K-State men’s basketball team ready for No. 13 West Virginia

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Senior forward Wesley Iwundu looks to pass during the basketball game between K-State and KU in Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 6, 2017. (Emily Starkey | The Collegian)

The Kansas State men’s basketball team went into their game against Baylor last Saturday on a three-game losing streak. Things looked bleak with three straight games against top-15 teams on the docket for the Wildcats.

But fast forward to today and the Wildcats are likely to feel much better about how their season is going. K-State upset then-No. 2 Baylor on that day and played No. 3 Kansas down to the wire on Monday. They looked like a very good basketball team for much of those two games.

They will have a chance to keep their good play going and perhaps make a statement when they take on No. 13 West Virginia Saturday on the road.

Of course, it will not be easy coming off of a tough loss against bitter rival Kansas. The Wildcats held a 12-point lead at one point in that game and played the Jayhawks all night, but were not able to keep up in the final minutes. However, the Wildcats are not hanging their heads after the loss.

“I wish I could have got this one tonight, but we are moving forward,” senior forward Wesley Iwundu said. “We still have some games left in the season and still have a lot of things to accomplish. I am just looking toward the future and putting this one past me.”

There were still some positives to take away from the game, especially the play of sophomore forward Dean Wade. Wade faced some injury problems during the Wildcats’ losing streak but has since healed, and his play has vastly improved. Wade scored 12 points to go along with six rebounds against Baylor and played even better against Kansas, going for 20 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Wade’s ability to create mismatches with his size and shooting ability has driven his success and is a big reason why he is so important to this team.

“My coaches and teammates have been telling me if I get a big guy, go outside,” Wade said. “If it is a guard, post him up and use my post moves.”

Wade will have to deal with more size and pressure against West Virginia than in recent games, though the Mountaineers are coming off of an inconsistent week. The Mountaineers fell victim to the upset last Saturday against Oklahoma State, and didn’t play particularly well against last-place Oklahoma Wednesday night, despite pulling out the win.

However, West Virginia is a very dangerous team at home; they have lost just two games there all season. The crowd noise helps feed their pressure defense that forces the most turnovers in the nation, averaging more than 22 a game.

The Wildcats and Mountaineers will tip off at 11 a.m. Saturday in Morgantown, West Virginia. The game can be seen on ESPN.

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I am a senior in Journalism. I like sports and things.