Now that the football season wrapup is complete, it's time to move on and pick up on what's going on elsewhere at K-State.
Despite a disappointing 3-0 loss to Texas to end the regular season, there is much good news to report for coach Suzie Fritz' club.
At 14-6, the No. 11 Wildcats finished third in the conference, thanks to Oklahoma's loss to Iowa State on Saturday. At 22-8 (14-6) on the year, the Cats have also earned the right to be host for first and second round NCAA tournament games. So get out to Ahearn Fieldhouse this Friday and Saturday (Nov. 30 and Dec. 1) and cheer K-State to a Sweet 16 appearance.
K-State will face Tulsa (27-8, 14-5 Conference USA) in the first round. The Golden Hurricane are unranked, but won the C-USA tournament with wins over Memphis, Marshall and UAB. Among common opponents, TU split two matches with Houston, a team K-State dispatched in three straight games earlier this year in Manhattan.
If the Cats defeat Tulsa, they will face the winner of the Oregon/Missouri State matchup. More previews to come, as necessary.
In other volleyball news, the Big 12 announced its postseason honors today. K-State's honorees included Nataly Korobkova (Newcomer of the Year) and Angie Lastra (Libero of the Year). Congrats, ladies!
The Wildcats endured a disappointing trip to Orlando for the Old Spice Classic. Hopes for a high-profile matchup with Villanova were squashed after an ugly opening-round loss to George Mason, 87-77. The Cats shot a whopping 12.5 percent from three-point range and committed 19 turnovers in the loss. Once again, Michael Beasley led K-State in scoring (30 points) and rebounding (10), but was saddled with foul trouble and only played 25 minutes. On the bright side, George Mason is the preseason pick to win the Colonial Athletic Association this year...for what that's worth.
I wasn't able to watch any of the second game against Central Florida, but from following the score it sounded like solid play early gave way to late struggles, and eventually an overtime win, 73-71. Beasley added another 30 points and 13 rebounds, and Jacob Pullen added 19 points. Bill Walker did not play not play, apparently the result of a tweaked knee, always a scary phrase to hear with a guy who has had a history of knee troubles.
On Sunday, the Cats wrapped up the southern swing with an 82-69 win over Rider. For the first time all year, Beasley had an "off" game, scoring "only" 13 points and grabbing "only" 10 rebounds. Fortunately, Andre Gilbert chipped in 22 points, five rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block and 1 steal in 28 minutes. Maybe even more importantly, Bill Walker returned from his "tweaked" knee to score 14 points and grab 10 rebounds. I'm adding a few segments to the "Michael Beasley Watch" this week to better reflect what should be our overall goals for the season:
Team Watch: 5-1
RPI: 97 (don't get too bent out of shape, it's way too early for RPI, as illustrated by New Orleans at No. 2 and Sam Houston State at No. 4)
Michael Beasley Watch: 27.2 ppg, 15.5 rpg, 61.2 fg%, 53.8 3pt%, 10 assists, 8 blocks, 7 steals
This week, the Cats prepare for Thursday's tilt with No. 12 Oregon in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Classic at Bramlage Coliseum. Check out SBNation blog Addicted to Quack for more on the Ducks, and check in here later this week for a Q&A with Dave over at ATQ.
Here's hoping the weather was enjoyable in Cancun, Mexico, because that was probably about all that was enjoyable about K-State's trip to the Caribbean Challenge. The Cats lost to Tulane and Michigan State to fall to 2-3 on the year. At least Michigan State is a ranked team (18/19 last week).
The women return to Manhattan for the Commerce Bank Classic, and will play Lipscomb on Friday night at Bramlage Coliseum. Assuming a win in that game, the Cats would play the winner of the UTEP/Arkansas-Pine Bluff game on Saturday.
That's it for this week's wrapup. Back to federal income taxation principles...