The scary thing about young basketball teams is you never know what you are going to get. Throughout the course of the regular season, K-State has had their fair share of youthful mistakes that have kept them out of the win column.
But if you look at the last three games of the Wildcats, the ladies might be on the verge of turning the corner from "being a young team" to "being a young team with experience."
Texas Tech should not be mistaken for one of the top teams in the country but the atmosphere and adversity around the game should be recognized and Wildcat fans should take note that Tuesday's win was no walk in the park.
K-State had been on the road since the day before the Oklahoma game. A game in which they were right in the mix and then had their hearts ripped out by a slow start to start the second half. Keep in mind, the OU game was on the heels of a loss to Oklahoma State which also proved to be heartbreaking as the Wildcats went cold at the 16 minute mark of the second half and just could not recover.
The win against Texas Tech proved this team is far from packing it in for the season and they have the intestinal fortitude to go get wins that are tougher than people think.
The success in Saturday's game against Iowa State will center around two key factors that nearly every game for the rest of the season will revolve around; out rebound the opponent and limit your turnovers.
The Kansas State Sports Information staff dug up an interesting nugget this week on the Wildcats and the good fortunes that occur when they hit the glass. Since the 2001-02 season, Kansas State owns a record of 173-22 (.887) when out-rebounding its opponent. The Wildcats have won 17 straight games when holding the edge on the boards, including a 7-0 record this season.
Seems pretty straight forward doesn't it? Also keep in mind in those seven wins the Wildcats have only turned the ball over an average of 19 times per game with 12 and 17 turnovers in their last two games.
Winning the game on the glass and not giving it away to the other team may seem like cliché answers to how the Wildcats need to get back on track but that should tell you how close this young team is to turning the corner.
They have an exciting freshman point guard in Leticia Romero and Ashia Woods is playing back to form, probably even better than before her achilles injury last season. No one is expecting the starting five of the Wildcats to all garner Big 12 postseason honors but the time is now for the team to shake their fledgling habits and begin to play like a team that has gotten 16 games under their belt.
- Saturday is pack the house night. Tickets are $1 and select concessions are $1. I'm hoping "select concessions" means "hotdogs" because I'll channel my innermost Joey Chestnut if I have to. Parents, this is a great excuse to get out of the house and let your children scream at the top of their lungs and not even get mad at them.
- K-State hasn't beaten Iowa State since January 31, 2010. Pop culture reference, Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA" was a top song on the radio. This was pre-twerk, chop off my hair, I still love my parent's Miley too. Translation: K-State needs to beat Iowa State. Secondary translation: I need to know less about Miley Cyrus.
- Seven Degrees of Small College Separation: This is kind of like the Kevin Bacon thing. As some of you may know, I spent 15 years covering small college athletics at the NAIA level. It's my belief that every coaching staff or program can be trace back to the NAIA level in less than seven steps. More than likely I'll be able to do it in less than four.
- So here is this week's seven degrees: Bill Fennelly who is a graduate of the NAIA's William Penn University coaches Iowa State. Done. But since this one is easy, I'll give you a bonus one. Fennelly's alma mater's athletic director is Greg Hafner who was a football coach and eventually superintendent at Frontenac High School in Kansas. Hafner had Frontenac in two state high school championship games and coached in two Kansas Shrine Bowls.
I realize that last note has made most of my readers go cross-eyed and now contemplate ever reading an article by be again. Seems like a good time to end.
Saturday's tip off against Iowa State is at 7 p.m.