|Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship|
Wed, Mar 11, 2015
|6 p.m. CT ||(9) TCU (17-14, 4-14 Big 12)||vs||(8) Kansas State (15-16, 8-10 Big 12)|
Well, here we are, folks. There's the outside shot that maybe just winning tonight will result in an NIT bid, but I wouldn't hold my breath -- especially now that Murray State, Iona, Bucknell, Charleston Southern, William & Mary, Saint Francis (NY), and South Dakota State have drastically decreased the size of the NIT bubble. At this time, all three of the major NIT bracketologists have now removed K-State from the NIT field. NYC Buckets pushed K-State out with Saint Francis's loss last night (followed by pushing Clemson out after South Dakota State's loss later in the evening). The NIT Bracket Project (done by the same folks who manage the NCAA Bracket Matrix) appears to have K-State as the third team out, although their list of "just missing" may not be in order. And K-State is missing from the DRatings NIT projection, although they don't explain their methodology. (We can glean from their ranking, however, that K-State's going to have to outdo Minnesota and Florida and... umm... Sam Houston State.)
So it would appear that the Wildcats can't simply hope to get past TCU tonight. They're going to have to take out Kansas tomorrow, too. That would probably push K-State back into the NIT field, but if the Wildcats manage that, they're actually going to be in decent position to sneak up on the automatic bid, as long as Baylor wins tomorrow. (I think I speak for everyone when I say we want no part of a semifinal game with West Virginia, right?)
Of course, the first step in all of this is winning tonight. The Wildcats do have the mild benefit of this basically being a home game, and the Cats did beat the Frogs at home at the end of a stretch where they weren't playing well. So there's that.
And now, with the team all back together again finally, we can probably assume some level of fire and anger. It's not a stretch to assume that the Texas game might have been a lot closer with Nino Williams on the floor, and although nobody's really saying anything specific it certainly feels like there's been some healing in the locker room over the last four days.
Tonight, we'll see.