The merry-go-round of a season for K-State basketball is nearly at an end. There have been a few highs but sadly, there have been more lows. Sports staff members Liz Heath, Avery Osen and Riley Gates offer their take on what this season has meant to them.
When I think of this men’s basketball season, I like to compare it to the Earth in Action geology class I took as a freshman. I went in not expecting much.
After the first few weeks, things got interesting because we started talking about volcanoes. Fire, magma and lava are pretty exciting. Then, we went right back to talking about boring rocks. We talked about how diamonds were made once — that was entertaining for about 15 minutes, but then we reverted right back to the rocks. My instructor tried to make the rocks interesting, but it is very difficult to turn the rocks into something they’re not.
I didn’t expect much out of this basketball season, but K-State managed to gain my interest in the beginning of the season.
The Wildcats put up a solid fight against North Carolina, ranked No. 9 at the time. A road win against Georgia also kept me engaged. All of those close-but-not-close-enough overtime losses provided plenty of excitement. At the same time, repeated overtime losses served as a reminder how young of a team K-State is.
The Wildcats are capable of playing above their talent level, but finishing out a tough game needed consistency they didn’t have. Their win in Bramlage Coliseum against Oklahoma, the top team in the country at the time, provided a lot of entertainment for a few days. Following that, the Wildcats reverted back to a losing skid. Again, this team is young. Head coach Bruce Weber has tried to guide this team through a competitive conference, but experience comes with time.
I learned a few things in my geography class. Diamonds form deep below the Earth’s surface over the course of billions of years after the boring rocks undergo intense heat and pressure. It won’t take billions of years for K-State to develop a strong basketball squad. The future of the program is already here. After a season of learning how to perform under the pressure in a power conference, this season has proved there are some good things on the way for K-State. I don’t expect much more from this season, but the future of the program is bright.
The difference between a good and great team in college basketball is winning close games.
This year’s K-State men’s basketball team is a good team, not a great team.
The Wildcats have been in almost every game this year, but they have not been able to finish them out, mainly because of lack of experience.
K-State has started a freshman in every game this season, which will provide experience in the future but is hard to capitalize on right now.
This was not as bad of a season as everyone is saying it was, though.
Sure, the Wildcats finished in the bottom of the conference, have only won four games in the Big 12 and won’t make the Big Dance, but this will be a year that will help them in the long term. There are so many returners for next year that will all be looked upon as veterans, even if they are only sophomores.
The highlight of the season was defeating then-No. 1 Oklahoma right here in Bramlage Coliseum. This was a win the Wildcats will look back on and build confidence on in the upcoming years.
The underclassmen have looked up to seniors Justin Edwards, Stephen Hurt and Brian Rohleder and have learned a lot from them.
This past offseason, freshman Dean Wade battled with Hurt, which really seemed to help him get ready for the pace of a Division I basketball game.
Unless you are Kansas, every team goes through rebuilding years, and this was clearly one of those years for the Wildcats.
I think K-State will be a force to be reckoned with before this freshman class graduates, and I wouldn’t out an NCAA Tournament run in the near future. But for this season, I think a deep run in the National Invitation Tournament will be sufficient.
You know that feeling when you meet a really cute girl and you want to ask her out? But you’re sure this girl will reject your proposal, so you don’t even get your hopes up. Then right before you ask her out, you get a false sense of confidence that she’ll say yes, only to be shot down when you finally do ask her out.
That is K-State basketball to me this season.
K-State wasn’t supposed to have a good season. With the disaster the Wildcats went through in the 2014-15 season and then the summer leading up to this season, nobody expected the Wildcats to have any sort of success.
I didn’t get my hopes up originally, then I got excited during the season and then K-State shot me down.
K-State gave us false hope often this season. The Wildcats played really well in the nonconference slate, came close to winning a lot of big conference games and even won some really big games that could have put them in the tournament. At the end of the day, however, the Wildcats have still lost 14 games so far.
It is very promising to be a young team that fought hard with the top teams in the league. It shows the Wildcats have potential and could be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.
But this season brought frustrations too.
K-State fans haven’t experienced good basketball in a while now. The longer it takes for K-State to become relevant again, the more people will get angry at players and call for Weber’s head.
This season tells me that K-State basketball is slowly getting back on the right track for success. But for the sake of Weber’s job and the sanity of this fan base, this season told me that there is not much time left to be successful again.