Just one more victory! After the Kansas State Wildcats‘ blue collar, 79-68 win Tuesday against TCU Tuesday night, the Wildcats need only one more victory to win their first Big 12 Conference championship since the league’s inception in 1996. Not only that, but it will be K-State’s first conference title in basketball since 1977, back in the Big 8 days.
The Wildcats (14-3, 25-5) took care of their business Tuesday with little flash or fanfare. They led throughout the game, and held a comfortable 42-27 advantage at the half. The Horned Frog (1-16, 10-20) jumped out to an early second half 12-2 run, cutting their deficit to 5. K-State held them off from there and was never really pressured from then on, even if they didn’t stretch their lead out much. Angel Rodriguez was the star of the game, producing a double-double with 21 points and 10 assists, Martavious Irving and Shane Southwell each scored 15, Thomas Gipson chipped in 11. Rodney McGruder filled his stat sheet as usual with 13 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals. Kyan Anderson had a terrific game for the Horned Frogs, going 10-15 from the field, including 5-8 from three-point range, and 4-4 from the line, to scored 29 points.
Kansas State continues to play well on the offensive end of the floor. The fluidity of their ball movement created 27 assists on their 31 made field goals, including an incredible 17 assists on 17 made field goals in the first half. Add in the fact that K-State only turned the ball over 9 times and one can see the efficiency in which the Wildcats are playing with right now. They shot 63% from the field in the first half, going 17-27, and shot 54% for the game. Their ball movement and unselfishness is leading to good, open looks at the baskets, and the Wildcats are making the most of these opportunities.
So, now it is down to one more victory. It will not be easy for the Wildcats. They have to travel to Stillwater to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys Saturday at 12:30. The Cowboys can actually finish first as well, so they have much to play for themselves. If Kansas State wins the game, and the Kansas Jayhawks win at Baylor, the two Sunflower State schools will share the Big 12 title. If the Wildcats win, and the Jayhawks lose in Waco, then K-State wins the league title outright. One other scenario that could play out is if both K-State and Kansas lose, they would finish in a three-way tie for first with Oklahoma State. There is a lot riding on those two games Saturday.
If Kansas State were to win at least a share of the Big 12 championship, they will have won the conference championship in both football and basketball in the same season, an incredible accomplishment for any school, let alone a school in a major conference like the Big 12. There is a going to be a lot of excitement in the state of Kansas Saturday.