Kansas State Wildcats Stats


Kansas State Wildcats Stats

Arena: Bramlage Coliseum
Coach: Bruce Weber

Kansas State Wildcats

Team Leaders

Kansas State Wildcats Team Summary

One of the top programs in the country for their longevity and in recent history, Kansas State has had a lot of success. The Wildcats have made 31 NCAA Tournament appearances, including nine since 2008. 

The coaching tree of 23 has recognizable names for many current and former head coaches. The Wildcats have produced two first overall picks, including Michael Beasley, who was second overall in 2008.

Kansas State made four Final Four appearances, none since 1964. It has also made 13 Elite Eight appearances, including in 2010 and 2018. The Wildcats have 19 regular season conference championships, but just two since joining the Big 12 – in 2013 and 2019.

The ‘Cats are looking for a bounce-back year after back-to-back losing seasons under Bruce Weber, who is in his ninth season leading KSU.

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Kansas State Wildcats Team History

Coach Jack Gardner laid the foundation for the Wildcats’ success in the 1940s, reaching the national championship game in 1951 but losing to Kentucky. Ernie Barrett and Dick Knostman – who both have their jerseys retired – were on that team along with eventual draft pick Lew Hitch.

Tex Winter led the Wildcats to two other Final Fours in 1958 and 1964. Bob Boozer and Jack Parr, who have their numbers retired, starred on the 1958 team. Despite not reaching the Final Four, the 1959 Wildcats finished the season as the Associated Press’ No. 1 team. Willie Murrell, whose jersey also hangs from the rafters, starred on the 1964 team.

Kansas State ended a 12-year NCAA Tournament drought when Frank Martin’s ‘Cats reached the 2008 event, featuring Beasley. Four of his five teams reached March Madness, including the 2010 team that reached the Elite Eight.

That team included Jacob Pullen and Rodney McGruder, who remains in the NBA today.

Key Stats

Kansas State got off to a decent start in non conference play but has started the Big 12 season 0-2. For a team looking to rebound and get back to the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats have struggled offensively, ranking 232nd in the country, scoring 69.7 points per game. 

They make up for it on the defensive end. The Wildcats are 37th in opponents’ points per game (61.2) and defend well, forcing a 39 percent shot conversion rate – 33rd in the country – including 26.1 percent on 3-pointers, which is the eighth-best mark nationwide.

Guard play has been strong for Bruce Weber’s team. Nijel Pack scores a team-best 15.6 points per game. He’s joined in double figures by Markquis Nowell (12.8 ppg) and Mark Smith (10.3), the Missouri transfer who was Mr. Basketball in Illinois as a senior.

Kansas State has beaten the teams they should, and the same goes for their losses, though playing status quo will be tough to get an NCAA bid.

Halfway through the season, they are roughly 6-6-1 against the spread and 5-8 in over/unders.

Championships Won by the Team

The Wildcats have never won a national or NIT championship. The closest they’ve come is the 1951 national runner-up season, losing 68-58 to Kentucky. In the National Invitational Tournament, Kansas State reached the semifinals in 1994 but lost to Vanderbilt.

They have won 19 conference championships as follows: two in the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association, four in the Big Seven Conference, 11 in the Big Eight Conference, and the two Big 12 titles.

Important Team Events

Longevity brings a great deal of history, which includes some of the top talent to play college hoops. Kansas State is tied for third with most No. 1 overall picks in the NBA Draft with two: Howie Shannon in 1949 and Bob Boozer in 1959. The only two schools with more top picks are Duke (four) and Kentucky (three).

Notable games include:

  • An 83-80 win over Cincinnati and Oscar Robertson during the 1958 NCAA Final Four run.
  • An upset of second-ranked Oregon State in 1981.
  • A 101-96 double-overtime win over Xavier to reach the Elite Eight in 2010.

Top Players

Michael Beasley was a freshman phenom, winning Big 12 Player and Rookie of the year and was named an All-American after averaging 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds per game before becoming the second overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft. He is in the conversation with Bob Boozer for best player in Wildcats history.

Boozer was a two-time All-American in 1958 and 1959. He led the program to their third Final Four and lone No. 1 overall ranking in a postseason AP poll in those years, respectively. He averaged 21.9 points and 10.7 rebounds per game for his career.

Aside from those two, Ernie Barrett (1951), Dick Knostman (1953), Mitch Richmond (1988), and F.I. Reynolds (1917) were All-Americans for Kansas State.

In total, 26 players have gone from donning the purple to the NBA. 

Richmond is perhaps the most successful and the next level and the longest-tenured, averaging 21.0 points per game in 14 seasons. Rolando Blackmon scored 17.98 points per game across 13 seasons. Beasley played 11 seasons. Mike Evans and Ed Nealy played ten seasons each.

Top Coaches

There’s a long list of coaches in or to be inducted into the Hall of Fame who have walked the Kansas State sideline. Tex Winter won a lot during his tenure from 1953-68 to become the winningest coach. His teams went 261-118 (68.9%) for the best winning percentage (minimum 100 games coached) in program history.

He has two Final Fours and Jack Gardner – 147-81 (64.5%) – has the other two during his tenure from 1939-42 and again from 1946-53.

Jack Hartman is the all-time wins leader, compiling a 295-169 (63.6%) record from 1970-86 before giving way to Lon Kruger. The former Wildcat player would have a lengthy coaching career and became one of three to take five teams to an NCAA Tournament. He’s the only one to take the Wildcats to four straight. He was 81-46 (63.8%).

Directly after Kruger came Dana Altman, who was a modest 68-54 before moving on to Creighton from 1994-2010 and then to Oregon, where he’s been ever since.

Future Hall of Fame coach Bob Huggins led Kansas State to a 23-12 season in 2006-07 before moving on after one year. That brought Frank Martin from the assistant seat to the big chair, and it paid off as he elevated the program. Martin’s teams were 117-54, with an Elite Eight appearance in 2010.

Bruce Weber is 178-135 leading the Wildcats to date. However, his teams have faltered to a combined 28-46 since 2019, the year that ended a string of three straight NCAA Tournament berths.

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Kansas State Wildcats FAQs

The Wildcats finished No. 1 as voted by the Associated Press in 1959.

The Wildcats have four Final Four appearances, though none since 1964 and just one national championship appearance.

EMAW is a phrase fans and alumni use that stands for Every Man A Wildcat.

The Wildcats have produced two No. 1 NBA Draft picks, the third most of any school. Howie Shannon was selected first in 1949 and Bob Boozer the same a decade later.

He did and was a one-and-done player, but that year was special.

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