Kansas State made a surprising run to the Elite Eight in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, and the Wildcats are expected to build on that result next season. Jon Rothstein released his “way-too-early” top 25 on FanRag Sports Saturday, and the Wildcats are No. 13.
Bruce Weber’s squad is the second-highest ranked Big 12 team, behind No. 1 Kansas. TCU trails behind the Wildcats at No. 18, while West Virginia follows at No. 21. Kansas State finished fourth in the Big 12 last season, behind Kansas, Texas Tech and West Virginia.
Kansas State’s returning talent is the main reason the Wildcats have such a high ranking. Guard Amaad Wainright, who announced his intention to transfer in April, is the only significant contributor from last season’s Elite Eight run that is not coming back.
Rothstein projects Kansas State’s starting lineup to be guards Kamau Stokes and Barry Brown, forwards Xavier Sneed and Dean Wade, and center Makol Mawien. Guard Cartier Diarra and incoming freshman Shaun Williams are the major bench contributors.
Although Kansas State may not have the depth that other teams such as Kansas have, they have more veteran talent that any other team in the conference. Time will tell whether they can pose a threat to Kansas’ Big 12 championship winning streak, but the Wildcats could be poised for another deep tournament run.