The preliminaries have all concluded, the brackets are announced, the pundits are already beginning to sound off, and we're all exhausted from a non-stop week of basketball. And would you believe that we technically don't even get a break, since the CIT starts tonight? Well, okay, nobody's gonna watch that game. But it's the principle, right? Anyway, HYUUGE day of links for you today, as you probably suspected when you woke up this morning and stumbled to your web-enabled device. And Happy Real Patty's Day.
We've basically got four different kinds of Stuff in today's basketball section. One overarching theme: nearly everyone who talks about Friday's game takes great pains to mention that K-State is absolutely capable of winning that game, even if they're leading by discussing a potential Kentucky-Shockers matchup. If you think that's just CYA in the face of an 8-9 game, be advised: I'm not seeing much similar discussion about the other 9 seeds. Of course, that may be because nobody seems to think any of the other 9 seeds have a chance in hell against their one seeds.
We start with coverage which is absolutely focused toward the Wildcats' matchup with the, um, Wildcats:
- The K-State Sports official announcement of K-State's bid, the school's 28th and school-record fifth in a row, as well as quotes from the Selection Sunday gathering. (The Cats remain tied for 19th overall in terms of total appearances, but that is now just a five-way tie with Michigan State, Cincinnati, Oklahoma, and BYU. Utah and St. John's, tied with those five with 27 appearances a day ago, slip a step behind as they're headed for the NIT this year.)
- Kellis Robinett on K-State's invitation, as well as three things about Kentucky (and three things about the other half of our pod).
- From the Capital-Journal, Corbin McGuire's selection story, and video from the Selection Sunday party.
- Adam Himmelsbach of the Lexington Courier-Journal covers Kentucky's feelings about ending up as an eight seed.
- The Jacksonville Times-Herald's Ryan O'Halloran says the 'Cats are one of eight teams to keep an eye on. Of course, O'Halloran is a fellow Wildcat alum, so he may be biased.
Midwest Regional analysis:
- Midwest Preview from ESPN's Myron Medcalf, who doesn't think K-State can get to Indianapolis, but hints that he wouldn't rule it out either.
- Vahe Gregorian on the NCAA's supreme troll move of sending K-State, Kansas, and Wichita State all to the same building on the same day.
- Sean Keeler at FOX doesn't like our chances, but among his other Midwest Regional observations he admits that he sure wants to see the Wildcats play the Shockers.
- CBS Sports' Gregg Doyel is frothing over the Midwest Region fiasco.
- Bob Lutz, his Shocker hat firmly in place, is scared Wichita State won't get into the Sweet Sixteen -- regardless of who they play on Sunday.
- Via the Denver Post, Robert Morales of the Los Angeles Daily News previews the Midwest, and outright picks K-State to win Friday.
- Yahoo! Canada's Mike Ringo previews the Midwest.
- Stu Durando of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch doesn't talk about the basketball, really, but he does talk about how hard tickets are going to be to get your hands on. The Post-Dispatch does, however, preview KU/Eastern Kentucky, Wichita State/somebody, and K-State/Kentucky.
- News Gnomes thinks the Midwest is ridiculous.
Commentary about the Big 12 and specific articles about Big 12 teams in the dance:
- The Big 12 is gloating. Well, duh.
- The Tulsa World's Kelly Hines outlines three reasons why the Cowboys will make a run, and three why they won't.
- Bill Self is pleased, says Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal-World, and his colleague Tom Keegan notes that facing New Mexico again without Joel Embiid could be a wee bit of a problem.
The NCAA Tournament as a whole:
- USA Today's Eric Prisbell examines puzzling seed decisions.
- Gary Parrish at CBS Sports makes some general observations, and laments the misfortune of Southern Mississippi.
- Sports on Earth's Matt Norlander reveals his bracket. He's got K-State advancing to Sunday, and as he also writes for CBS, he's got a list of five must-watch games in the round of 64. (Spoiler: we're on it.) Also from Sports on Earth, Matt Brown ranks the potential upsets; he deems K-State winning Sunday to be the sixth-most likely overall, but the least likely of the 8-9 games.
- Corbett Smith of the Dallas Morning News has predictions and his colleague Chuck Carlton reports on seed criticism.
- Another piece from the Courier-Journal, this one from Jeff Greer, contains a direct transcript of Wake Forest AD Ron Wellman's comments on the committee's rationale for leaving Louisville on the four line. leaving SMU out, and other issues. Wellman also discloses this welcome tidbit: they did not have to move even one single team off their seed line for bracketing purposes. This is a must-read if you care about the committee's process.
- Alex Preweitt of the Washington Post breaks down the field.
JT recapped the Northern Colorado series for you already, and here's the department releases for Friday's win and Saturday's doubleheader sweep.
Also from the official site, Kelly McHugh chats with Ross Kivett.
No Wildcats won national titles in Albuquerque this weekend, but pole vaulter Kyle Wait is now a two-time first-team All-American. Erica Twiss, Alyx Treasure, and Devin Dick earned second-team honors.
K-State has broken their losing streak in a big way, improving to 2-0 in Big 12 play after taking care of West Virginia in Morgantown on Friday, 4-3, and scoring a 5-2 win at Iowa State on Saturday. That's three in a row for the 'Cats, and they improve to 8-5 on the year. This weekend, they play their final non-conference match of the year, heading out west to take on Cal-Santa Barbara.
The women tee off this morning in Saint George, Utah, at the two-day BYU Entrada Classic.