KSU Struggles by the Numbers

| January 5, 2015 | 0 Comments


By Cole Manbeck


This Kansas State men’s basketball team has enough issues to write a short book about. To keep it simple, let’s just examine the on-court struggles for this team.


Here’s the first reason: the Wildcats lack toughness, both mentally and physically. And they don’t play very good defense. Entering Saturday’s game against Oklahoma State, K-State was allowing opponents to shoot 45.7 percent from the field, which ranked 277th in the country. That number has since climbed to 45.9 percent following Saturday’s 61-47 loss to the Cowboys. K-State held opponents to 40.8 percent from the floor last season, which ranked 42nd in the country. So there has been a significant drop off in 2014-15.


Coming into Saturday, K-State had an effective field-goal percentage defense of 51.2 percent, which ranked 251st in the country. That number has now climbed to 51.6 percent. The Wildcats ranked 26th in the country last season in effective field-goal percentage defense, allowing 45.3 percent. For those not familiar with this stat, effective field-goal percentage accounts for the fact that 3-pointers are worth an extra point, something ignored by traditional field-goal percentage.


The Wildcats ranked sixth in the country in 3-point defense last season, holding teams to 29.3 percent from beyond the arc. This season, K-State ranks 217th nationally, allowing opponents to shoot nearly 35 percent from 3. K-State opponents are shooting 50.7 percent on 2-point field-goal attempts, ranking 257th in the country. The Wildcats held opposing teams to 45.9 percent from 2 last season, which ranked 77th in the country. The following tables give you a visual comparison of the drop off on the defensive end this season compared to last.


K-State defense this season


Category Stat National Rank
Opponent shooting percentage 45.7% 277th
Effective field goal percentage defense 51.2% 251st
Opponent free throw attempts per play 28.9% 251st
Opponent 3-point percentage 34.8% 217th
Opponent 2-point percentage 50.7% 257th
Defensive rebounding percentage 73.4% 88th
Opponent free throws per game 21.2 215th


K-State defense in 2013-14


Category Stat National Rank
Opponent shooting percentage 40.8% 42nd
Effective field goal percentage defense 45.3% 26th
Opponent free throw attempts per play 28.6% 171st
Opponent 3-point percentage 29.3% 6th
Opponent 2-point percentage 45.9% 77th
Defensive rebounding percentage 68.4% 263
Opponent free throws per game 21.2 215th


K-State is careless with the ball on the offensive end of the floor, which is part of the reason for the defensive struggles. The Wildcats came into the Oklahoma State game turning the ball over on 21.9 percent of their offensive possessions, the 308th-worst mark in the entire country. Those turnovers often lead to breakaway baskets for the opponent, which is what sparked Oklahoma State’s run Saturday. The Wildcats weren’t great at taking care of the ball last season, turning the ball over on 18 percent of their possessions, but a four-percent increase is significant.


K-State isn’t solid at point guard. Jevon Thomas is averaging 2.5 turnovers per game. He only averaged 1 per game last season. Thomas, Nigel Johnson, Justin Edwards, Marcus Foster and Wesley Iwundu (K-State’s primary guards) have combined for 154 assists to 125 turnovers thus far this season, an average of 11 assists to nine turnovers per game. Last season, Will Spradling, Shane Southwell, Iwundu, Foster, Johnson and Thomas (K-State’s primary guards) combined for 427 assists to 246 turnovers, an average of 13 assists to 7.5 turnovers per game.


The Wildcats really miss Spradling and Southwell, both of whom had excellent floor vision on offense and understood how to space the floor. Those two helped keep the motion in the motion offense. They took care of the ball and were very good passers.


Outside of the turnovers, K-State has actually improved in most of the primary statistical categories this season compared to last. Which probably sounds crazy to you, considering the Wildcats haven’t topped the 50-point mark in their last two games. In K-State’s last 15 games, including the 56-49 loss to Kentucky to end last season, the Wildcats have scored less than 50 points on four occasions. That’s remarkable, considering prior to that Kentucky game, K-State had only scored below the 50-point mark in two contests over its previous 234 games, dating all the way back to 2006. The following tables compare K-State’s offense this season to to last (the stats below were compiled prior to the loss at Oklahoma State Saturday).


K-State offense this season


Category Stat National Rank
Offensive turnovers per possession 21.9% 308th
Offensive turnovers per game 14.5 267th
Offensive rebounding percentage 32.5% 89th
Field goal percentage 47% 41st
Effective field goal percentage 52.7% 47th
3-point percentage 37.6% 55th
2-point percentage 51% 77th
Free throw attempts per game 26.7 13th
Free throw attempts per offensive play 35.8% 4th
Assists per field goals made 62.8% 24th
Assists per possession 21.4% 59th


K-State offense in 2013-14


Category Stat National Rank
Offensive turnovers per possession 18% 184th
Offensive turnovers per game 12.2 169th
Offensive rebounding percentage 32.7% 72nd
Field goal percentage 43.4% 200th
Effective field goal percentage 48.8% 209th
3-point percentage 33.1% 220th
2-point percentage 48.3% 187th
Free throw attempts per game 22.5 158th
Free throw attempts per offensive play 28.6% 171st
Assists per field goals made 63% 8th
Assists per possession 22.4% 17th


Another issue for the Wildcats is the inability to string together two good halves in the same game. This team in inconsistent, often digging itself a huge hole with an awful first half, or it falls apart in the second half on offense. In the table below, I have charted seven games where K-State had a disastrous half on offense. Against Oklahoma State and Pittsburgh, the Wildcats fell apart in the second half. Against Long Beach State, Tennessee, Bradley, Texas Southern and Georgia, they were putrid in the first half.


In the seven halves compiled, K-State combined to score 134 points on 211 offensive possessions, an average of 0.64 points per possession. The Wildcats averaged 19 points per half, had 20 assists and 71 turnovers, an average of 2.9 assists and 10.1 turnovers per half. They shot 29 percent from the floor and 18 percent from 3 in those halves. Below is the table that shows the numbers:


*PPP stands for points per possession


Opponent FGs 3-pters Assists Turnovers PPP Total pts
LBSU 9-31 3-11 3 10 0.79 26
Pittsburgh 6-23 1-6 3 8 0.74 20
Tennessee 5-20 0-7 1 13 0.55 17
Bradley 3-13 1-4 2 11 0.62 18
Texas S. 10-22 3-6 5 6 0.82 23
Georgia 5-23 0-7 2 16 0.38 12
Ok. State 7-24 0-3 4 7 0.58 18
Totals 45-156 8-44 20 71 0.64 134










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