After a rough few weeks for K-State basketball and head coach Bruce Weber, all seemed well after a big victory in the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City. The Wildcats defeated the third-seeded Baylor Bears by a score of 70-64.
Just when fans started to think making the NCAA Tournament wasn’t possible, these guys continued to battle and prove the naysayers wrong.
Heading into the Big 12 Tournament, Kansas State was the six-seed and would be squaring off against the Baylor Bears in their first game. This wasn’t such a scary match-up for Wildcat fans, as the team had already defeated Baylor in Waco earlier in the regular season.
With the in-state rivals already out of the tournament, Kansas State had a lot of pride to play for on Thursday night. At this point, if K-State lost, they were likely out of contention for the big dance and Bruce Weber very well could be out of a job.
If the Wildcats took down the Bears once again, however, they very well could be receiving a bid to the NCAA Tournament and their head coach would probably be returning to run the team again in 2017-2018.
This win is more than just saving Weber’s job, it’s probably going to be what clinches K-State’s first trip to March Madness in three years. The Wildcats haven’t seen a tournament appearance since the 2013-2014 season, which was Weber’s second year as the head coach.
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Chris Dobbertean of SB Nation predicts that K-State basketball will be one of the “First Four In” when the newest bracketology is released. He does state, however, that KSU still might have to beat West Virginia (their opponent on Friday evening) in order to punch their ticket.
"Now, it’s still going to be close for K-State even with a 4-8 record against the Top 50, thanks to a poor non-conference schedule (229th) — that’s simply playing with fire when dealing with the Selection Committee. So defeating the West Virginia Mountaineers in tomorrow’s semifinals might still be necessary for Bruce Weber’s team."
In my opinion, I think Kansas State will be in the tournament, likely as a lower seed. A 12th or 13th-seed seems logical. Dobbertean has a point that the Wildcats struggled against tough teams and that should penalize them, but with a lack of strong choices to choose from, K-State could get in simply by beating Baylor twice, both times in big moments.
What do you think, K-State basketball fans? Should the Wildcats expect to make the NCAA Tournament now that they’re moving on in the Big 12 Tournament?