While last night's 77-71 loss to Oklahoma State probably seals our fate for the NIT, I just can't get down on Frank Martin or the team. They played with incredible heart, got up and dusted themselves off after several big runs by the Cowboys, and gave themselves a chance to win after the last media timeout.
As you know, I usually go through the things I liked and the things I didn't like from the previous game, but there's no need for that after last night. It certainly wasn't a perfect performance by any stretch of the imagination. But our guys never hung their heads and fought to make up for their mistakes. On top of that, they were playing a hot team, on the road, on senior night. That's just a tough setting. Our players turned in a sterling performance in a big game, so I'm not going to fault them for the inevitable mistakes made.
So instead of discussing what I liked and what I didn't, I'll focus on what it means and where we're going. On Saturday, we take on Colorado in the regular season finale. It's senior day for Darren Kent, who has made tremendous contributions to this program over the years and worked hard for three different coaches in his time. I hope the crowd shows up for DK, because he deserves it. In addition, it is still an important game, as a win keeps us in contention for the fourth seed in the conference tournament, which would make a lot better our odds of making a run in OKC. If we are the five seed and have to play four games in four days, it's going to be very difficult - not that it's going to be easy anyway - to make the run that we will need.
So here's the deal. We have to beat Colorado on Saturday. If we do that, we need to cheer for KU to beat Texas in Lawrence on Saturday, and also for Oklahoma to beat Oklahoma State in Norman. If that happens, we will be in at least a three-way tie for fourth at 9-7, and possibly a four-way tie if Texas A&M defeats Colorado and Missouri this week. No matter the size of the tie, we will win the tiebreaker, because in every scenario Texas emerges from the South tiebreaker and we own the head-to-head victory over them. Undoubtedly, UT fans and Tim Griffin will complain that the tiebreaker is eminently unfair for some reason (OK, I'm just kidding on that one, they like head-to-head so much they'll probably swallow the bitter pill that is losing a tiebreaker to K-State).
I have been asked by Rush The Court to write a post making the case for K-State to be in the NCAA Tournament. Obviously, our at-large hopes are pretty much out the window, but as the KC Star blog "Upon Further Review" noted this morning, we could get back in the at-large picture, namely if we can manage to beat Texas and KU in the conference tournament to qualify for the finals, likely against Missouri or Oklahoma. That seems like a long shot to me, and if you're going to make the conference finals, you might as well just win the damn thing, right? Yeah, if only it were that easy.