K-State Returns Home Sunday to Face USC Upstate

Senior Rodney McGruder ranks 15th on the all-time scoring list with 1,095 points.

Nov. 30, 2012

Game Notes  |  Live Stats  |  Live Audio   

Game 7
Kansas State (5-1, 0-0 Big 12) vs. USC Upstate (3-4, 0-0 Atlantic Sun)
Sunday, December 2, 2012 * 1:10 p.m. CT *
Manhattan, Kan. * Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)

Television: FOX Sports Midwest/FOX College Sports
Ben Boyle (play-by-play); Stan Weber (analyst)
Channel Directory: DirecTV 671, Dish 418, AT&T U-verse 748
HD Channel Directory: DirecTV 671-1, Dish 418-1, AT&T 1748
Internet: www.K-StateHD.TV

Radio: K-State Sports Network
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play); Matt Walters (analyst)
Satellite Radio: None

Live Stats: http://www.kstatesports.com/multimedia/ksu-gt-live-stats.html
Live Audio: www.k-statesports.com/allaccess (free)
Twitter Updates: twitter.com/kstate_gameday

K-State vs. USC Upstate: First meeting
Bruce Weber vs. USC Upstate: First meeting
K-State vs. Atlantic Sun: 8-0 (8-0 at home)

--/rv Kansas State (5-1, 0-0 Big 12)
Head coach: Bruce Weber (Wisconsin-Milwaukee ‘78)
School Record: 5-1 (1st season)  * Career Record: 318-156 (15th season)  * vs. USCU: 0-0 

USC Upstate (3-4, 0-0 Atlantic Sun)
Head coach: Eddie Payne (Wake Forest ‘73)
School Record: 144-163 (11th season)  * Career Record: 404-396 (28th season)  * vs. K-State: 0-0

The Game
Kansas State (5-1) returns to the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum on Sunday afternoon, as the Wildcats play host to Atlantic Sun opponent USC Upstate (3-4) at 1 p.m.  K-State, which is 8-0 against the Atlantic Sun Conference, has won 25 consecutive non-conference home games in the month of December and boost a 36-1 (.973) mark in the month at Bramlage Coliseum the past 10 seasons with the last loss coming to Rutgers (76-66) on Dec. 28, 2004.  The squad will return to the court on Sunday for the first time since dropping a 71-57 decision to No. 4/4 Michigan in the NIT Season Tip-Off Championship game on Nov. 23.  The eight-day lay-off is the longest stretch between games after playing eight games (including two exhibition games) in a 25-day period to start the season.  The Wildcats have been able to practice seven times in those eight days, where they have been able to work on deficiencies found in New York.  After averaging 81.2 points on 44.2 percent shooting in its first four games, the team averaged just 61.5 points on 37.6 percent shooting against Delaware and Michigan.  The team also allowed 67 points on 48.2 percent shooting in those games after yielding a Big 12-best 47 points on 31.4 percent shooting in the first four games.  K-State still ranks among the Top 5 in 16 categories in the Big 12, including first in scoring margin (+21.0), offensive rebounds (18.5), assists (16.7), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (22.4), while the team is in the Top 20 nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (sixth), scoring defense (16) and rebounding margin (17), .  The team is getting contributions from a variety of players with 10 players averaging at least five points and nine averaging at least three rebounds per game. 

Season tickets as well as a variety of other ticket packages are available for K-State men’s basketball by calling the Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 221.CATS or by visiting online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets.  Single-game tickets for the seven non-conference contests are priced as low as $20 (bench).  A Wildcat 4 Pack (four bench tickets for $60) and group tickets ($10 each for 12+) are also available, while there is a five-game KU Mini-Plan (two non-conference and two Big 12  games to go with KU game for $250).  A limited number of single-game tickets for the nine-game Big 12 schedule went on sale Nov. 19. 

Television Note
Sunday’s game will be the fourth of seven broadcasts that will be available on most of the FOX Sports Midwest footprint, which includes more than six million cable and satellite homes in five states -- Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois.  Most games will also be simulcast live on one of three FOX College Sports (FCS) national networks, which reach more than 60 million homes.  Outside the footprint of the FOX distribution platforms, these games will also be available for the first time on K-StateHD.TV.

The Opponent
USC Upstate (3-4), coming off its best season since entering the Division I ranks, returns 10 lettermen, including all five starters, from a squad that posted a 21-13 overall record and a trip to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament in 2011-12.  The Spartans return the Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year in Torrey Craig (16.4 ppg., 7.7 rpg.) as well as the league’s Freshman of the Year in Ty Greene (11.4 ppg.).  The team has won back-to-back games, including a come-from-behind 73-71 win at UNC Asheville on Thursday night, after dropping four of their first five games.  For the season, USC Upstate is averaging 70.1 points on 45.8 percent shooting, including 33.1 percent from 3-point range, while allowing opponents 65.7 points on a 44.7 percent clip.  Craig continues to pace the team in scoring at 18.6 points per game on 51 percent shooting, while sophomores Adrian Rodgers and Ty Greene add 12 and 10.4 points per game, respectively.  The squad is led by veteran coach Eddie Payne, who has won over 400 games in his career, which includes stints at East Carolina and Oregon State.  Last season, he was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year as well as the winner of the Hugh Durham  Award, as the top mid-major coach in the country.

Sunday’s game will mark the  first meeting between the two schools on the hardwood, but the second against an Atlantic Sun opponent this season after the 74-55 win over North Florida on Nov. 18.  K-State is 8-0 from the Atlantic Sun Conference teams with all eight wins coming at home, including Mercer (89-60) in 1997, Lipscomb in 2002 (88-64) and 2003 (92-57), Belmont (66-62) in 2005, Kennesaw State (82-54) in 2006 and North Florida (100-76) in 2010, (79-68) in overtime in 2011 and (74-55) in 2012.  The average margin of victory in these eight meetings with the Atlantic Sun has been 24.8 points. 

Recapping the Big Apple
Kansas State finished as the runner-up in the NIT Season Tip-Off, defeating No. 8 seed Delaware, 66-63, in the semifinals before falling to top-seed and No. 4/4 Michigan, 71-57, in the championship game.  The Wildcats were able to hold off the pesky Blue Hens in the first game, as junior Will Spradling knocked down all of his four free throws in the last 22 seconds to cap a stellar game of 12 points, seven assists (and zero turnovers), six rebounds and two steals in 33 minutes.  The win was not only significant to advance the team to the title game, but also gave the Wildcats their first in five tries at Madison Square Garden, a streak which dates back to the original Garden and the 1948 Holy Cross.  Delaware, which was picked second in the preseason Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) poll, proved tough and never back down from a much-deeper K-State team.  The Wildcats built an 11-point lead with just under eight minutes to play before the Blue Hens cut the deficit to two points on three occasions, including 60-58 with 1:23 remaining.  Sophomores Angel Rodriguez and Thomas Gipson also finished with 12 points against Delaware.  In the title game, the Wolverines broke open a tight game with eight straight points to start the second half.  The remarkably efficient Michigan offense was the story of the contest, as the team connected on 51.8 percent of its field goals, including 54.5 percent in the second half, while K-State shot just 36. 7 percent from the field, including 22.2 percent from 3-point range.  Senior Rodney McGruder scored 14 of his team-high 16 points in the second half, while Rodriguez added 10 points and a team-high six assists.  Rodriguez was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 11 points and 5.5 assists in two games. 

In the four-game NIT Season Tip-Off tournament, the Wildcats averaged 72.2 points on 42.6 percent shooting, including 37.3 percent from 3-point range, with 41.0 rebounds, 17.0 assists, 8.0 steals and 3.8 blocks per game.  The squad allowed just 53.8 points on 39.2 percent shooting, including 24.6 percent from 3-point range.  Rodriguez led all scorers at 12.8 points per game to go with a team-best 5.3 assists, while McGruder and Spradling averaged 11 and 9.8 points per game, respectively.  

Balanced Attack
K-State has proven to be a balanced team across the board with 10 players averaging five or more points, including just two in double figures, and nine averaging three or more rebounds per game.  Sophomore Angel Rodriguez (11.0 ppg.) and senior Rodney McGruder (11.0 ppg.) are the only Wildcats to average in double figures.  The team has seen seven different players collect 18 double-digit scoring games with Rodriguez leading the way with five.  Sophomore Thomas Gipson and freshman D.J. Johnson are tied for the lead in rebounding at 6.0 per game, while senior Jordan Henriquez is a close third at 5.3 rebounds per game.  Rodriguez has dished out a team-best 29 assists to go with a team-leading 11 3-pointers, while junior Will Spradling is first in steals (10) and free throw percentage (10-of-10).  In all, five players have double-digit assists and 10 have at least three steals.  The Wildcats have had five different scoring leaders (with Rodriguez leading twice) and seven different leading rebounders (with Johnson leading twice).  Weber has played 12 of 13 eligible players (two are redshirting) in three of the six games with players posting more than 20 minutes of action 16 times, including 30 or more minutes on four occasions.  In all, only three players - McGruder (25.5 mpg.), Spradling (25.3) and Rodriguez (21.7) - are averaging more than 20 minutes for the season.

On the Defensive
Despite the coaching change, K-State has continued to be one of the best defensive teams in the Big 12 Conference, where the squad currently ranks second in scoring defense at 53.7 points per game.  In all, the Wildcats rank among the league’s Top 5 in five categories, including first in 3-point field goal percentage defense (22.4), second in turnover margin (+5.3), rebounding (44.3) and rebounding margin (+10.8), fourth in steals (8.3) and fifth in field goal percentage defense (37.0).  The 322 points yielded through the first six games are the fewest in the shot clock era (1985-86) and the fewest since the 1982-83 squad allowed just 321 points (53.5 ppg.) through the first six games.  The defensive effort was nearly historic in the 87-26 win over Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 13, as the 26 points allowed were one shy of the Bramlage Coliseum record of 25 set against Savannah State on Jan. 7, 2008.  The Chargers’ 16.4 field goal percentage (9-of-55) was only surpassed by Savannah State’s 15.5 percentage. 

Protecting the Ball
Head coach Bruce Weber made ball security a big emphasis after a turnover-plagued trip to Brazil and so far those efforts are paying off, as K-State ranks first in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4) and second in turnover margin (+5.3).  The squad ranks in the Top 25 nationally in both categories, including 20th in turnover margin and 21st in assist-to-turnover ratio.  Through the first six games, the Wildcats have produced a Big 12-low 11.8 turnovers per game (tied with West Virginia), while forcing its opponents into an average of 17.2 turnovers (second-most in the Big 12 to Texas Tech).  The team has 14 or fewer turnovers in five of six games, including just six against No. 4/4 Michigan on Nov. 23, while they have forced their opponents into 19 or more turnovers three times, including a season-high 26 by Lamar on Nov. 12.  K-State has also capitalizing on its opponent’s mistakes, averaging 18.2 points off of turnovers, while allowing opponents to score just 8.5 points per game on its miscues.

Protecting the Ball, Part 2
All but four Wildcats have an even or positive assist-to-turnover ratio this season, including its four primary ball-handlers (Angel Rodriguez, Martavious Irving, Shane Southwell and Will Spradling) combining for 72 assists to 26 turnovers (2.8 ratio).  The current ratio is nearly double for the quartet after posting a 1.4 ratio (302 assists to 211 turnovers) as a group in 2011-12.  Rodriguez ranks second in the Big 12 (to Baylor’s Pierre Jackson) in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.4 with 29 assists to 12 turnovers, a notable improvement after posting a 1.2 ratio (101 assists to 85 turnovers) as a freshman in 2011-12.  Spradling, who led the team with a 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio a season ago, has been even better so far as a junior, collecting a 5.7 ratio with 17 assists to just three turnovers.  Irving has also doubled his ratio (3.0 to 1.5) as a senior with 15 assists to just five turnovers.  

Points Off Turnovers
A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams were their ability to score points off of opponent’s mistakes and Bruce Weber has continued that legacy in his first season.  The Wildcats are out-scoring their opponents, 109-51 (an average of 18.2 points), through the first six games in points off of turnovers, including a 34-7 edge over Lamar on Nov. 12.  The team is forcing their opponents into 17.2 turnovers per game, including a season-high 26 by Lamar, while only turning the ball over an average of 11.8 times per game.  The +5.3 turnover margin and 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio are both in the Top 25 nationally.  In Martin’s five seasons, the Wildcats scored 3,081 points off of 2,763 turnovers in 169 games - an average of 18.2 points per game.  Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in that five-year period came off of offense generated from turnovers.  The school has scored 500 or more points off of opponent turnovers in six straight seasons, including 577 (17.5 average per game) in 2011-12.

Rebounding Prowess
Kansas State has taken advantage of its rebounding skills this season, averaging 32.3 points in the paint and 16.3 points off of second-chance opportunities.  The Wildcats rank second in the Big 12 with an average of 44.3 rebounds per game, including a league-best 18.5 on the offensive end, and have out-rebounded their foes by a 266-201 margin.  The squad’s +10.8 rebounding margin ranks second in the Big 12.  The team has collected 40 or more rebounds in four of its first six games, including a season-best 55 vs. Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 13, which included 42 defensive boards, which ties for the second-most in school history and the most since also posting 42 against Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 16, 1998.  The squad has finished among the Top 5 in the Big 12 in rebounding in each of the last five season, including first in 2007-08 and 2008-09, while it has led the league in offensive rebounds for five consecutive years, including a school-record 559 in 2009-10.  K-State has tallied 700 or more defensive rebounds in each of the last six seasons, including 756 in 2011-12, which ranks ninth in school history.  The team has had players grabbed at least five rebounds in a game 22 times this season, including four posting at least eight boards vs. North Florida on Nov. 18.

Bench Production
Adding to the K-State’s balanced attack is the production it’s getting from its bench, where the Wildcats are averaging 33.2 points this season, including a 199-101 edge over opponents.  The team has collected at least 20 points from its bench in five of the last six games, including a season-best 45 points vs. North Dakota on Nov. 9.  Reserves have scored nearly half of the team’s points in four of six games with Thomas Gipson tying for the scoring lead twice (North Dakota and Delaware) and Shane Southwell leading the way with a career-best 16 points off the bench vs. Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 13.  The rebounding leader has come from the bench in five of six games with D.J. Johnson posting the team-high vs. North Dakota (nine) and Lamar (eight), Southwell recording a career-high nine boards vs. UAH, Adrian Diaz with a career-best 10 vs. North Florida and Gipson tying Will Spradling for the rebounding lead (six) vs. Delaware.  Over 55 percent (149) of the rebounding total has come from its bench.

Improvement from Free Throw Line
Although its scoring average dropped 6.5 points from 81.2 to 74.7 points during its trip to New York, K-State did make strides from the free throw line, where the squad knocked down 72.4 percent (21-of-29) to improve their season percentage to 67.8.  The Wildcats knocked down 12-of-14 opportunities in the 66-63 win over Delaware, including 4-of-4 by junior Will Spradling in the last 22 seconds.  Spradling is a perfect 10-of-10 on the season, which has raised his career free throw percentage to 83.3 (135-of-162) -- the second-highest in school history behind Steve Henson’s 90 percent (361-of-401; 1986-90).  Sophomore Angel Rodriguez knocked down 8-of-9 free throws during the two-game New York trip, giving him a 86.7 percentage (13-of-15) for the season.  In all, eight players are connecting on 70 percent or better from the line.

Quick Starts
K-State has used quick starts in two of their first six games to jump out to big leads, helping the Wildcats hold a 217-133 edge at halftime.  The squad jumped out to 15-0 lead on Lamar on Nov. 12 en route to a 43-15 advantage at halftime, while they broke out to a 19-2 lead on Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 13 en route to a 47-11 advantage at the break.  The team led by as many as 17 in the first half against North Florida before leading as many as 30 in the second half.  The 36-point halftime lead vs. UAH tied for the largest in Bramlage Coliseum history, tying a 55-19 lead over Kennesaw State on Dec. 17, 2006.  The only game the Wildcats didn’t jump out to a big lead - the opener vs. North Dakota on Nov. 9 - they broke open a one-point game with a 10-2 run right before the half to take a 36-27 edge at the break.   The advantage ballooned to as many as 35 in the second half, as the Wildcats outscored UND, 49-25, on 53.1 percent shooting.  K-State has led by as many as 30 points in each of its first four games.

Rodriguez’s Improved Play
Sophomore Angel Rodriguez has really stepped up his play in 2012-13, as he paces K-State in scoring (11.0 ppg.), 3-point field goals (11) and assists (4.8 apg.), while he is second in field goals (21) and free throw percentage (86.7).  He has helped the Wildcats rank first in the Big 12 in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, while he places second individually in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.4) and fourth in assists.  He has scored in double figures a team-best five times in six games, including a career-best 19 points vs. Lamar on Nov. 12.  He has nearly doubled his assist-to-turnover ratio, going from 1.2 as a freshman to his current tally.

McGruder Named Preseason Candidate for Naismith, Wooden Awards 
Senior Rodney McGruder has been selected as a preseason candidate for two of the most prestigious awards in college basketball, as he was named one of 50 preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award by the Los Angeles Athletic Club on Nov. 8 before he was selected to the early season watch list for the Naismith Trophy by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Nov. 12.  The preseason lists, which reflects the early frontrunners for two of basketball’s Premier Player of the Year awards, is based on last year’s individual performance and team records.  McGruder becomes the first Wildcat named to the preseason list for both awards since teammate Jacob Pullen was selected in 2010.  One of just three unanimous Preseason All-Big 12 selections, McGruder looks to build on an impressive junior campaign, in which, he led the Wildcats in 11 categories, including scoring (15.8 ppg.), double-figure scoring (28), field goals (188), 3-point field goals (50) and free throws (97).  He was one of six Big 12 players selected to the Wooden list, which included Baylor’s Pierre Jackson, Kansas’ Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey and OSU’s Le’Bryan Nash, while he was one of five Big 12 players on the Naismith list, including Jackson, Withey, Kansas’ Ben McLemore and OSU’s Marcus Smart.

McGruder Named to Preseason All-Big 12 Team
Senior Rodney McGruder was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Big 12 team released by the conference office on Oct. 4.  McGruder, who was an All-Big 12 Second Team selection in 2011-12, was one of three unanimous picks by the league’s head coaches, joining Kansas’ Jeff Withey and Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash.  The final two spots on the team went to Baylor’s Pierre Jackson and Texas’ Myck Kabongo.  Jackson was voted as the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year by the coaches, while Oklahoma’s Amath M’Baye and Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart were the Preseason Newcomer and Freshman of the Year.  McGruder is the first player named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team since Jacob Pullen was named to the squad along with garnering Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year honors in 2010-11.  It marks just the third time that a Wildcat student-athlete (Manny Dies in 1998-99, Pullen and Curtis Kelly in 2010-11) has been selected to the preseason team.  McGruder is of only three returning Big 12 players to have ranked in the Top 20 in both scoring and rebounding in 2011-12.

Weber Era Opens with a Win
K-State opened the Bruce Weber Era with a dominate 85-52 victory over North Dakota on Nov. 9.  The Wildcats broke open a one-point game with a 10-2 run to end the first half then used stellar shooting (53.1%) in the second half to post its 10th straight season-opening win.  Eleven players scored in the contest, including four in double figures, led by 13 points each from  sophomores Thomas Gipson and Angel Rodriguez.  The squad is now 85-24 all-time in season openers, including a 73-8 mark at home.  Overall, the Wildcats have won 19 consecutive openers at home, including a 20-1 record at Bramlage Coliseum.  Weber is 14-1 (.933) in his 15-year career as a head coach in season openers (SIU and Illinois), including a 14-0 mark in home openers.

Weber Continues Success by Wildcat Coaches in Debut
Weber continued the success of Wildcat head coaches in their debut with an 85-52 win over North Dakota on Nov. 9.  K-State head coaches have now won 17 of 24 debuts, including each of the last four and seven of the last eight.  Jim Wooldridge (2000), Bob Huggins (2006) and Frank Martin (2007) each won their coaching debuts, while Tom Asbury (1994) was the last Wildcat coach to lose his debut - a 79-48 setback at Alabama on Nov. 16, 1994.  K-State coaches have won their last eight debuts that have occurred at home with the last loss icoming way back on Dec. 4, 1944 when Fritz Knorr’s squad lost a 53-35 decision to Fort Riley.   Only three coaches - Mike Ahearn (1907), Charles Corsaut (1924) and Knorr - have lost their debut at home. 

K-State Selected to Play in 2013 Puerto Rico Tip-Off
K-State has been selected to participate in the 2013 Puerto Rico Tip-Off, which is set for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21, 22 and 24, 2013 at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico, in the cosmopolitan Hato Rey district of San Juan.  The field for the seventh annual event includes Auburn, Charlotte, Florida State, Georgetown, Long Beach State, Michigan and VCU.  Six of the eight schools advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2012, while five are either ranked or receiving votes in the current Associated Press/USA Today Coaches polls.  The Wildcats could meet the Wolverines in the NIT Season Tip-Off next week in New York City.  The bracket-format tournament will feature 12 games over three days from Thursday, Friday and Saturday, November 21, 22 and 24.  Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format.  The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in the championship game on Nov. 24.  Previous winners of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off include Alabama, Minnesota, Villanova, Xavier and Miami (Fla.).  This will mark the Wildcats’ second trip to the Caribbean island in the past five seasons, as the squad posted a third-place finish with a 2-1 record at the 2009 event.  The team posted wins over Boston University (80-70) and Dayton (83-75) in between a loss to Mississippi (86-74).  It will also be a homecoming for current point guard Angel Rodriguez, who is a native of San Juan. 

Recapping the Exhibition Season
Kansas State swept its two-game exhibition season, earning an 81-61 victory over Washburn on Oct. 30 followed by an 81-51 win over Emporia State on Nov. 4.  The Wildcats averaged 81 points in its two-game slate on 48.4 percent (59-of-122) shooting from the field, including 26.7 percent from 3-point range, to go with 48.5 rebounds, 16.5 assists, 13.0 turnovers, 8.5 steals and 4.5 blocks per game.  The team shot just 56.3 percent (36-of-64) from the free throw line.  Most of the 162 points scored came from paint (78), while the squad scored 38 points off turnovers, 36 on second-chance opportunities and 88 came from the bench.   

Most of the minutes were spread across the roster with 13 of 15 players seeing an average of at least four minutes per game and only two players - Omari Lawrence (22.0) and Will Spradling (20.5) - averaging more than 20 minutes per game.  Nine players averaged at least 5.5 points per game in the two-game stretch with three players averaging in double figures led by freshman D.J. Johnson (13.5 ppg.), while seniors Jordan Henriquez (10.5 ppg.) and Rodney McGruder (10.0 ppg.) also averaged in twin figures.  The Wildcats also dominated the glass, holding a +16 rebounding margin, including an average of 17 offensive boards per game.  Eight players averaged at least two rebounds per game, including a team-best 8.5 average by Henriquez to go with 8.0 average from Johnson.  Eight players also posted at least two assists during exhibition play with junior Shane Southwell leading the way with six, while 10 players had at least one steal led by three apiece from Angel Rodriguez and Nino Williams.            

‘Cats Picked 5th in Big 12 Preseason Poll
Kansas State was selected to finish fifth in the preseason 2012-13 Big 12 Conference coaches’ poll released by the league office on Oct. 11.  The Wildcats received 54 points to earn fifth place in the second-year of the 10-team conference configuration, just four points behind fourth-place Texas (58) and six behind third-place Oklahoma State (60).  Kansas was the overwhelming pick to win the league, earning 81 points and nine of the 10 first-place votes.  Baylor was chosen second with 63 points and received the other first-place vote.  After the top 5, the rest of the poll included West Virginia (45), Oklahoma (34), Iowa State (28), Texas Tech (18) and TCU (9).  Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams.  The fifth-place prediction is one spot better than last season’s pick of sixth place, which was the lowest for K-State since 2008-09.  The Wildcats, who finished in fifth place in the Big 12 a year ago, are one of only two teams to finish in the league’s top-5 and receive a bye at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship each of the past six seasons.  With only 10 teams, the top-6 will earn a bye in the 2013 event with the lower four seeds playing on the first day, which will be played at Kansas City’s Sprint Center. 

‘Cats Enjoy Memorable Trip to Brazil
K-State got a jump start on its preparations for the 2012-13 men’s basketball season with its 10-day trip to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 8-17, 2012.  The NCAA allows teams to make a foreign trip once every four years, but this was the first by the program since playing four games in and around Vancouver, British Columbia in October 2004.  Overall, it was the program’s fourth trip outside the country, which includes excursions to Japan in 1981 and Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden in 1993.  K-State played four games during the trip, posting a 2-2 record as the squad had to adjust to international rules (four, eight-minute quarters among other differences).  The Wildcats averaged 70 points on 41.9 percent shooting, including 31.4 percent from the 3-point range, while connecting on 75.9 percent from the free throw line.  Sophomore Angel Rodriguez paced all scorers with a 10.3 points per game average on 40 percent shooting, including 35.7 percent from 3-point range, with a team-best 4.8 assists and 2.3 steals per game.  Three others - Nino Williams, Rodney McGruder and Adrian Diaz - all averaged 9.0 points per game, while junior Will Spradling and senior Jordan Henriquez added 8.5 points and 7.3 points per game averages.  Williams led the team in rebounding (6.0 rpg.), 3-point field goal percentage (40.0) and free throw percentage (83.3), while Diaz was tops in field goals (14), field goal percentage (58.3) and blocks (2.5 bpg.). 

Up Next: at George Washington (3-3)
K-State will make its first true road trip of the season on Saturday, Dec. 8, as the Wildcats make their first trip to Washington, D.C. since 1940 to play Atlantic 10 foe George Washington (3-3) at 1:30 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network.  The game, which will end a home-and-home series between the two schools, will also be homecoming for Washington, D.C. native Rodney McGruder.