K-State’s Offense Efficient in Victory over Cowboys

| January 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

By Cole Manbeck

Kansas State scored 63 points on Saturday in its 63-53 victory over Oklahoma State, and that point total might not seem significant. However, it is. K-State’s offensive performance was the most efficient outing an opposing team has put together against the Cowboys all season. The Wildcats like to slow the game down, and against Oklahoma State, they only had 56 offensive possessions, forcing the Cowboys into their slowest-played game of their season (they came into the game averaging 68 possessions per game). K-State scored 63 points on those 56 possessions, averaging out to 1.13 points per possession, the best mark against Oklahoma State this season.

The Wildcats only turned the ball over 10 times, tying Texas Tech for the second-lowest turnover total against the Oklahoma State defense on the season. K-State made 57 percent of its field-goal attempts, the best shooting performance against Oklahoma State this season, and it was the Wildcats’ best shooting performance since the Texas A&M game on Dec. 20.

See the following table for the game-by-game breakdown of opposing teams against Oklahoma State this season to see how K-State’s offensive performance stacked up:


Oklahoma State’s defense this season


Opponent Offensive Possessions Points per Possession Field-goal % Turnovers Forced
At K-State 56 1.13 57 10
At Oklahoma 74 1.11 56 17
Maryland 68 1.07 44 13
At South Carolina 71 1.07 43 11
Missouri 68 1.06 45 14
Milwaukee 66 1.03 49 17
Texas 60 0.97 34 9
At KU 71 0.94 37 16
At Iowa State 67 0.94 44 12
North Texas 68 0.90 38 11
Tulsa 65 0.89 35 13
Oregon State 61 0.85 33 17
K-State 58 0.81 38 13
Texas Tech 57 0.75 28 10
SE Louisiana 75 0.73 32 21
Middle Tennessee St 61 0.71 31 16
At Memphis 71 0.71 35 23
Prairie View A&M 74 0.70 32 15
NW Oklahoma St. 76 0.59 23 15


These numbers are a big deal, because Oklahoma State is very good defensively. The Cowboys entered Saturday holding teams to 37.7 accuracy from the floor, ranking 21st in the country, and were 23rd in the country in defensive efficiency, limiting teams to 0.88 points per possession. The Cowboys also steal the ball on 12.5 percent of opposing teams’ offensive possessions, the 15th-best mark in the country. Oklahoma State came into Bramlage Coliseum blocking 10 percent of its opponents’ shot attempts this season, ranking 18th in the country. Due in large part to that, the Cowboys were holding teams to 42 percent accuracy on 2-point field-goal attempts, the 20th-best 2-point field-goal percentage defense in the country.

K-State’s 2-point offense was terrific on Saturday. The Wildcats were 22-of-34 (65 percent) on shots inside the 3-point arc. It was the best 2-point percentage the Cowboys allowed all season. K-State didn’t settle for 3-point shots, only attempting eight from beyond the arc, tying the Wildcats’ season low for 3-point attempts in a game (since the start of Big 12 play, K-State is averaging five less 3-point attempts per game). Marcus Foster and Justin Edwards attacked the basket on several occasions, which was a positive. See the following chart to see how K-State stacked up against previous Oklahoma State opponents at 2-point shooting (K-State’s game from Saturday is bolded at the bottom of the chart):


Oklahoma State 2-point percentage defense this season


Opponent 2-point field goal percentage
SE Louisiana 13-32 (41%)
Prairie View A&M 17-45 (38%)
NW Oklahoma State 9-40 (23%)
Milwaukee 18-33 (55%)
Oregon State 8-25 (32%)
Tulsa 12-31 (39%)
North Texas 14-39 (36%)
At South Carolina 20-43 (47%)
At Memphis 17-43 (40%)
Middle Tennessee State 10-29 (34%)
Maryland 14-27 (52%)
Missouri 17-33 (51%)
K-State 15-37 (41%)
At Iowa State 18-36 (50%)
Texas 14-40 (35%)
At KU 13-31 (42%)
At Oklahoma 21-34 (62%)
Texas Tech 11-38 (29%)
At K-State 22-34 (65%)


On the opposite end of the floor, Oklahoma State only connected on three 3-pointers, tying for the fewest 3-point makes in a game for the Cowboys this season. Over the Wildcats’ last six games, they’re holding opponents to 29 percent shooting from 3, the same percentage they held opposing teams to last season (which ranked No. 6 in the country). So the defense is steadily improving.

But now the offense looks like it might be gaining traction, and that’s what could take this team to the next level. K-State is starting to cut down on its turnovers. Through the first 17 games, the Wildcats turned the ball over on nearly 22 percent of their offensive possessions, one of the highest turnover rates in the country. Over K-State’s last five halves of basketball (second half vs. Baylor and then the Iowa State and Oklahoma State games), the Wildcats have 46 assists and just 25 turnovers and have turned the ball over on just 16.7 percent of their offensive possessions. During that same time frame, K-State has made 63 field-goal attempts, with assists on 46 of those makes, meaning the Wildcats are averaging an assist on 73 percent of their made shots. That’s really good, and it’s a sign that K-State is starting to move more within its offense, the passing and shot selection has improved, and quite simply, the Wildcats are making shots.

In addition, over the Wildcats’ last five halves of basketball, they have combined to make an average of 57 percent of their 2-point shot attempts. They’ve also made 62-of-76 from the free-throw line over their last four games, an 82-percent average from the charity stripe.

All of this is probably too small of a sample size to truly measure if K-State has fixed its offense. The Wildcats have teased fans before with lights-out performances against Purdue and Texas A&M, as well as some lower-tier opponents. But if they can string together another solid performance against West Virginia on Tuesday night, I’ll start to buy in. It’s a huge game for K-State’s NCAA Tournament hopes.


Now, let’s take a quick look at some keys to the West Virginia game:

  • The Mountaineers force the highest turnover rate in the entire country. Opposing offenses have turned the ball over on 30 percent of their offensive possessions against West Virginia. The Mountaineers aren’t a great offensive team. They rely on getting easy baskets off of those turnovers. If K-State can take care of the ball, that might be its best defense against West Virginia, as it will enable the Wildcats to set up their half-court defense.
  • West Virginia fouls. A lot. The Mountaineers average 23 fouls per game, ranking 345th out of 351 Division I teams. In their last three games, they are averaging 28 fouls per game, the most in the country during that time. West Virginia fouls on 31.2 percent of opposing teams’ possessions, ranking 325th nationally. K-State isn’t much better, fouling opponents on 30.4 percent of their possessions, ranking 303rd in the country.
  • West Virginia also gets to the line a lot, ranking seventh in the country with 26.3 free-throw attempts per game. K-State gets to the foul line on 32.7 percent of its offensive possessions, the 12th-best mark in the country. West Virginia is putting opponents at the charity stripe on more than 30 percent of their offensive plays, ranking 296th in the country. In other words, it’s a good thing this game starts at 6 p.m. and not 8, or those of you in attendance might have had a late night.
  • The Mountaineers are generally regarded as difficult defensively due to the turnovers they force, but it’s more of a risk-reward strategy. West Virginia ranks 253rd in the country in field-goal percentage defense, allowing opposing offenses to shoot 44.6 percent from the floor. The Mountaineers also rank 219th nationally at defending the 3-point shot, allowing teams to shoot 34.8 percent from beyond the arc. They are 241st nationally in effective field-goal percentage defense, allowing 50.4 percent. So if K-State can avoid turnovers, it should be able to score.
  • West Virginia is 12th in the country in defensive efficiency, allowing just 0.87 points per possession. That’s terrific. However, that number is solid because of the turnover rate the Mountaineers force. Again, Tuesday night will come down to whether K-State can protect the basketball.
  • On offense, the Mountaineers aren’t a good shooting team, making just 41.7 percent of their field goal attempts, ranking 238th in the country. They are 299th in the country in 3-point shooting, making just 29.9 percent from beyond the arc. Lastly, they are 264th in effective field-goal percentage offense at 46.3 percent. Make West Virginia score in its half-court offense, rather than points off turnovers (notice a theme?), and K-State should win.
  • West Virginia is sixth nationally in offensive rebounding percentage, grabbing 39.4 percent of its missed shots. The Wildcats were recently tested by a Baylor team that ranked second in offensive rebounding percentage, but they held their own, holding the Bears to their second-worst offensive rebounding rate of the season. However, defensive rebounding has been an issue for K-State of late. Prior to the Oklahoma State game, K-State had given up a 40-percent offensive rebounding rate in its previous three games, an average of 14 offensive rebounds per game. During those three games, the Wildcats had been outscored 51-24 on second-chance points.

The loss at Iowa State was the most concerning. The Cyclones are 244th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage with a 26.8 percent rate, and they only rebounded 23.6 percent of their missed shots against power-five conference teams. However, against K-State, Iowa State rebounded a season-high 36.3 percent of its missed shots, outscoring the Wildcats 24-6 on second-chance points. Prior to that game, Iowa State was outscored 10-to-9 per game on second-chance points on the season. K-State will have to get after it on the defensive glass Tuesday.



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