After back-to-back upset wins, underachieving Kansas State finally showing signs of life


It’s been a tough season for Kansas State, but the ‘Cats may finally be figuring it out. (AP Photo)

By: Kels Dayton

Kansas State has to be near the top of anyone’s list of “Most Disappointing Teams” this season, falling into the “Bruce Weber Malaise Phase” in year three of Weber’s tenure in Manhattan.

Weber is a decent coach, but his teams have historically underachieved, and his voice always seems to get tuned out after a while. He’s like a carton of milk–he gets stale. That’s why he was let go at Illinois, and that’s why his hire at K-State might end up being a bad one.

After upset wins over Kanas and Iowa State, Marcus Foster and Kansas State may be turning things around. (Photo: Scott Sewell/USA Today Sports)

Marcus Foster has regressed this season, but he’s still one of the most talented guards in the country. (Photo: Scott Sewell/USA Today Sports)

But as the days get longer and February moves toward March, Weber has K-State forming into the team many thought they should be. The Wildcats upended No. 8 Kansas, 70-63, in Manhattan on Monday, and on Saturday, they literally stole a win from No. 12 Iowa State, 70-69. Wesley Iwundu came up with a big pilfer off of an inbounds pass with 18 seconds left to put the ‘Cats ahead.

Kansas State has talent–guard Marcus Foster was one of the best freshmen in the nation last season (15.5 ppg in ’13-14), and senior forward Thomas Gipson (11.1 ppg) is a load inside and should be one of the most reliable bigs in the Big XII. But the team just couldn’t get the car out of the driveway this season, having already lost 15 games, its most since 2003.

The Weber downtrend was becoming a disturbing trend in his coaching career, and he may still be on a down-curve that may eventually end with him back on the unemployment line. But at 15-15 (8-9, Big 12), K-State may be making a late push at the NIT, and with a run in that tournament, the ‘Cats can reverse the trend. It starts with Foster, who hung 34 on Texas last season and has shown the ability to score with ease. He’s regressed, and he scored just six points in the win over the Cyclones on Saturday. If he finds his game again, K-State may be able to right the ship.

The Wildcats finish off the regular season at Texas. They could finish off the Longhorns’ NCAA Tournament hopes with a win.

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