2010-2011 record: 23-11, 10-6 (3rd, Big 12)
Head coach: Frank Martin, 5th season
Key losses: Jacob Pullen (20.2 PPG), Curtis Kelly (10.5 PPG)
The 2010-11 campaign started off with extremely high expectations for the Kansas State Wildcats. Many pundits chose them to win the Big 12, and I personally had them going to the Final Four. Unfortunately, K-State began the season with more of a thud than a bang. They recovered somewhat and turned their season into a decent one, but ultimately fell in the Second Round of the NCAA tournament. This year the Wildcats will see what life is like without the spotlight, as they are not high on anybody’s list for anything. Gone is superstar Jacob Pullen and reliable inside force Curtis Kelly. But if the right players step into their proper roles, I wouldn’t write the fiery Frank Martin’s squad off just yet.
The Stars: Last season, Rodney McGruder was a third team all-Big 12 choice after averaging 11.1 PPG. All eyes will be on McGruder during his junior season, as he is expected to led this Wildcats team into the fray. Luckily for him, he will have the help of Jamar Samuels back for his senior season. Samuels has been deemed one of the more frustrating basketball players to watch by Wildcat fans. He has had games where he looks like he’s NBA-bound, and he’s had games where he looks just confused. He gets one more shot to live up to his potential this season, and I think he’ll take full advantage of that opportunity.