Tye with Bring on the Cats SBN's K-State Blog took some time out to answer a few a questions about today's first round game of the tournament. Our answers to his questions can be found here. Many Thanks to A0 for his contributions on these questions.
On a side note, for those interested, I will try to have some thoughts on today's game but I am just getting killed at work so the past few days have been difficult for posting. Thanks for your patience.
1. For SC, we almost always lose if the opposing teams can get offensive rebounds consistently, what is K-State's game-deciding strengths/flaws?
Our potential rebounding advantage is the one thing that gives me hope. Michael Beasley hits the glass hard, and the rest of the team takes pride in rebounding. Our keys to playing well are getting second chances on offense, getting the ball to Beasley, and attacking the basket rather than chucking it from the cheap seats. One stat K-Staters always like to see is when our team has more free throw than three-point attempts.
Our most obvious offensive weakness is shooting the ball from the outside. When we run our offense and get good looks, we can knock them down, but too often our guards or Bill Walker will take difficult, contested three-pointers. The other major weakness, especially lately, has been man-to-man defense. In an attempt to play pressuring m-to-m, we often extend our defense needlessly and give up easy baskets on backdoor cuts and penetration-passing.
2. Who will guard Dwight Lewis at 3 spot? Athletic defender? Please describe.
Our best defender is Dominique Sutton, and he often plays at the 3, so there is a very good chance he will guard Lewis. He is long and athletic at 6'5", 205 pounds, and would probably lead the team in steals if he had played the entire season (he wasn't eligible until December). A heated topic of discussion among K-Staters this week has been whether he will guard O.J. Mayo or someone else. I think we're better off putting Clent Stewart or Jacob Pullen on Mayo and letting Sutton handle Lewis.
The only problem with Sutton is he's still an offensive liability. He cannot make a jump shot yet and probably won't attempt one. He scores his points off steals and occasionally by slashing to the hoop.
3. What type of defense will K-State run and who will they likely key in on?
Frank Martin has been a stubborn man-to-man coach this year. On occasion, he will mix in a 3-2 look, which has been pretty effective. Against teams with mediocre guards, we've also seen that 3-2 look extended into a half-court or three-quarter court trap, but with Mayo at the controls, USC is unlikely to see that. Unless you are absolutely killing us inside, I doubt we'll play much zone.
The obvious answer is we'll key in on Mayo, but I doubt we'll do any more than make sure he doesn't get uncontested outside shots or free drives to the basket.
4. This one is obvious but will Michael Beasley turn pro?
In my opinion, it's a foregone conclusion that he will turn pro. Beasley is still saying all the right things, and seems honest in his statements that he loves college and Manhattan. But really, what else can he say? If he says he's going pro no matter what and he hates college and the backwoods town (note: that's not my opinion of Manhattan) he's stuck in, he would be pretty much hated by all K-State fans. Not to mention, if he had said that all along and then got hurt, it would have been really unpleasant to come back to those same fans the next year.
If he does turn pro, no hard feelings here and I wish him nothing but the best. I wouldn't be able to turn down $8 million to play a game I love, either.
5. A bit off topic but who do think will win the regional and do you any upsets? (Other than the possibility of KSU beating USC)
Most will probably look at my pick and think I'm insane, which given my history in bracket contests is probably a pretty good bet. But I have Wisconsin going to the Final Four out of the Midwest. Say what you want about the Big 10 being down and I'll probably agree with you, but Wisconsin is a solid team with a good coach. They have the ability to force their meat-grinder style on other teams and know how to win tough, hard-fought games.
My upset special in the Midwest: Davidson going to the Sweet 16. Go ahead and change your brackets to make sure they lose in the first round and Georgetown goes to the Final Four, because the fact that I picked Davidson almost ensures both those things will happen.
And just because we're playing you guys again, I can't forget to mention my favorite t-shirt from the K-State/USC football game in Manhattan in 2002: "Our Willie is too big for your Trojans." (If you don't want to put that on your site, I completely understand. Willie is our mascot, in case you were wondering.)
Good Luck Tye!!