K-State’s women faded during the brutality of the Big 12 schedule, but they managed to keep above that ever-important .500 mark, thanks in no small part to earning a 3-0 record against the Jayhawk women. The Wildcats (16-15, 7-11 Big 12) were rewarded for their efforts with a berth in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament, in which they will host Saint Louis University Billikins (17-15, 9-7 Atlantic-10) on Thursday night. Game time has not yet been determined. This is the fourth consecutive year in which the women have played in the post-season. The streak began with their last appearance in the WNIT, in Coach Jeff Mittie’s first season on the K-State sideline.
Unlike the men’s NIT, the WNIT includes 64 teams, rather than 32. The official bracket, oddly, does not list seeds for the participants. Applying the format of the NCAA bracket, K-State appears to be a 7-seed, with Saint Louis being a 10.
The program also learned yesterday that senior Shaelyn Martin was named a College Sports Information Directors Association (COSIDA) academic all-American. A kinesiology major with a 4.0 GPA, Martin is the sixth K-State player to win the award, and the first since Ashley Sweat in 2010.
K-State may not be getting the attention that some of the other NCAA selections (and snubs) are getting, but the trusty local writers have started whetting out appetite for Friday’s big game. Kellis Robinett breaks down the good and the bad of the Creighton match-up. Specifically, the Bluejays play up-tempo to the tune of 84.3 points per game (10th nationally), but are less accomplished on defense, giving up 74.2 points per game (222nd). Kellis suggests Arizona State as a comparable team. TCU, at 83 ppg scored (20th) and 75.9 allowed (270th) provides a more recent opponent to compare, if you are into that sort of thing. Kellis also notes that Creighton lost to Baylor on a neutral floor, while K-State swept them home and away.
Somehow, all of that adds up to K-State being a 1 1/2 -point underdog. Disrespect? Hold that thought.
CBS Sports published Bovada’s futures odds for the tournament, pegging the Wildcats at +50000. It’s not the number, but the company that is surprising. Teams given the exact same odds to win it all include Arizona State, Marshall, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico State, Stephen F. Austin, and Wright State. Okay, now you can blow your DISRESPECT stack. Tournament favorites Villanova, Virginia and Duke come in at +600, +650 and +800, respectively. First-round opponent Creighton is set at +35,000.
Though it was already reported yesterday, we can’t repeat the optimism often enough: Dean Wade and Barry Brown are expected to be ready to play by Friday. Take that, bitter odds-makers. Tim Bisel also updated his story on the health of K-State’s most valuable players.
The Omaha World-Herald reports that through this first-round NCAA game, Marcus Foster’s career will have come full circle. I wonder how tired he will get of answering questions about the circumstances of his transfer. Quite tired, I would guess.
If you only watched the networks and read MSN, you might conclude the world revolves solely around NCAA brackets and Tiger Woods’ near miss in Florida (Can you tell me who won the Valspar this weekend without looking it up? But I bet you knew Tiger took second and is “back” by proclamation, didn’t you?). Well, it turns out other things happened, too. K-State baseball players Will Brennan and Drew Mount were honored by the Big 12 as Player of the Week and Newcomer of the Week, respectively.
Brennan, a sophomore from Stilwell, Kansas, posted back-to-back four-hit games against Mercer, and extended his streak of games in which he reached base safely to 38. He is the Big 12 leader in both hits (33) and average (.493). Through Sunday, he was tied for the national lead in hits and fifth in average.
Mount became the first player in league history to win the Newcomer award in three consecutive weeks. He hit three home runs over the weekend, giving him 7 on the season, which leads the league. Mount also has driven in a staggering 29 runs already this season, more than any other player in the nation. In addition to the Big 12 honor, the junior transfer from De Anza College was also listed as one of 10 of Collegiate Baseball’s National Players of the Week, and was named National Player of the Week by NCAA.com.
Those who hate the “Batcats” moniker (at least one follower’s blood pressure skyrockets every time he sees the nickname) get a new word to ponder this morning, as K-State Sports Extra expounds upon Mount’s reputation as “Mount Crushmore.”
Coach Hill’s Wildcats (10-5) will start off the week’s Bluejay hostilities, as they host Creighton (8-5) Tuesday night.
At 1:00 Tuesday afternoon, the K-State tennis team will put its No. 31 ranking up against the No. 38 Baylor Bears. K-State is 9-3, while Baylor is 8-6. The Bears have owned the all-time series, however, 24-4. Time to start chipping away at that margin.