NCAA Tournament Predictions: East Region 8. Kansas State vs. 9. Southern Mississippi

By: Kels Dayton

 Kansas State (21-10, 10-8 Big Twelve)-Frank Martin and the Wildcats are back in the tournament on the strength of some quality wins (including two over Missouri) and a 10-8 record in what many feel was the best conference in the nation this season. K-State is a tough defensive club that applies plenty of pressure on opposing guards, and relies on scoring from guard Rodney McGruder

Guard Rodney McGruder (Travis Heying/Wichita Eagle)

(15.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg).

The Wildcats are tough inside with 6-7 senior forward Jamar Samuels (10.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and 6-11 center Jordan Henriquez (7.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg),who really improved as the season went along. Henriquez scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the Cats’ loss to Baylor in the Big 12 quarterfinals.

This isn’t the same Kansas State team without point guard Jacob Pullen, who graduated last year. Still, K-State may have enough to get past Southern Miss and give Syracuse a game in Round 2.


41st Rebounds per game (37.3)

54th Assists per game (14.5)

56.2% Jordan Henriquez’ Field Goal percentage



Team stats courtesy of


 Southern Mississippi (25-8, 11-5 Conference USA)- Southern Miss was a surprise at-large selection from the committee, especially considering the cushy No. 9 seed that the Golden Eagles received. USM had some good wins (@ Colorado State, @ South Florida, @ Ole Miss, vs Memphis), and some perplexing losses (@ Houston, @ UTEP, twice in six days to Marshall), but ultimately cracked the field because it has some really good players.

Guard LaShay Page (US Presswire)

The Golden Eagles pass the proverbial eye-test with flying colors. Six players average at least 9.5 points per game, led by 5-11 guard Neil Watson, who goes for 12.2 per game.

LaShay Page and Darnell Dodson add scoring punch for the Eagles, who are led by former Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy.

This team looks like a major-conference team in terms of size and strength. When you see them in the airport, you know they play big-time basketball.


20th RPI

16th Offensive Rebounds (458)

34th Defensive Efficiency Rating (119.7)

PREDICTION: Kansas State  



Team stats courtesy of

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  1. Pingback: Bracket Breakdown: NCAA Tournament Predictions: East Region « ROUNDBALL DAILY

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