahoma came into Saturday holding opponents to 39 percent shooting from the floor, ranking 24th nationally in field-goal percentage defense. The Wildcats shot 53 percent from the floor Saturday, the best shooting performance against the Sooners all season. Iowa State is the only other team to shoot better than 50 percent from the floor against Oklahoma this season.

 

K-State scored 80 points on 70 offensive possessions, an average of 1.14 points per possession. The Wildcats put together the second-best effort in terms of offensive efficiency against Oklahoma this season. Only Iowa State had a higher points-per-possession average against Oklahoma, scoring 1.19 points per possession in Oklahoma’s 82-77 loss in Ames, Iowa in January.

 

Oklahoma’s game-by-game defensive breakdown this season:

 

Opponent Points per possession Field-goal % 3-point %
At Memphis 0.93 35% 23%
McNeese State 0.71 34% 24%
Incarnate Word 0.79 34% 25%
Wisconsin 0.73 24% 21%
Central Arkansas 0.88 38% 39%
Villanova 0.77 32% 13%
Oral Roberts 0.99 44% 33%
Creighton 0.91 37% 46%
Washington State 0.83 35% 24%
Hawaii 1.07 46% 35%
Harvard 0.95 39% 38%
Iowa State 1.09 52% 44%
At KU 1.09 43% 50%
K-State 0.99 38% 31%
At Oklahoma State 0.97 48% 33%
West Virginia 0.96 44% 31%
At Iowa State 1.19 47% 38%
At Baylor 1.03 46% 41%
Texas Tech 0.91 32% 35%
At LSU 1.12 49% 48%
TCU 0.91 41% 38%
At K-State 1.14 53% 46%

 

 

Iwundu was terrific on both ends of the floor, playing the best game of his career. The 6-foot-8 junior scored all 22 of his points over the final 23-plus minutes of the game. Turnovers have been an issue for Iwundu this season, but he dished out seven assists to just one turnover against Oklahoma.

 

It could be argued that D.J. Johnson also played the best game of his career. Making his first start of the season, the 6-9 junior scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds while playing terrific defense. Johnson’s play was crucial late in the second half. From the 6:59-mark of the second half until the 2:43 mark, Johnson scored 6 points, including two critical tip-ins off misses.

 

Over Johnson’s last three games, he’s 12-of-15 (80 percent) from the floor and averaging nearly 12 points and 6 rebounds per game, all while averaging just 20 minutes of action during that stretch. Since K-State’s Jan. 9 loss at Oklahoma, Johnson is 31-of-46 (67 percent) shooting.

 

Dean Wade re-emerged Saturday, matching his career high with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. The freshman big man was 3-for-6 from 3. Since the Wildcats’ win at Georgia on Dec. 4, Wade was just 5-of-32 (16 percent) from 3. Since the Jan. 5 loss at Texas, Wade was just 27-of-73 (37 percent) shooting. Saturday’s effort could go a long way for this team. A confident Wade is crucial for K-State going forward.

 

There’s no denying that Saturday’s game was a big win. However, over the past couple of seasons, K-State has proven it can play with some of the best teams in the country. What this team needs to prove is it can be consistent. In K-State’s three Big 12 wins, it has made 88-of-158 (56 percent) from the floor and is 25-of-49 (51 percent) from 3. In the Wildcats’ seven conference losses, they are 164-417 (39 percent) from the floor and 29-of-131 (22 percent) from 3. K-State has either been on fire from the floor in Big 12 play or ice cold. Consistency has been the biggest issue and that needs to drastically improve.

 

The Wildcats’ RPI climbed to No. 35 in the country with Saturday’s victory. The next 10 days could define whether this team is a potential NCAA Tournament team or is destined for the NIT. The upcoming three games are all winnable and provide the Wildcats an opportunity to capture two road wins with upcoming games at Oklahoma State and TCU.

 

I’m not ready to talk about this team as an NCAA Tournament team, as it hasn’t shown enough consistency to date, coupled with the fact that K-State has lost 12 straight conference games away from home dating back to last season. If K-State can figure out a way to win the next three, and that’s a big if, then the NCAA Tourney is most certainly in play.

 

What I’m most intrigued by is seeing how K-State follows up an emotional-charged victory over Oklahoma with its upcoming contest against Baylor on Wednesday. The Wildcats haven’t won consecutive games in conference play. That needs to change on Wednesday if there’s any hope of participating in March Madness.

 

 

Share Button

Category: Blog, Featured

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.