Kansas State has really come on of late, winning four of its last five games, including back-to-back triumphs over Top-10 foes Baylor and Missouri for the first time in school history. The feat was even more impressive considering both wins came on the road. The late push gave the Wildcats an impressive 21-9 record overall and they finished in sole position of fifth place in the Big 12 with a 10-8 league mark, marking the fifth time in six seasons they've won 10 conference games.
Baylor enjoyed an outstanding season, finishing 25-6 overall and it currently owns the No. 12 ranking in the most recent AP poll. The 25 wins tied for the second-most in school history, three shy of the program record set in 2010 (28). The Bears finished the conference schedule 12-6, tied for third place with Iowa State, though they lost the tie-breaker to the Cyclones and earned the fourth-seed in this tournament, their second-highest seed ever.
Kansas State and Baylor split the season series this year, with each team winning on the road by a combined margin of only three points. The Wildcats have the advantage in the series all-time, 14-11.
Kansas State has an average offense by Big 12 standards, scoring 71.3 ppg on 44.1 percent field goal efficiency, but it also possesses other intangibles indicative of a winning team. It has one of the conference's strongest defenses, allowing opponents an average of 63.1 ppg on 40.2 percent shooting from the field, and it also makes positive contributions on the glass (+5.2 rebounding margin) and in the turnover battle (+1.73 turnover margin). The Wildcats are paced by their star player Rodney McGruder, who earned a spot on the All-Big 12 Second Team by tallying 15.5 ppg and 5.4 rpg while putting up solid percentages from the floor (.459) and three-point range (.393). Jamar Samuels chips in 10.3 ppg and a team-best 6.8 rpg. Jordan Henriquez doesn't factor much on the scoreboard (6.7 ppg), but he is second in the conference in blocked shots with 2.3 per contest, helping him earn a spot alongside McGruder on the league's All-Defensive Team.
Like its counterpart today, Baylor boasts a well-balanced attack, ranking third in the conference in scoring offense (74.5 ppg) and scoring defense (63.6 ppg) resulting in an outstanding scoring margin of +10.8, ranking behind only Kansas and Missouri. It has also been very effective from beyond the arc, ranking third in the Big 12 in three-pointers made (212) and second in three- point field goal percentage (.385). The Bears were also well represented when the Big 12 awards were announced. Quincy Acy was named to the Second Team after putting up 12.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.0 bpg and a field goal percentage of .583, and he was joined on the squad by Pierre Jackson, who scores 13.5 ppg while ranking third in both assists (5.6 apg) and three-point field goal percentage (.453). Perry Jones III (13.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg) was a Third Team honoree and Quincy Miller (11.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg) was the Co-Freshman of the Year.