Syracuse scouting report: Kansas State

Top-seeded Syracuse will try to advance to the Sweet 16 in Boston when they take on eighth-seeded Kansas State on Saturday.

AN APOLOGY: Southern Mississippi issued an apology following its 70-64 loss against Kansas State. Members of the school’s pep band chanted “Where’s your green card?” at Wildcats guard Angel Rodriguez when he stepped to the free throw line in the first half. Rodriguez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, is an American citizen, and played high school basketball in Miami. “We deeply regret the remarks made by a few students at today’s game,” Southern Miss President Martha Saunders said in a statement. “The words of these individuals do not represent the sentiments of our pep band, athletic department or university. We apologize to Mr. Rodriguez and will take quick and appropriate disciplinary action against the students involved in this isolated incident.”

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SCOUTING THE WILDCATS: Guard Rodney McGruder leads the team in scoring with 15.4 points a game. But Kansas State’s key player is Rodriguez, a freshman point guard. He was inserted into the lineup in January after the Wildcats struggled in conference play and was a big part of the team’s late season surge. Rodriguez scored seven key points in the final 2:10 against Southern Miss to fend off a late push. He finished with 13 for the game.

IN KANSAS STATE’S LAST GAME: McGruder scored with 30 points and Jordan Henriquez chipped in 15 points and nine rebounds as the Wildcats moved to the round of 32 for the third straight year. Southern Miss actually held a 45-40 lead in the second half, but Kansas State took the lead for good after an 18-6 run.

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: It will be the first meeting between the two teams in the NCAA Tournament since 1975, when in thrilling fashion SU beat KSU in overtime to win the East Regional and advance to the school’s first Final Four appearance in San Diego.

GAME INFORMATION: Sat., Mar. 17, 12:15 p.m. Pittsburgh, PA. TV: CBS. Follow us on Twitter @thejuiceonline for live game updates

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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