For one team, it’s a long time coming — for the other, it’s another week of the same.
The K-State men’s basketball team on Monday broke into the AP Top 25 poll for the first time since January 2014, snaring the No. 25 spot.
The women, on the other hand, retained the 25th-ranking they earned the week of Jan. 2. It’s their third ranking this year alone, the highest of which was a No. 24 spot the week of Dec. 19.
Here’s the full men’s poll, released Monday morning:
Associated Press Men’s Basketball Top 25 (1/9/17)
At 13-2 overall, the men are tied with USC for the No. 25 spot. Most recently, K-State downed Oklahoma Saturday afternoon in Manhattan, but the Wildcats could have been ranked higher if not for a last-second loss at Kansas on Tuesday.
So with Baylor the new No. 1, the K-State/Baylor matchup Saturday afternoon becomes more intriguing. The Wildcats knocked off the last No. 1 team they hosted in Oklahoma last season.
But before that, K-State hits the road Tuesday to take on Texas Tech, which lost to Kansas Saturday but which toppled West Virginia in Lubbock, Texas last Tuesday.
“It’ll be a pretty big game against a pretty good team,” forward Wesley Iwundu said of Tuesday’s game against the Red Raiders. “I think this is a game that can be very winnable if we come out and do what we need to do, but at the same time, it won’t be easy.”
Tech isn’t ranked, but the Red Raiders are 12-3 and 1-2 in Big 12 play. With that in mind, K-State coach Bruce Weber knows Tuesday’s tilt won’t be easy — as with most conference games.
“They run old-school motion. It’s coach Bob Knight motion,” Weber said of Texas Tech. “They’ve got versatile big guys that can go out and shoot 3s. So we’re going to have to play well. It’s a huge game for us.”
K-State will indeed need to play well, especially with its road tendencies the last few seasons. Since Weber’s first year in Manhattan, the Wildcats have gone 2-7, 1-8 and 1-8 away from Bramlage Coliseum in Big 12 play.
For that reason, Tuesday’s game takes on even more importance if K-State wants a resume-builder.
“That’s why we played some road games in non-conference, to help prepare us for (Big 12 games),” Weber said. “We played well against Kansas; we had a chance. Now you’ve got to go get road wins. If you want to compete for the championship or the upper half of the league, you’ve got to get some road wins somewhere.”
On the women’s side, K-State (12-4, 2-2 Big 12) is slated to host Kansas Wednesday night. The Jayhawks will enter on a four-game losing skid, the last game of which was an 87-58 drubbing at the hands of Iowa State.
The Wildcats have certainly earned their ranking. They knocked off then-No. 12 West Virginia Jan. 1, and K-State routed Texas Tech Saturday night, 68-54.
The men tip off 8:15 p.m. Tuesday against Texas Tech on ESPNews, while the women are set for a 7 p.m. tipoff Wednesday in Manhattan against Kansas.