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SLATE: Kansas State to play Eastern Kentucky and potentially Missouri at Paradise Jam

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Tennis starts NCAA run, Big 12 track and rowing championships this weekend, baseball meets KU, and Luis Colon is up to something

We may have to call a temporary halt to the #UnholyAlliance on November 19.
We may have to call a temporary halt to the #UnholyAlliance on November 19.
Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

The Paradise Jam revealed the bracket for the 2018 edition of the annual tournament at the University of the Virgin Islands yesterday, and K-State will face the Eastern Kentucky Colonels in the primetime game in the first round on November 16.

Two nights later, the Cats will face the winner (or loser, if they somehow stumble themselves) of the first-round contest between Northern Iowa and Pennsylvania. They’ll play again on November 19, with a multitude of possibilities; the hope, however, is that they’ll be in the championship game. Who would they face?

The other side of the bracket begins with Oregon State and Old Dominion, followed by Kennesaw State and... the Missouri Tigers. That’s right, the Wildcat trip to the Virgin Islands may result in a temporary cessation of our beloved #UnholyAlliance.

Stories from Tim Bisel at the Capital-Journal and Kellis Robinett at the Eagle, and over at Rock M Nation our pal Bill Connelly seems to be pretty excited over the entire prospect.

In other basketball-related news, Paul Thompson at Northeast News (Kansas City) reports on a newly-hired youth caseworker at Sheffield Place, a transitional center for homeless mothers and children. Why do you care? Because that caseworker is none other than Luis Colon, and he made a huge impact the moment he came in for his interview. Northeast News also posts a podcast, and in the newest episode Thompson talks with Colon about his new job.

We’re really excited for and proud of Luis, and it would be remiss of us not to note that Sheffield Place has a four-star rating with Charity Navigator and a donation link right there on that page.

Football

The annual Catbacker Tour begins Monday, and as usual the caravan begins out west. Department representatives will visit Dodge CIty on Monday, followed by stops in Garden City, Scott City, Colby, and Hays over the course of the week. Next week will see the tour hitting Wichita, Arkansas City, Iola, and Emporia; after Memorial Day the department will visit Kansas City, Atchison, and Seneca. Belleville, Hutchinson, Salina, Topeka, and Marysville will be the destinations for the first week of June, and the following week the tour will conclude with trips to Wellington, Lawrence, and Great Bend before wrapping up in Manhattan on June 15.

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com takes a look at 7 late-round draft picks he expects to outperform their slot. Leading his list: one D.J. Reed of the San Francisco 49ers.

Baseball

It’s Sunflower Showdown weekend, as the BatCats welcome Kansas to Tointon for three games. A lot is at stake, as K-State has to sweep the Jayhawks to keep their flimsy Big 12 tournament hopes alive. First pitch this evening is at 6:30, and will air on Cox Kansas and KStateHD.tv. Saturday’s contest is also at 6:30, airing on ESPN3, and will feature the Senior Day festivities; Sunday’s noon finale will air on Fox Sports 1.

Jake Biller has been named a Google Cloud Academic All-District player, the first Wildcat to earn that honor since Ross Kivett in 2014.

In the wake of Brad Hill’s announced retirement, Robinett leads his weekly K-State Q&A with the subject before drifting off into Byron Pringle’s future, the impending QB battle, and a completely justified slagging off of Subway.

In today’s Sports Extra, Corbin McGuire touches base with former Wildcat Evan Marshall, who’s back in the bigs with the Cleveland Indians. Marshall has in the past week become a father, gotten called up, and struck out Most Hated Enemy Josh Donaldson. So he’s doing okay.

Track and Field

Your defending Big 12 outdoor track champions, as well as their male counterparts, get started on the 2018 version of the championship today in Waco. Today’s action begins at 11:00am with the decathlon and heptahlon opening events; later in the afternoon the hammer throw, javelin, and 10k will take place (both men and women). Wildcat00 will be along in a bit with a preview.

Unfortunately, the event is only airing on FloTrack, which is a subscription web service. Once again, allow us to express our frustration at the Big 12 for not getting this on an acceptable platform.

Tennis

Big honors for Wildcat Maria Linares, who was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year yesterday. Linares also earned second-team All-Big 12 honors as a singles player, along with fellow freshman teammate Margot Decker; unsurprisingly, both were also named to the Big 12’s All-Freshman team. Decker was also named to the second-team All-Big 12 doubles team alongside her partner for the year, senior Carolina Costamagna.

Notably, the last time any Wildcat received any tennis honors was 2014, the senior season of the legendary Petra Niedermayerova. It would seem that coach Danielle Steinberg’s program-building is bearing fruit in her fourth season.

In yesterday’s Sports Extra, McGuire reported on the mood as K-State prepares to take on Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Championships. The match begins at noon in Evanston, Ill., and will be available on video courtesy of those other Wildcats at Northwestern.

Golf

Dean Straka at DieHards veers off into the rough, ranking the Big 12 golf programs by professional success. K-State lands seventh, ahead of three schools with virtually no pro presence whatsoever. Phooey.

No, seriously, okay, wait a minute. Kansas alums have a total of four victories on the PGA Tour. Oklahoma appears to have a total of five. Jim Colbert had eight all by himself. I can understand being behind Texas, Oklahoma State, Baylor, and TCU, all of whom have alumni with major wins to their credit. But come on.

Rowing

Tomorrow at 1:00pm CT, the Big 12 rowing championships will begin at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The Wildcats will be joined by fellow Big 12 members Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, West Virginia, Old Dominion, Tennessee, and Alabama. (We never get tired of saying that.) K-State enters as the sixth seed in 1v8, the fourth seed in 2v8 and 3v8, and the fifth seed in 1v4 and 2v4. Texas is the top seed in, well, everything.

Unlike the track championships, the Big 12 is actually streaming the rowing championships themselves. For free. Saturday’s races are the preliminaries, with the petite and grand finals on Sunday.

24 Wildcats, including 4.0 students Samantha Bendrick, Aubrey Gilchrist, and Grace Reilly, were named to the Big 12 All-Academic first team. An additional four Cats were second-teamers.

ESports

The Big 12’s periodic State of College Athletics forum is scheduled for May 23 at the Statler Hotel in Dallas, and the main topic of this edition is competitive video gaming. Bonnie Bernstein will moderate a panel including Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, K-State athletic director Gene Taylor, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, and several notables from the burgeoning esports industry including Michael Sherman, the manager of collegiate esports at Riot Games, developer of League of Legends. The forum will be broadcast on Twitch, of course, via Stadium’s Twitch channel.