After dropping the past three games, Weber and the Wildcats are struggling to find their identity. With a 12-11 record, it’s safe to say the Cats’ tourney hopes are “on the bubble”.
Last week, the Wildcats struggled with the pesky defense of the Mountaineers. Looking at the statistics, it’s clear to see why they failed to build up momentum throughout the game. K-State turned the ball over 25 times. Clearly this was not what coach Weber was hoping for.
On Saturday, the Cats traveled down the road to Lawrence, Kansas where they faced the Jayhawks in the Sunflower Showdown. The pains continued as Marcus Foster and company allowed the Jayhawks to cruise out of the gate with a 20-5 run. The Cats showed improvement with ball security, only turning the ball over seven times. However, the struggles came with shooting the basketball. In the first half the Cats were 6-for-35 from the field, which marked one of the worst first half shooting performances in school history. They managed a turnaround in the second half, but it wasn’t enough against a young and talented Kansas team.
On Wednesday night, the Cats traveled to Lubbock, Texas for a midweek matchup against the Red Raiders. Coach Weber made the announcement just before the game that players Marcus Foster and Malek Harris were suspended indefinitely. Weber didn’t give much detail on the suspension, but did say that the players violated team rules.
The loss of Foster proved costly for the Wildcats as they were gunned down by the Red Raiders 64-47. Thomas Gipson led the team in scoring with 13 points.
Now with three straight losses, the recent struggles for the Cats have been extremely disappointing. The suspension of Foster marks a low point in the season. As one of the faces of the basketball program, Foster let his team down as well as the K-State fan base. It will be interesting to hear the details of the suspension during the next few days. Then again, maybe we won’t hear anything?
It’s easy to become skeptical with all the negatives surrounding the basketball program, but don’t write off the Cats just yet. This team isn’t going to give in and watch their season go down the drain. If Foster’s absence is prolonged, this will provide an opportunity for players like Nino Williams and Justin Edwards to take on lead roles.
There are plenty of incentives to motivate the Cats through this final stretch of the season. Of the eight remaining games, seven of them will be against teams currently ranked in the top 25. This includes an opportunity to avenge the loss to the rival Jayhawks. In addition, the Big 12 tournament will provide one last opportunity to build up the resumé.
Now in his third season at Kansas State, Weber is 2-for-2 in reaching the NCAA tournament. Wildcat fans have come to expect trips to the big dance, dating back to the Frank Martin era. Going forward, Weber and Cats need to put the past behind them. Limiting turnovers and finding an offensive rhythm will be focus points for the remainder of the season. With their backs against the wall, it will be interesting to see if Weber can rally his team to salvage the season.