MBB Sooner Opponent Watch: Kansas St. Wildcats

Justin K. Aller

Lon Kruger takes his squad on the road to face a conference unbeaten Kansas St. Wildcats. Currently three teams are tied at the top of the leader board. However, today could leave just a single team at the top as the sole unbeaten in league play.

Once again, Lon Kruger will travel to a place where he has some sort of established roots. Coach Kruger is a former Wildcats himself who once garnered conference player of the year honors. Eventually, Kansas St. would retire his jersey and later bring him back as head coach. However, it would appear that Kruger has a hand up on his former team as the Oklahoma Sooners under his direction are 2-0 against the Wildcats.

While a repeat of the success that Oklahoma had against Kansas St. last season is unlikely, I still fully believe the sweep will happen.

This is a team under a first year head coach who owns a great track record in Bruce Weber. Currently, Weber has his squad out to a 14-2 start while sitting at 3-0 in conference. KSU has losses to teams currently in the top 10 and have beaten their last 10 opponents by a margin of 20.5 points. This will be a battle of the unbeaten teams as the Sooners currently sit a 3-0 in conference as well.

The key to much of Kansas St.'s succes has been found in Rodney McGruder. Expect the offense to run through this talented senior as he is averaging 22 points per game against conference foes to lead the league in the category. During that stretch McGruder has shot an astounding 54% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc. Making sure he doesn't have space to create or find an open outside look could pay dividends for Oklahoma, of course that is easier said than done.

On the season, there is no other player averaging double digits in scoring for the Wildcats outside of McGruder's 15.3 ppg. It doesn't mean there aren't other contributors though. Angel Rodriguez is adding 9 points per game while leading the team in assists at 4.3 an outing. Adding to this effort is Will Spradling who dishes out another 3.3 assists en route to 16 assists per game.

In league play, KSU is topping the conference charts in several categories including field goal percentage at 47.9%, 3-point field goal percentage at 40%, and rebound margin at +4.5. Needless to say, the Sooners have their work cut out from them this go around. However, Oklahoma will mark the best conference foe the Wildcats have faced up to this point.

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