Feb 28, 2012; College Station, TX, USA; Kansas State Wildcats forward Jordan Henriquez (21) reacts against the Texas A

Big 12 Men’s Basketball Preview: Kansas State Wildcats

Last season was a good one for the Kansas State Wildcats. They finished the year with an overall record of 22-11 and a Big 12 Conference record of 10-8. Despite having eight conference losses, the only teams the Wildcats lost to were Kansas (twice), Iowa State (twice), Oklahoma (twice), Texas, and Baylor.

Kansas State lost their first game of the Big 12 Conference Tournament, but it did not hurt their chances regarding the NCAA National Tournament. They still made it into the tournament as an 8th seed. They won their first game against #9 Southern Miss, but could not beat #1 Syracuse in the 3rd Round.

The biggest move for the Wildcats this past offseason was hiring Bruce Weber as head coach. Weber was previously the head coach of the Illinois Fighting Illini, but was fired just one day after their 64-61 loss to Iowa in the Big Ten Conference Tournament.

Weber signed a 5-year contract with the Kansas State Wildcats and will earn $1.5 million during his first season as head coach. According to kstatesports.com, he will “receive a $100,000 base salary increase each year remaining on the contract.”

Two players that will be key for Weber in his first year as head coach for the Wildcats are Rodney McGruder and Jordan Henriquez. McGruder was KSU’s leading scorer last season as he averaged 15.8 points per game. He also averaged 5.2 rebounds per game and 1.2 steals per game.

Last season, he was named to the Second Team All-Big 12 and the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll. According to KSU athletics, McGruder was “one of three unanimous selections to the Preseason All-Big 12 team.”

Henriquez was second on the team last season in rebounds as he averaged 5.8 rebounds per game. He also averaged 7.6 points per game and 2.4 blocks per game (led team). He was named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team and broke KSU’s career (146) and single-season (77) marks for blocked shots.

Henriquez will need to be a defensive force again if the Wildcats want to do well this season.

Just like most teams in the Big 12 this season, the non-conference schedule does not look like a problem for the Kansas State Wildcats. They only have two major opponents during that stretch which includes: #22 Gonzaga and #10 Florida.

When it comes to their conference schedule, the question will be “Can the Wildcats overcome the top of the Big 12 and West Virginia?” Last season, the Wildcats and the Mountaineers faced off and the Mountainers won in double overtime. When it comes down to the math, last season KSU had four wins against Texas A&M and Missouri. They will most likely get two wins against TCU, but what about WVU?

KSU will most likely be 10-8 at least this year in the Big 12.

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Tags: Big 12 Bruce Weber Kansas State Wildcats Preview

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