The success of Kansas State basketball will all begin, and in all likelihood end, with how successful preseason All-American pick Jacob Pullen is at duplicating his performance of last year. Pullen (19.3 PPG, 3.4 APG, 2.6 RPG) will receive even more attention this season as he moves over to the point for head coach Frank Martin. Pullen will need some help with the scoring slack. That help is expected to come from either sophomores Nick Russell, Martavious Irving or Rodney McGruder (3.9 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 41.9 three-point FG%). Incoming freshmen Shane Southwell or Will Spradling could also earn a shot at contributing. Out of these options, Martin expects to find those second and third scoring threats to make his backcourt complete, as well as complementing the superb Pullen. Basketball odds.
With transition often comes promotion. That will be the case up front for the Wildcats as last season’s Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year Jamar Samuels (11.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 23.2 MPG) prepares to move into the starting lineup. He will team with senior forward Curtis Kelly (11.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG) the team’s top returning player on the boards as well as its second leading scorer. Kelly stepped it up during K-State’s NCAA run, averaging 15 points and 5.8 boards over four tournament games. Freddy Aspirilla, a transfer from Florida International where he averaged 13.7 PPG and 9.2 RPG as a freshman two years ago, is eligible to play for the ’Cats. Wally Judge (3.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG as a freshman) is looking forward to increasing his numbers in his sophomore season. Basketball spreads.
In three seasons as the head man in Manhattan, KS Frank Martin has twice lead the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament, averaging 24 wins per season. Last year’s second place finish in the Big 12 was the highest for the program since joining the conference. K-State ultimately was just one win away from reaching the Final Four. But if you think Martin is satisfied with his resume, think again. The fiery coach bemoans the fact that his team did not win the Big 12 and did not reach the Final Four. That’s the new normal these days in Manhattan: winning is an expectation, and so are championship dreams. With arguably the nation’s best guard in Jacob Pullen manning the point, it’s easy to believe that the Wildcats will play for conference championships, and then some, this year. Add to that the experience of Curtis Kelly and Jamar Samuels and the additional depth provided by newcomer Freddy Aspirilla and you can see why many believe this year’s team might be better. The sooner Martin finds out who will be the Robin to Pullen’s Batman in the backcourt, the better. Kansas State will play highly-ranked Gonzaga November 22 in the CBE Classic in Kansas City. A win there could set up a showdown with defending national champion Duke. Now that’s what we call an early-season measuring stick.
K-State was the ninth-best free-throw shooting team (66.8%) in the Big 12, and the eighth-best team (36%) when it came to shooting the three ball. Against non-conference opposition, Kansas State was 16-2 SU and an impressive 9-3-1 ATS. In neutral site games, the Wildcats were 8-3 SU, 5-4-1 ATS. Basketball lines.
Sportsbook.com Odds to Win NCAA Championship: 20-to-1
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