Let’s remember, first, that just making the Elite Eight is something special. Even Kentucky, the team which has been there the most often, has only managed the feat 37 times in 80 years. Only nine schools have advanced that far more often than K-State1, and the Wildcats have only done it 13 times — once every 6 or 7 years, on average.
But man. When you haven’t reached the Final Four in 54 years, losing hurts. Losing like K-State did on Saturday hurts even worse.
Should fortune favor the Wildcats, next year will be even better. Everyone who played significant minutes returns. The younger members of the team will have a crucial year of experience under their belts; everyone will have the vitally important experience of this year’s tournament run to guide them. It’s a circumstance from which K-State has not benefitted in a long, long time; the 2010 run ended with Denis Clemente’s final game, and the 1988 loss to Kansas ended the college career of Mitch Richmond.
What we’re saying is this: wait ‘til next year.
1 - Kentucky (37), North Carolina (28), Kansas (24), UCLA (22), Duke (21), Ohio State (15), Louisville, Michigan, and Villanova (14 each). Michigan State has also reached the Elite Eight 13 times. Stop and think about the schools we didn’t just list, like Indiana, Syracuse, Connecticut... and be proud.
So. It’s Monday. Let’s have some links, and we’re going to give the Ramblers their due here. After all, they’re suddenly our favorite Final Four team, right?
- Our own Luke Sobba with the final word.
- K-State’s official post-game report.
- In yesterday’s Sports Extra, Corbin McGuire says they don’t appreciate it now, but the Wildcats will appreciate the season later.
- At the Star and Eagle, Kellis Robinett with his gamer.
- Blair Kerkhoff, also at the Star, noted that K-State failed to be the early aggressor, and it cost them. Kerkhoff also focused on Overland Park’s Ben Richardson, who buried the Cats with 23 points and won regional Most Outstanding Player honors, joining teammates Clayton Custer and Donte Ingram along with Wildcats Barry Brown and Xavier Sneed on the 2018 South Region All-Tournament Team.
- Still at the Star, Vahe Gregorian lays out the awful truth: the better team won.
- At the Eagle, Taylor Eldridge reports on Dean Wade and his lack of regret for trying to come back from his foot injury against Kentucky.
- Robinett asks the scary question: Will Wade and Brown actually be back next year?
- Cody Daniel at DieHards says the season was a success, despite its end.
- USA Today’s Scott Gleeson on Loyola’s celebratory return to Chicago. Gleeson also explains why Loyola may actually win the whole dang thing.
- Also at USA Today, Josh Peter notes something funny: in 2007 at Illinois State, the head coach was fired by the athletic director. The head coach was current Loyola head coach Porter Moser. The athletic director... was Kansas AD Sheahon Zenger. Guess who might face one another in the national championship game?
- Chris Fisher, writing for Kentucky’s 247 site CatsPause, notes that K-State trolled Kentucky Friday by extending an offer to the second-ranked player in Kentucky, 2019 guard Dekeyvan Tandy.
- Thomas Lott at Sporting News had three takeaways, the third of which is that the Cats simply weren’t built to come back from a big deficit. We knew that already.
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Steve Hummer sort of trolls Kentucky himself, noting that K-State handled them but couldn’t handle Loyola.
- Joe Drape of the New York Times writes a New York Timesy recap.
- Finally, ESPN’s Sam Khan Jr. looks forward and predicts a big year for the Wildcats in 2018-19.
In today’s Sports Extra, McGuire belatedly reports on Wildcat senior Shaelyn Martin being named a second-team Academic All-American, the only Big 12 player to receive that honor.
Following Saturday’s 12-2 shellacking in Fort Worth, K-State took a 6-0 loss to TCU to end the series by being swept. The Wildcats (12-12, 0-3) simply couldn’t muster offense over the weekend, scoring only four runs in the three-game set. TCU improves to 14-7, 3-0 in conference play.
Tuesday night, the BatCats host Omaha for a single game. 6:30pm on ESPN3.
Track and Field
The Roadrunner Invitational ended Saturday, and the K-State women came in third behind Texas A&M (178.5) and Baylor, whose 151 points barely edged K-State’s 148 for second place. Shadae Lawrence took the women’s discus title, while freshman Clare Gibson won the women’s high jump -- with Rhizlane Siba, Shanae McKenzie, and Morgan Coffman finishing 2-3-4. #HighJumpU lives.
It still lives on the men’s side, too. Freshman Tejaswin Shankar took first place in the men’s high jump, breaking the meet and facility record with a winning leap of 7’-4.5”. In the men’s 1500, Lukas Koch and Travis Hodge finshed 1-2, while Jullane Walker won the men’s 200m. Like the women, the men finished in third place, just four points back of Baylor (104-100), although A&M ran away with the title at 168.
Other notable finishes included Ariel Okorie taking second in the women’s 100m hurdles and third in the women’s long jump, while Brett Neelly was third in men’s discus. In the women’s 1500, K-State managed the strange feat of finishing 3-4-5-7-8, earning 18 points; all five Wildcats (Morgan Wedekind, Emma Wren, Kayla Doll, Cara Melgares, and Sydney Collins) posted personal bests. Wedekind also finished fourth in the 800m.
Ouch. Yesterday, 31st-ranked K-State (12-5, 2-2 Big 12) traveled to Lubbock to face the 16th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders (11-4, 11 Big 12), and... well, got swept. It was the first real hiccup of what’s so far been a pretty solid season. The Cats are now off until April 6, when they’ll again hit the road for a pair in Morgantown and Ames.
K-State didn’t fare particularly well at the San Diego Crew Classic over the weekend, although the competition was high-level. The best effort was a second-place finish in Sunday’s 1v4, losing by a mere four seconds to Big 12 foe Tennessee. (That never stops being funny.)
The men took tenth at the K-State-hosted BIGHORN Invitational in Palm Desert, shooting an 8-over 872 to finish 48 strokes back of champions Illinois on Saturday. Connor Chesky, competing as an individual, was the low-scoring Wildcat at 1-over 217, tied for 29th and 12 shots back of individual champion Bryan Baumgarten of Illinois. Roland Massimino shot 3-over 219, to pace the team members.
Also on Saturday, the women completed the MountainView Collegiate Invitational in eighth place, 23 shots back of champions Illinois (sheesh) with a 34-over 898. Connie Jaffrey finished tied for eighth place, at 2-over 218, five strokes back of champ Abegail Arevalo of San Jose State.