Five Reasons Why The Kansas State Wildcats Will Win The West Region

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Five Reasons Why The Kansas State Wildcats Will Win The West Region

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Peter Aiken- USA TODAY Sports

Although the Kansas State Wildcats lost in the finals of the Big 12 conference tournament to the Kansas Jayhawks, they still were able to earn a number four seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats are in the West Region, but will play their first two games close to home, in Kansas City, Mo. “You can’t be more pleased to be in Kansas City”, head Coach Bruce Weber said to The Mercury.

After a hard-fought loss in the title game, the Wildcats will be happy to have a few days off before they play on Friday. “My wish list was to play Friday, because it just gives us another day to kind of rest, get treatment, and relax,” he said Sunday.

“That was a tough time to play three nights in a row. We were tested and it took a toll on our guys.” Said Weber.

Kansas State will also have the advantage of playing a tired opponent, as they play the winner of the play-in game between the La Salle Explorers and the Boise State Broncos in Dayton, Oh.

This is Weber’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament as the Wildcats head coach after six appearances in his nine seasons at the helm for the Illinois Fighting Illini.

Weber’s coaching experience has been a big part of the Wildcats’ very good season, winning 27 games with a roster that is dominated by underclassmen. The only senior that is in the starting lineup is G Rodney McGruder, the most talented player on the team.

Although they are in the same region as the Gonzaga Bulldogs, Ohio State Buckeyes and the Wisconsin Badgers, I still think that Kansas State will win the West.

Here are five reasons why:

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Bruce Weber Is An Experienced Coach

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Brendan Maloney- USA TODAY Sports

I mentioned Bruce Weber’s coaching experience at Illinois on the previous slide, and in those six NCAA tournament appearances Weber won ten games, including a trip to the national championship game in 2005. The Wildcats are a very young team, but Weber has been there before and his leadership will be pivotal if Kansas State does anything in this tournament.

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Rodney McGruder Is An Animal

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Brad Penner- USA TODAY Sports

One of three seniors on Kansas State’s roster, Rodney McGruder has had an incredible year, averaging over 15 points per game for the second consecutive season. He also averages more than five rebounds per game, and for a player that is only 6’4” that is pretty impressive. McGruder is the undisputed leader of this team and has the ability to carry the Wildcats to the Final Four.

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Gonzaga Will Lose

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James Snook- USA TODAY Sports

It is unrealistic to think that there is any chance that the number one seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs will lose to a 16 seed in the first round, but it possible that could lose in the second round. Gonzaga has played only two legitimate opponents all season, beating the Oklahoma State Cowboys and losing to the Butler Bulldogs. If Gonzaga makes it to the Sweet Sixteen, they will be overwhelmed by Kansas State, the more talented and battle-tested team.

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They Can Pass The Ball

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Michael C. Johnson- USA TODAY Sports

Guards Will Spradling and Angel Rodriguez are the catalysts of a very potent offense that averages close to 70 points per game. This dynamic duo averages close to eight assists per game, contributing to the 16 that the Wildcats average as a team, good for 13th in the NCAA. Efficiency is another characteristic that Wildcats offense possesses, only turning the ball over 12 times per game.

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Coming In On A Hot Streak

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Kevin Jairaj- USA TODAY Sports

Momentum is always the key for any team that makes a run in the NCAA Tournament and Kansas State has it right now, winning 11 of their last 14 games heading into the tournament. The Wildcats did not lose a home game after Feb 1, and playing close to home in Kansas City, Mo, will definitely play to their advantage.

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