K-State Q&A: Bat Cats, football predictions, Jerome Tang’s new starting five and more

It’s time for another K-State Q&A.

We have an abundance of fun topics to cover about the Wildcats this week, so let’s dive right into your questions. Thanks, as always, for providing them.

Official super regional series prediction? -@garretts_myth via X.

Sadly, I don’t have a bold prediction for this weekend’s Super Regional between Kansas State and Virginia.

It’s a three-game series with college pitchers and metal bats. Anything can happen.

One thing that cracks me up about the NCAA Tournament in baseball is that you see people making statements on social media about how an underdog team “has a shot” in a particular series. Really? Of course they do.

This isn’t like the Georgia/TCU national championship game in football. Sorry Horned Frogs. Every team still playing has a reasonable shot at winning and moving on to the College World Series.

Sure, I like Tennessee a lot more than I like Evansville, but nothing is impossible this time of year.

The big question in the K-State/Virginia series is how the Wildcats swing the bat. They were red hot last week in the Fayetteville Regional, with Kaelen Culpepper leading the Bat Cats to 33 runs over the course of three games. When a baseball team gets hot it tends to stay hot. That’s how winning streaks happen.

Alas, this isn’t like MLB where teams are out there playing every single day. Maybe the Wildcats cooled off this week.

K-State will need offense to beat Virginia, because the Cavaliers are one of the best hitting teams in all of college baseball. They are going to put up runs.

I apologize if this isn’t the answer you were looking for, but K-State could definitely make it to Omaha if it keeps averaging 11 runs per game. But if the Wildcats revert back to their form of the regular season, they could very easily fall short.

Who’s hot? Who’s not? Those are questions that will probably decide the outcome of this Super Regional.

Playing the Week 0 Game in Ireland next year, are they able to schedule a 13th game? I didn’t know if the Hawaii rule applies. And if so do you think they will? -@pastorcshane via X.

No, playing a game in Ireland doesn’t open the door for any college football team to play an extra game. The Hawaii Exemption stands alone.

I also highly doubt the Wildcats would want to put their players through an extra game.

K-State would much prefer its extra game to come in the form of a Big 12 championship appearance. There really isn’t much need for K-State to add a 13th game to its schedule when a trip to Arlington, Texas, is on the table.

I’m not sure all that many teams even take advantage of the Hawaii Exemption anymore. A 12-game schedule is hard enough.

A lot of high expectations this year for the offensive side of the ball. What are the expectations for the defensive side? Who are the players we will hear a lot about & who will be the surprises? -@BusMedicMike via X.

Keenan Garber should be really good.

The Lawrence native has always been a terrific athlete, but he spent the first few years of his college career playing at the wrong position. Now that he is entering his second full season as a cornerback he will have a chance to be one of the best cover corners in the Big 12. His experience as a wide receiver gives him an advantage over other players who have only spent time on defense.

Playing alongside Jacob Parrish should also help him make plays.

VJ Payne and Marques Sigle should also be plenty good at safety. You already know all about Austin Moore and Desmond Purnell at linebacker.

It seems like everyone who plays on the defensive line will have a chance to make an impact. Uso Seumalo, Cody Stufflebean and Brendan Mott are proven playmakers.

A few potential surprise names to keep an eye on: Damian Ilalio, Chiddi Obiazor, Asa Newsom, Jack Fabris and Wesley Fair.

What’s the kicking situation look like for next year? -@garretts_myth via X.

Chris Tennant should handle most of the kicking duties once again next season. He was a little shaky at times last year, but he still made 11 of 14 attempts and he has a powerful leg. Chris Klieman and the Wildcats have lots of confidence in him.

But you might see Leyton Simmering kick a few extra points or kickoffs.

Not sure who will replace Jack Blumer at punter just yet.

Haven’t checked in on Grill Master Robinett this year. What are you grilling/smoking this year? Have you upgraded your grilling/smoker recently? Is it true that a steak cooked well is a sin??? -@ChadFullington via X.

My backyard is currently blessed with three cooking devices: a standard Weber propane grill, a Blackstone griddle and a Kamado Joe smoker.

Sadly, I don’t use the OG grill all that much anymore. If I want to cook something high and fast I usually use the griddle. For low and slow it’s always the smoker.

There isn’t anything too exciting to report from this spring. I’ve had smoked ribs, pork and brisket a few times. They have all tasted pretty good. The main new thing I have recently started making is my own Philly Cheesesteaks. Those have turned out great.

I’m already counting down the days until I throw some steak, peppers and cheese on the griddle again and slap the mixture on a hoagie.

Who would fair better: a basketball team comprised of just K-State football players or a 7v7 squad comprised of just K-State basketball players? -@scottwildcat via X.

My gut tells me that K-State football players would be a little better off playing basketball than vice versa.

I say that, because Avery Johnson was a heck of a basketball player at Maize. Redshirt-freshman tight end Will Anciaux was also quite good when he played hoops at Kapaun. I’m pretty sure Dylan Edwards and Jayce Brown also have basketball backgrounds.

K-State football players would struggle to put a true center on the floor who could match up with a 7-foot rim-protector in the paint but they would have more than enough talent to fill every other position or go with a small lineup.

It’s not like K-State basketball players would be hapless on the football field, though. David N’Guessan used to play soccer and can clearly make the adjustment to another sport. Dug McDaniel says his first love was football, so I assume he can play.

Good luck defending a lob pass to the new frontcourt tandem of Ugonna Onyenso and Baye Fall.

My concern with K-State basketball players is on the defensive side of things. Who among them is going to run with and cover a speedy receiver?

What’s your prediction for Kansas State’s starting five next season? - Jeff M. via e-mail.

Point guard: Dug McDaniel

Shooting guard: Brendan Hausen

Wing: David N’Guessan

Forward: Achor Achor

Center: Ugonna Onyenso

It seems like the biggest challenge that Jerome Tang will face next season is how many big men to use at any given time. This is admittedly a very big lineup with N’Guessan (6-9) playing neither the 4 or the 5. But he is the best returning player on the roster. He has to be in the starting five.

Achor (6-9) has the versatility to play several positions, so maybe you swap him with N’Guessan. But he is the most talented incoming transfer. He also has to start. Then there is Onyenso (a 7-footer), who figures to be an elite rim protector from the get-go.

There will certainly be times when it doesn’t make sense for K-State to go that big and we’ll see CJ Jones, Max Jones and David Castillo on the floor. But Baye Fall is also 6-11, so we are going to see lots of size at Bramlage Coliseum next year.

I think McDaniel is a lock to start at point guard with Castillo backing him up. Hausen gets the nod at shooting guard, because he was such a good outside shooter at Villanova. But that spot could be wide open.

Bart Torvik projects K-State’s current roster at No. 54 nationally and No. 10 in the Big 12 in his 2024-25 projections, which admittedly is pretty meh. But it seems like this group has lots of hidden versatility and potential that doesn’t necessarily show up in analytics. If Tang can find a cohesive rotation this team could be a lot of fun to watch.