First up today, we at Bring on the Cats wish to express our deepest condolences to the Wichita State family today, as sitting university president Dr. John Bardo passed away yesterday after dealing with a chronic lung condition. Dr. Bardo, 70, had been president of WSU since 2012 and led many innovations and changes at WSU, notably (for this page) the move of Shocker athletics from the Missouri Valley Conference into the American Athletic Conference.
The bats took a little while to get warmed up Tuesday afternoon, but once they did the Wildcats got things going in a big way, scoring the final nine runs of the game to top the visiting Northern Illinois Huskies 9-6 in the first game of the mid-week series. Starting pitcher Kasey Ford gave up six runs on eight hits, all singles, in the first two innings; but Will Brennan and Zach Kokoska each turned in three-hit games, and Mitch Zubradt tossed a perfect ninth inning for his third save of the season. The BatCats improve to 7-8 on the season with the victory, and will look to get back to .500 today, assuming the rainy weather in Manhattan today doesn’t cause a postponement/cancellation, with a 3:30pm game against the Huskies that should be available on ESPN3.
The post-season honors continue to roll in for your 2019 Big 12 Champion Kansas State Wildcats, as head coach Bruce Weber was selected as the U.S. Basketball Writers Association District VI Coach of the Year, while Barry Brown Jr., and Dean Wade were each named to the All-District VI team for the second consecutive season, the organization announced on Tuesday.
The Big 12 Tournament begins today from the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO, and James Brady at the mothership has your full bracket and schedule (and updated scores as they come available). The Wildcats are off today, but will face the winner of the TCU/OSU game that tips tonight at 6:00pm CDT and can be seen on ESPNU. With the tournament getting underway, Kellis Robinett (via the KC Star) takes a look at how the Big 12 tournament could affect where K-State (and KU) will play in the NCAA Tournament that starts next week.
This is where our lead photo finally comes in to play. Ryan Black at the Manhattan Mercury wrote a feature on the coach of the team that the Wildcats beat to earn their share of the Big 12 title. Of course, that man is Lon Kruger, who has deep ties to Kansas State both as a student-athlete and a former coach, and was happy, as much as a losing coach can be in that moment, for his Alma Mater and the success that Bruce Weber has brought to the program.
Yesterday, Drew dropped in with the running back portion of his spring football guide. There is a whole lot of unknown at the position considering the Wildcats return zero scholarship running backs from 2018, and will likely feature grad transfer James Gilbert, at least early on.
After a couple days of practice, Coach Klieman likes the energy and quick improvement that he’s seen from his new charges.