Manhattan, KS (Sports Network) - The ninth-ranked Kansas State Wildcats will try to keep pace in the race for the Big 12 Conference crown, as they entertain the TCU Horned Frogs at Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday night.
TCU's first season in the Big 12 has not been a memorable one, at least not in a positive way, as it has gone just 10-19 overall and a lowly 1-15 in league play, placing it alone in last place. Since pulling off an improbable upset of nationally-ranked Kansas on Feb. 6, the Horned Frogs have dropped seven straight games, most recently falling at fellow league bottom-dweller Texas Tech on Saturday, 72-63.
At the other end of the spectrum is Kansas State, which has been outstanding all season long at 24-5 and 13-3 in conference. The Wildcats are winners of five straight games, including a thrilling 64-61 victory at Baylor on Saturday, to sneak into the top-10 in the latest AP poll. They hope to close out their home slate in style, as they have gone 13-3 in Manhattan this year.
These two teams met for the first time since 1999 back on Jan. 16, with Kansas State winning in Fort Worth, 67-54. As a result, the Wildcats' lead in the all-time series moved to 4-2.
The Horned Frogs performed poorly at both ends of the floor in their most recent contest, shooting just 39.2 percent while allowing Texas Tech to convert better than 62 percent of its field goal attempt as they were saddled with the nine-point setback. Kyan Anderson finished with 18 points, but he was just 6-of-15 from the field. Devonta Abron logged 16 points and six rebounds off the bench, while Adrick McKinney put up 10 points in the losing effort. TCU can hang its hat on a solid effort at the defensive end of the court, as it holds opponents to a mere 61.6 ppg, but unfortunately it possess one of the most futile offensive attacks in the nation, making less than 40 percent of its field goal attempts for a lowly 54.0 ppg. Anderson is the lone player averaging double figures in the scoring column with 11.6 ppg, while McKinney, Abron and Connell Crossland are solid in the frontcourt, grabbing between 5.6 and 6.4 rpg.
In a back-and-forth battle over the weekend, Kansas State and Baylor were tied late until Rodney McGruder drilled the game-winning 3-pointer with just a second to play to lift the Wildcats to the impressive road triumph. McGruder finished with 18 points, doing so on 7-of-15 shooting from the field, although the game-winner was his only triple of the contest. Angel Rodriguez scored 13 points and dished out eight assists, while Martavious Irving added 11 points in a reserve role. K-State's offensive output has been rock-solid all season long, as it pours in 69.5 ppg, but the biggest reason for its ascension into the elite this season has been its outstanding defense, which allows less than 60 ppg and contributes to the team's impressive +2.6 turnover margin. McGruder is the go-to guy on most nights, scoring 14.9 ppg while adding a team-high 5.3 rpg. Rodriguez nets 11.2 ppg and has a strong assist (143) to turnover (62) ratio. Will Spradling, Shane Southwell and Thomas Gipson net between 8.0 and 8.3 ppg.