It’s March Madness, so you know the drill by now. Lots of links, and as it’s Saturday morning lots of non-revenue action to digest as well. Once again, we’re preparing the Slate not long after midnight, so once again feel free to link new morning stories in the comments. Away we go!
- Kellis Robinett at the Star and Eagle picks the Cats by one. His colleagues are more optimistic; Blair Kerkhoff has K-State by three and Vahe Gregorian predicts a four-point win.
- Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune previews, and has Loyola winning by four. Homer.
Other local media:
- Robinett discusses how K-State’s getting it done with small ball.
- He also chatted with our old pal Jamar Samuels, who thinks the Cats will get done tonight what he and his teammates couldn’t in 2010.
- The Star’s Blair Kerkhoff reports on how Loyola’s Clayton Custer (from Overland Park) would have been a Wildcat if Frank Martin hadn’t left, and how Custer felt Bruce Weber didn’t want him. Let’s try not to think about Jacob Pullen’s feelings on this right now.
- The Eagle’s Matt Reidl reports that St. John, already a staunchly purple Kansas outpost, is going nuts this weekend.
- Also at the Eagle, Jason Tidd reports on law enforcement Twitter’s reactions to Thursday night’s games. K-State was a big winner, as were seat belts and designated drivers.
Other Chicago media:
- Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times reflects on how Bruce Weber and Porter Moser were both given a lot of rope by their athletic directors.
- David Hough of the Chicago Tribune claims the winner of Thursday’s K-State/Kentucky game was Loyola.
- We can put that whole “Kentucky didn’t shake hands” kerfuffle to bed. CBS’s Chip Patterson reports that Barry Brown, speaking for the team, acknowledged that John Calipari’s “they were busy celebrating” excuse was, in fact, a completely legitimate statement. Interestingly, the takeaway wasn’t that K-State unfairly tarred Kentucky, but that K-State showed maturity by burying the story.
- CL Brown at the Athletic ($) writes about how both K-State and Loyola have history, respect history, and are trying to make history.
- At USA Today, Dan Wolken is in full “they don’t have five-stars because they run clean programs” mode.
- The New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro argues that if K-State wants to be loved, they picked the wrong year to bust brackets. He’s not wrong.
- Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls for the NCAA to stop being snobs on Selection Sunday. We tend to agree, but let’s not forget that a quarter of the Sweet Sixteen and 3/8 of the Elite Eight have that shiny XII logo on their jerseys.
- The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel on how we like Bruce Weber just fine now.
- SECCountry’s Kyle Tucker has one question for Kentucky: What the hell happened?
- On a tangent, Ben Kercheval at CBS ponders which teams would be great Cinderellas in a 64-team college football tournament. K-State is on the list, duh.
The dream is over, at least for 2018. Last night in the WNIT round of 16 at Bramlage, Kayla Goth and Peyton Williams combined for 47 points — for the second night in a row and third time this season -- but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Big West regular-season champion Cal-Davis Aggies in a 71-69 setback. K-State had two chances to tie at the end of the game, but were unable to find the basket.
Goth led the way with 28 points, and added five assists to end the season with 226. That’s the second-highest single-season total in K-State history, and 11th all-time in the Big 12. Williams added 19 points on a career night in which she also recorded a personal season high in assists with five and a team season high with 18 rebounds. Her 19 points left her with 501 to end the season; she’s the fourth sophomore in K-State history to reach that mark and the first since Kendra Wecker back in 2002-03.
Cal-Davis (28-6, 14-2 Big West), which will move on to face Indiana in the WNIT quarterfinals, was led by Morgan Bertsch’s game-high 31 points.
K-State ends the season with an 18-16 record, but showed great promise late in the year and return both Goth and Williams in 2018-19. A rebound seems in order.
The BatCats (12-10, 0-1 Big 12) ventured south to Fort Worth to start a three game set with TCU, but a two-run shot by Luken Baker in the bottom of the eighth erased a 2-1 Wildcat lead and propelled the Horned Frogs to a series-opening 4-2 win. K-State right-hander Kasey Ford threw seven innings, giving up a lone run on six hits, but the bullpen was unable to hang on.
Drew Mount went 3-5, while Trent McMaster was 2-4 with a double; neither factored in the two Wildcat runs, however.
Today’s game is at 2:00pm on FOX Sports Southwest.
Track and Field
At the Roadrunner Invitational in San Antonio, Nina Schultz picked up right where she left off on Thursday. The Wildcat phenom ended up winning all seven events in the heptathlon, and thus ran away with the competition as she posted a score of 6,018 points. The performance was so dominant that she broke the facility record by over 1,000; it is the best score thus far in the NCAA outdoor season and just three points short of her personal best, which was good for fourth in the NCAA in 2017. In the decathlon, Max Estill and Simone Fassina finished three-four.
Janee’ Kassanavoid also had a day, going just shy of 66 meters (216 feet, 4 inches) to capture the top honors in the women’s weight throw. It’s the second-best throw in the NCAA this season, and it’s extra impressive as Kassanavoid did not compete in the indoor season this winter. Mitch Dixon won the men’s weight throw at 64.23m.
K-State had a decent day putting the shot as well, as Brett Neely and freshman Kyle Mitchell finished second and fourth, while on the women’s side Jess St. John won the event.
Day three kicks off this morning with #HighJumpU taking center stage; at 2:00pm the track events will commence to close out the festivities.
It took all seven points, and Ines Mesquita needed three sets to ultimately break the deadlock in the final match, but #31 K-State (12-4, 2-1 Big 12) managed to grab a 4-3 win on the road at TCU (9-7, 0-1 Big 12) yesterday.
Today’s a drive-across-Texas day, as the Cats will face #16 Texas Tech at noon Sunday.
There are 12 teams competing in the BIGHORN Invitational at Canyons Course in Palm Desert, Calif. K-State is the host, and they’re also stuck in 11th place after the first two rounds, at 8-over and 28 shots back of leaders Illinois.
Jacob Eklund is the leading Cat, tied for 20th at 2-under; he’s five strokes behind the Illini’s Michael Feagles and Mississippi State’s Taylor Bibbs.
The final round tees off at 10:00am.
At the MountainView Collegiate in Tucson, the women are having a better time of it. The Wildcats shot an opening-round 298, 10-over to finish the day tied for sixth place with Wichita State; Illinois shot even par for the lead.
Connie Jaffrey shot a 1-under 71 to lead the Wildcats; she’s also tied for sixth, three shots back of KU’s Sera Tadokoro. The second round begins at 9:00am this morning.