Kansas State Preview

Cal State Fullerton (3-0) is on the road to face Kansas State at Bramlage Coliseum Wednesday night. The Titans are coming off a close win at South Dakota on Monday night. (Photos by Bryan Crowe)

From the Releases

 Kansas State Scouting Report

Strengths: Guard play; Athleticism; Defense; Cartier Martin
Weaknesses: Front court

Kansas State continues its challenging early season schedule, as the Wildcats face their fourth consecutive unbeaten squad in surging Cal State Fullerton (3-0).  The preseason pick to win the Big West title, the Titans are 3-0 for the first time since 1989-90.  The Wildcats are 2-0 all-time against Fullerton, earning home wins in 1967 (103-54) and 1998 (72-51).  

K-State will be looking to continue its success against pre-conference competition, as the Wildcats have posted a 27-2 (.931) record in the last three-plus years at home against non-league foes.  Head coach Jim Wooldridge is 42-18 (.700) against non-conference teams in his tenure at K-State, including an impressive 39-6 (.867) mark at home.  The Wildcats have won 14 of their last 15 against non-league teams.

A Quick Look at the Wildcats
Kansas State advanced to 3-0 for the second consecutive season, as the Wildcats moved to 9-0 at home against teams from the Southland Conference with their 71-54 win over Stephen F. Austin.  Fresh off its emotional 16-point comeback over New Mexico on Wednesday, the Wildcats used a strong defensive effort in the win over the Lumberjacks.  K-State held Stephen F. Austin to just 54 points (28 under its season average of 82.0 ppg.) on just 39.7 percent shooting with 17 turnovers.  It marked the first time since the 1984-85 season that the Wildcats have held their first three opponents to 59 points or less.  

The Wildcats are averaging 74.0 points per game on 48.4 percent shooting (75-of-155) with 39.7 rebounds, 19.7 assists, 3.7 steals and 4.3 blocks, while foes are averaging 56.0 points on 36.3 percent shooting.  Junior guard Cartier Martin continues to pace the Wildcats in both scoring and rebounding with averages of 23.3 points and 9.7 rebounds.  Sophomore guard David Hoskins is the only other Wildcat in double figure scoring at 14.7 points on a team-best 66.7 percent shooting with 5.3 rebounds. 

Projected Starters (Kansas State)

No. Name PPG RPG APG
3 Lance Harris (G, 6-5, 190, Jr.) 8.0 1.0 2.0
5 Clent Stewart (G, 6-4, 195, So.) 7.3 3.0 3.7
20 Cartier Martin (G, 6-7, 220, Jr.) 23.3 9.7 3.3
21 Dramane Diarra (F, 6-8, 245, Sr.) 4.3 2.7 0.7
34 Akeem Wright (G, 6-6, 190, Jr.) 7.7 6.0 2.0

Projected Starters (Cal State Fullerton)

No. Name PPG RPG APG
3 Bobby Brown (G, 6-2, 170, Jr.) 17.3 2.7 4.3
14 Jermaine Harper (G, 6-3, 170, Sr.) 4.7 1.7 2.7
33 Jerard Moret (G, 6-4, 200, Fr.) 9.3 7.0 0.3
1 Jamaal Brown (F, 6-7, 235, Sr.) 19.0 7.3 1.3
5 Justin Burns  (F, 6-7, 205, Jr.) 8.3 7.3 0.3

Junior Cartier Martin joined elite company in Kansas State’s basketball lore, as he became the first Wildcat to register 20 or more points in the first three games of a season since Willie Murrell did it to start the 1963-64 season. 

Of note, if Martin is able to post 20 or more points against Cal State Fullerton, he will become the first player in Kansas State history to do in the first four games of a season. 

Doing it with Defense  
Much of the credit for Kansas State’s 3-0 start should go to the team’s defensive effort.  The Wildcats have held their first three opponents to just 56.0 points on 36.3 percent shooting, including 27.3 percent from three-point range.  It marked the first time since the 1984-85 season that the team has held its first three opponents to 59 points or less per game.  The 56.0-points per game average is also the lowest by a Wildcat team since the 1987-88 squad held its first three foes to 54.7 points.  The team has also out-rebounded its first three foes by average of 11.7 per game and has forced an average of 13.7 turnovers.

What K-State Thinks... (The Book on Cal State Fullerton)
One of the most athletic teams in the country, Cal State Fullerton enters Wednesday’s game with a 3-0 record for the first time since the 1989-90 season.  The Titans opened its two-game road swing through the Midwest with an 82-70 win over South Dakota State on Monday night. Cal State Fullerton, which is averaging 85.0 points per game on the season, had five players scoring in double figures in the win led by junior Bobby Brown’s 17 points and senior Jamaal Brown’s 15.  The Titans opened the season with a pair of victories at home, a 97-52 win over NAIA Hope International on Nov. 20 and a 76-66 win over Pepperdine on Nov. 23.    Picked to win the Big West by league coaches and media, Cal State Fullerton returns three starters and seven lettermen from a team that advanced all the way to the third round of the NIT with a 21-11 overall record last season, including a 12-6 record in the Big West.  The Titans, who posted their winning record in 12 seasons, tallied its second-highest win total in school history, while advancing to the postseason for the first time since 1987.  In addition to its first postseason bid since 1978, CSF recorded its best league record since 1982-83 and its highest finish since 1984-85.  The Titans led the Big West in scoring at 75.2 points and shattered school marks with 253 3-point field goals and 716 3-point attempts.    

Senior forward Jamaal Brown and junior guard Bobby Brown are the top returning players for Cal State Fullerton in 2005-06. Both honorable mention All-Big West Conference selections, Bobby Brown averaged a team-leading 16.8 points and 4.7 assists and Jamaal Brown posted 12.4 points and a team-leading 7.6 rebounds during the 2004-05 season.  Head coach Bob Burton has a 35-28 record in his third season at Cal State Fullerton.  An ultra-successful junior college coach, Burton won eight league championships at West Valley Community College and posted a 488-158 mark in 21 seasons. 

TitanCentral.com Analysis

ESPN's Doug Gottlieb seems to know talent as evidenced by his praise of Cal State Fullerton point guard Bobby Brown. Gottlieb claims LB is a "much better pro prospect than UCLA's Jordan Farmar." Kansas State appears to have a player of their own to brag about.

According to Gottlieb, "Cartier Martin is the best Big 12 player you likely have never heard of. He was recruited by everyone and shocked them all to choose the 'Little Apple.'"

To win Cal State Fullerton must play better defense and it all starts with Bobby Brown. LB played only 28 minutes against South Dakota State and that was due to the fact that his man, Matt Cadwell, was scoring left and right for a game-high 26 points. In the game before, Pepperdine's PG Michael Gerrity scored 19. LB won't be asked to cover Martin but he will need to step up his game in this area.

The Titans must out-hustle the taller Wildcats. When the schedule came out this was the game I am sure most players were looking forward to playing. On the road, hostile environment, Big XII, TV game. This is the best non-conference opponent the Titans will be facing this year and it's safe to say the Titans will be up for this one.

Expect (again) big games from the UPS delivery boys, Jamaal Brown and Bobby Brown. Jermaine Harper is also a seasoned veteran who will need to hit at least three from the outside. Jerard Moret will have another solid game and Justin Burns will get some early fouls but will settle into the flow as the game moves on. I am rooting in a big way for Frank Robinson to make a huge impact but I have to admit, there is no doubt head coach Bob Burton is making the right decision in his case. Bring him along as slow as he needs and he will be a force come conference time, if not sooner.

As for the front court, I'm not sold on Adam Tancredi yet, especially with what looks to be a very quick K-State lineup, but if he continues to put up the numbers, it's hard to question this move. Gary Nunez needs more time but obviously he is not getting the offense as he was pulled very quickly at SDSU. Not sure one rest day will solve this problem. Don't give up on Nunez though, he will make the necessary adjustments.

Better defense and less than 15 turnovers should make this game close. If we have a shot to win in the last two minutes, I like our chances.