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SLATE: Big 12 Tournament starts tonight

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K-State returns to KC, where it was the last men’s team to win a game in last year’s conference tourney

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Texas Christian
Nijel Pack has another chance to show he merit’s all-conference freshman honors.
Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

The BatCats won last night, but we’re going to look back, before looking forward, before looking back.

Basketball

A year ago, K-State marshalled its forces to beat TCU in the Big 12 Tournament, ending a trying season on a high note. Tonight at 5:30, the Wildcats will try to match that feat, but without the weirdness that was the first week of cancellations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the 25th annual Phillips 66 Big Twelve Championship K-State (4-14) is listed as the 9-seed, while TCU (5-11) is the 8. The teams split the regular season series, with each team managing to win the away game by a close margin. K-State has been a team on the rise, winning three of its past four games, while TCU has lost six of its past seven. The Frogs, at 12-13 overall, have won more than K-State (8-19), but this looks like the kind of even match-up it has been recently. This is the fourth consecutive season the teams will meet in the Big 12 tourney. K-State has won the last three contests between the two.

Kellis Robinett visited with coach Bruce Weber and athletic director Gene Taylor about the eerie ending to last year’s tournament appearance. Kellis predicts another close, low-scoring win for the Cats today. The Salina Journal’s Arne Green weighs in, as well, lauding this year’s squad for its resilience. They have certainly displayed lots of that.

Today’s winner gets a shot at No. 2 Baylor in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

The K-State women also begin their quest to put some stamp of redemption on a disappointing season, as they tip off as the 10-seed against Texas Tech in the Municipal Center.

Baseball

The howling wind was a boon to K-State hitters, who smacked six home runs Tuesday en route to a 15-4 drubbing of South Dakota State at Tointon Family Stadium. Daniel Carinci and Zach Kokoska each homered twice and combined to drive in nine runs. Nick Goodwin and Dylan Phillips also went deep, as the Cats had multiple home runs in four different innings.

Probably as important: K-State cleaned up its defense after a disastrous weekend showing, committing only one error, and it kept South Dakota State in the yard, surrendering no home runs to the Jackrabbits.

The teams will wrap their midweek series tonight at 6 p.m.

Football

In a year in which the pandemic deprived athletes of the opportunity to showcase their abilities at a live NFL combine, pro days on university campuses have taken on additional importance. K-State defensive end Wyatt Hubert and tight end Briley Moore made the most of their showcase opportunity yesterday.

Hubert met his personal goal of completing the three-cone drill in 7 seconds, which he hopes will show he can play at either defensive end or outside linebacker. For the sake of perspective: That’s faster than Khalil Mack completed the drill.

Moore showcased crisp rout-running and also threw up some impressive physical abilities:

The football team also hosted a Tuesday press conference as spring drills continue.

Golf

The men’s golf squad improved two places to finish 4th at the Spartan Collegiate at Sea Island, with sophomore Tim Tillmanns finishing 6th individually. Iowa won the overall title, besting No. 39 Notre Dame by one stroke, while the Wildcats edged out host Michigan State, who finished fifth.

Track and Field

The Shankar Show heads to Fayetteville, Arkansas, where the high jump and triple jump phenom and four of his teammates will compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships Thursday through Saturday. Anigbata Grace Chinonyelum, who had qualified in the women’s triple jump, will not compete due to injury.