Mac Stevenson
In their basketball game last Saturday in Stillwater, Wichita State overcame a very shaky start—12 turnovers in the first 14 minutes—against Oklahoma State and defeated the Cowboys 78-66. The Shockers made just four turnovers during the final 26 minutes of the game and outrebounded O-State 30-22.
Landry Shamet and Conner Frankamp led the way for Wichita; Shamet had a career-high 30 points and Frankamp added 14 and played a steady floor game.
Wichita State will move into the top five in the polls after Duke, Kansas, and Florida all lost last week; that means nothing right now, but it’s encouraging to have a high national ranking.
If small forward Markis McDuffie (6-8, 212) returns at full speed during the semester break, that will greatly solidify the Shockers’ ballclub. Wichita needs another consistent scorer to go with Shamet and McDuffie will fill that role; he’ll also add quickness on defense and solid rebounding.
Wichita State has a fine team as is, but the addition of McDuffie will make them competitive on every level. And don’t forget freshman center Asbjorn Midtgaard (7-1, 280); watch for Midtgaard to play a significant role for the Shockers before the dust settles on the 2017-18 season.
Two things should be obvious to Kansas basketball fans: first, the Jayhawks were significantly overrated with their number-two in the nation ranking; and second, the two losses to Washington and Arizona State (95-85) will be meaningless later in the season.
KU doesn’t have a team that’s going to receive a number-one seed in the NCAA Tournament in March, so Coach Bill Self and his team can focus on making improvement. But that’s going to be difficult if KU doesn’t get freshman Billy Preston and recruit Silvio De Sousa eligible very soon.
Kansas has no inside defense at the present time; center Udoka Azubuike is just 18 years old and playing his first full season of college basketball and he’s lost on defense. That will change if Preston and De Sousa join the team—if they don’t, it’s going to be a long season by KU standards.
The Big 12 has 10 quality teams and Kansas is, right now, far from the best. But that could change dramatically in the next three weeks. It’s been no one’s fault from KU, but the Jayhawks and their fans have had to go through an awful lot of drama with the NCAA in the last few seasons.
Kansas State’s basketball team dropped to 8-2 with a 61-54 loss to Tulsa last Saturday. Dismal shooting told the story. K-State hit just 4 of 31 three-point shots, a horrendous 12.9 percent.
The best thing for Wildcat fans to do about this game is forget it. Most of those missed threes were wide-open shots; if K-State had hit just a fair percentage of their outside shots, they would have won easily. It was just one of those bad nights that every team has.
Kansas State’s football team will play UCLA at the Cactus Bowl on December 26 in Phoenix; this will be K-State’s eighth consecutive bowl game and the 19th of Coach Bill Snyder’s illustrious career.
Snyder is highly appreciative of his fans and said, “We have a wonderful fan base, and so many people that save throughout the course of the year; the only vacation they take is the bowl game after our regular-season is over. They are fully invested in out program and this means a great deal to them.”
The bowl game, however, isn’t the only focus for Wildcat fans at the end of the 2017 season; offensive coordinator Dana Dimel accepted an offer to become UTEP’s new head coach. There’s been controversy and some conflict concerning Dimel’s desire to be K-State’s next head coach. That’s over now.
Following the bowl game would be the perfect time for Coach Snyder to step down and for the administration to give Sean Snyder the chance he’s earned to be the Wildcats’ head coach. K-State’s going to have most of the key players from the bowl game returning next season; young Snyder would have the players he needs to have an exceptional season.
If this comes to pass, it would have to be with the understanding that Sean Snyder gets his chance, but not a four- or five-year contract. He should get a three-year contract that has a modest buyout clause in case the change doesn’t work out—that would be a fair compromise for all concerned. The guess here is that Sean Snyder would turn out to be an outstanding head coach and the K-State family would remain firmly intact. The time has come to try it.