Why the Kansas State Wildcats’ Upset Meant More Than the Temple Owls’ on Saturday
Sound the alarms…or, trombones in this case.
Don’t get me wrong, the Owls got a big win against the Orange and it may have been in a more dramatic fashion, but the Kansas State Wildcats‘ 67-61 upset win over the Florida Gators had the most significance.
Sure, Khalif Wyatt and Anthony Lee combined for 54 points for Temple but that’s precisely the point.
The Orange were beaten by a Temple team that started three seniors, whereas the Gators fell a K-State squad with three seniors on the entire team.
The Owls also have the benefit of a system of longevity, having coach Fran Dunphy for the past six seasons, while Bruce Weber is in his first season at the helm of the Wildcats. That also means Weber isn’t dealing with his own recruits, either. The fact that his team was able to function as such a strong, cohesive unit to beat a Top 10 team speaks volumes about the quality of players (and coaching) in Manhattan, Kan.
Rodney McGruder and Will Spradling combined for 30 points, while five other players scored at least four points.
More on Florida’s bench woes in Taylor Sturm’s article, here.
Another point about the Owls’ win, it could’ve been so much better. Defensive lapses in the lane allowed Syracuse to get to the foul line 34 times, putting up 19 points from the charity stripe. The Wildcats gave up only 10 points on 15 free-throw attempts.
The Owls also had trouble following the hot hand. Temple held Syracuse’s leading-scorer, James Sutherland, (15 ppg) to six points, but Brandon Triche (14 ppg) went off for 17 and C.J. Fair (12 ppg) led all scorers with 25.
While Florrida’s Patric Young nearly doubled his season average with 19 points, Kansas State held Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario to 11 and six points, respectively, when both average 12.
Temple may have bested a team led by the immortal Jim Boeheim on an unreal night for Wyatt (33 points, 15-15 FTs), Kansas State beat the Gators with team basketball.
Mike Gillmeister can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter: @mgillmei