Kansas State has beaten up on overmatched foes at home, but the Wildcats will face their first road test Sunday at Vanderbilt. The Wildcats’ only setback has been a 92-90 neutral-site loss to Arizona State – their only matchup with a Power Five opponent.
Kansas State held on for a 77-68 home win over Oral Roberts on Wednesday in which Dean Wade racked up 25 points and 11 rebounds. The Wildcats have been outstanding at the defensive end, ranking in the top 20 nationally in field goal defense (36.5 percent) and scoring defense (60.3 points per game). The Commodores are coming off a 74-62 home win over Radford on Tuesday that snapped a string of three straight losses – all to top-25 teams. Vanderbilt has struggled to find a rhythm on offense against that tough slate of early-season opponents, ranking in the bottom one-fifth of Division I teams in several offensive categories.
TV: 2:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network Plus, ESPN3
ABOUT KANSAS STATE (6-1): The Wildcats held their first five opponents under 60 points before allowing 92 in the loss to Arizona State. Kansas State relies heavily on its backcourt to carry the load on offense, as guards Kamau Stokes (14.4 points, 3.6 assists), Barry Brown Jr. (14.3 points), and forward Xavier Sneed (10.7 points) are three of the team’s top four scorers. Wade, a 6-10 forward, averages 14 points and 6.6 rebounds.
ABOUT VANDERBILT (3-4): The Commodores love to shoot from the outside, and their struggles from outside the arc have translated to a losing record. Riley LaChance (13.1 points) is 17-of-35 from 3-point range, but the rest of the team is shooting 24.2 percent from behind the arc. Forward Jeff Roberson (13.3 points, 9.3 rebounds) is stout in the post despite standing just 6-6, while streaky guard Matthew Fisher-Davis (12.7 points, six rebounds) poured in 31 points in a loss to Southern California.
1. The Wildcats average nine steals per game and force 16.6 turnovers per contest, both of which ranked in the top 50 nationally through Friday.
2. Roberson leads the SEC with four double-doubles.
3. Vanderbilt has made a 3-pointer in all 1,006 games it has played since the addition of the 3-point shot in 1986-87.
PREDICTION: Vanderbilt 71, Kansas State 69