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A Tempo-Free Look at Kansas State

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So who are these other Wildcats from Manhattan, KS UK will be facing tonight? In many ways, they're the polar opposite of Kentucky--and that can be a good thing for the Wildcats from Lexington.

Kansas State's Tempo:
The other Wildcats don't play fast. Their average possession length is about 19 seconds, which ranks 246th in the country. KState's average game had 65 possessions, which ranks 228th nationally.

Generally, KSU doesn't do as well if the game gets quick. The Wildcats are 13-5 when the game has 65 possessions (KSU's avg possession game) or fewer. KSU's 8-6 when the game has more than 65 possessions, and 0-3 in the 3 games where they had the most possessions.

Kansas State On Offense:
Offensively, Kansas State ranks 110th nationally in Offensive Efficiency, averaging 1.08 pts/possession. In Big 12 play, KSU scored 1.05 PPP, 8th in the conference.

Of the 4 Factors which contribute most to Efficiency, KSU is not particularly good at any of them, but is best at rebounding. KSU ranks 56th nationally in Offensive Rebounding, grabbing 35% of their own misses. But Kansas State is no better than 161st nationally in Effective FG%, Turnover% and FT Rate (FTAs/FGAs).

KSU doesn't shoot well from either 2 or 3; they rank 179th nationally in 2pt FG% and 214th nationally in 3pt FG%. The Manhattan Wildcats have only 2 players who make more from 3 than the national average (.344): 6-2 senior guard Will Spradling, who's making .345, and 6-2 freshman guard Marcus Foster, who's making .404.*

Kansas State relies heavily upon assists as a part of its offense. 64% of KSU's baskets come off assists, which ranks 7th nationally.

If it comes down to free throws, KSU is likely to be at a disadvantage. Besides not getting to the FT line a great deal, they also shoot them poorly; they're making only .658 from the line, 304th in the nation. (By comparison, UK ranks 235th nationally, making .683.)

Kansas State On Defense:
The Wildcats win with their D. They rank 25th nationally in Defensive Efficiency, allowing 0.96 PPP. In conference play they allowed 1.04 PPP, 3rd in the Big 12.

The strongest indicator of victory for KSU is their Defensive Efficiency. The Wildcats are 1-10 when opponents score the NCAA average of 1.04 PPP or greater. KSU is 19-2 when holding opponents below 1.04 PPP.

Of the 4 Factors, KSU is best on defense at keeping the other guy from shooting a good percentage generally, and shooting well from 3 specifically. KSU is 32nd nationally in Effective FG% D (.454), and 5th nationally in 3pt FG% D (.294). Kansas State doesn't turn teams over very much (139th nationally in defensive Turnover%), keep teams off their offensive boards (254th nationally in Defensive Rebound%) and opponents shoots a lot of free throws (277th nationally in defensive FT Rate).

These last 2 stats should give encouragement to Big Blue Nation. UK is 2nd nationally in Offensive Rebound% and 6th nationally in FT Rate. They should be able to exploit Kansas State's weakness in these areas.**

Recent Trends:
KSU has lost 3 straight and 4 of their last 6. KState has been scoring the ball well, averaging 1.06 PPP over its last 6 games. But they rely heavily on defense, and unfortunately for them they haven't been playing it very well recently. The Wildcats have given up 1.13 PPP over that 6-game stretch. In its last 3 games KState opponents have hit 40% of their 3s and 54% of their 2s.

Odds and Ends:
--Ken Pomeroy tracks a stat called "Effective Height," which weights teams according to players' height by % of minutes played. UK ranks 6th nationally in Effective Height; Kansas State ranks 243rd.
--Pomeroy also predicts UK to win by 5. If UK can take advantage of its strength on the offensive glass and getting to the line, that should be the case.

*--6-7 Wesley Iwundu has made .412 from 3, but has taken only 17 3s all season and has taken only 2 3s in his last 5 games.

**--Big Blue Nation must hope that UK's success at the free throw line vs. Florida continues. UK has been getting to the line very well throughout the season, but has frustrated UK fans with some poor shooting from the charity stripe. But UK hit 21-26 (.808) from the line in the SEC tourney title game.

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Updated 03-21-2014 at 02:57 PM by KSRBEvans

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  1. kingcat's Avatar
    Great preview Brian.

    Seems to be an ideal matchup for us, but our toughest opponant has oft times been ourselves and not who we are playing.

    I feel good about our WildCats.