Welcome back to relevance in March, Kansas State fans. For the first time since 2019, your Wildcats are dancing!
The last time K-State was in the NCAA Tournament, they were a 4-seed and got knocked off by 13-seed UC Irvine — the second time under Bruce Weber that the Cats had been knocked out by a 13-seed. Now, under first-year coach Jerome Tang, and on the heels of earning the first 3-seed, and second-highest seed ever, the Wildcats will be looking to advance out of the Round of 64 for just the second time since 2012.
Today’s opponent, Montana State, enters as a 14-seed after winning the Big Sky championship to earn the conference’s auto-bid. They are 25-9 overall on the season, which includes a 21-point loss at Arizona and a 30-point loss at Oregon. But the Bobcats have won 8-straight, with their last loss coming to a different purple Wildcats team: Weber State.
Last season, the Bobcats were in an eerily similar position, where the fell in the opening round as a 14-seed to 3-seed Texas Tech, who went on to lose in the Sweet 16. A championship would always be preferred, but a similar path for K-State this season would certainly be a breath of fresh air.
The TangCats have the talent to put Montana State away easily. But basically no one on the current roster knows what the NCAA Tournament feels like, with Keyontae Johnson seeing action in 2019 as a true freshman at Florida, and redshirtting transfer Jerrell Colbert on the roster at LSU last season as a true freshman. It will definitely be a squarely on the coaches, who do have lots of experience on this stage, to get this team ready and prepared for a veteran team that should have no fear of the Wildcats.
It’s that time of the year. Go 1-0, survive and advance. We’re not ready to be done yet, let;s hope the team isn’t either.
Tonight’s opening round matchup is scheduled for a 8:40pm CT tip from Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC and will be aired on CBS and via the March Madness App/online with Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Jim Spanarkel (analyst), and Evan Washburn (sideline reporter) on the call. You’ll also be able to hear the game on parts of the K-State Sports Radio Network, plus possibly online at K-StateSports.com (and via the Varsity Network app), with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) calling the action over there.
Hey, are you on Discord? We are now, too! Feel free to join us! (Make sure you click the reaction button on the rules notice though, or you won’t see anything.) We’ll have a game thread there as well!