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K-State women at the Dance

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But men’s basketball season comes to an end against Cincinnati

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament-Baylor vs Kansas State Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball

Kansas State lost 75-61 to sixth seed Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats just could not get untracked on a day when the Bearcats could do no wrong with the basketball.

As Jon Morse notes in his recap, Cincinnati opened the game with perfection on their first few attempts at the basket, and Kansas State was pretty much out of the game from there on.

The Wildcats were not nearly as consistent as against Wake Forest in the play-in game. On Tuesday night, Kansas State shot 66 percent and scored 95 points. Against the Bearcats, the team only shot 38.9 percent (Ken Corbitt, Topeka Capital-Journal).

Wesley Iwundu got into foul trouble early, contributing to the Wildcats’ woes in the first half, which also included D.J. Johnson admitting he just didn’t “have it today.” The bizarre start allowed the Bearcats to build a sizable lead in the first half, and that was pretty much it (Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle).

This Kansas State team won 21 games despite being picked to finish ninth in the Big 12. The team made its first NCAA appearance in three years and won a play-in game in exciting fashion. But the Wildcats began the season on a 15-4 run and the ultimate outcome has been disappointing for most fans. More importantly, we still don’t have any closure with respect to Bruce Weber and his future in Manhattan (Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star).

Fear not, however. We’re not done dancing in Manhattan. The women begin their NCAA campaign today at Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats (22-10) will play the Drake Bulldogs (28-4). Tip-off is scheduled for 3 PM CT and the game will be on ESPN2.

The tournament games in Manhattan begin with Stanford (28-5) taking on New Mexico State in the first game which begins at 12:30 PM.

Getting to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament was an unexpected windfall for Kansas State, and the Wildcats will look to take full advantage of playing at home against a Drake team currently riding a hot streak. The Bulldogs went a perfect 18-0 in conference play and have won 22 games in a row, the nation’s second-longest winning streak (Rick Peterson, Jr., Capital-Journal).

Look out for Lizzy Wendell, the Missouri Valley player of the year. She’s averaging 21.1 points and 4.5 rebounds. Watch out also for the Bulldogs’ head coach: in her fifth year at Drake, Jennie Baranczyk is a former Kansas State assistant who has helped Drake improve every year since she took the job.

March Madness continues apace in the rest of the country, and Jon Morse has your live thread ready to go.

Baseball

The BatCats beat Iowa 3-0 at Tointon Family Stadium yesterday, using a pair of pinch-hit singles in the bottom of the sixth to break a scoreless tie.

With two outs, Kansas State had four consecutive singles and a walk with bases loaded. That rally was the difference in the game, and afterwards, Brad Hill admitted it was exactly the sort of sharp hitting that had been missing in the last few games.

Wildcats’ starter Justin Heskett did not allow a single Iowa player to even reach second base until the fifth inning. In his second win of the season, Heskett pitched seven scoreless innings, a season high. This was also Kansas State’s fourth shutout of the season.

The second game in the series is scheduled for tonight at 5 PM.