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SLATE: Big 12 Tournament Begins

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The men are inaction tonight, baseball also going today instead of yesterday.

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Kansas State
Three years ago today, we were celebrating a Big 12 Title.
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball

Today has a much different feel that the same date three years ago. On March 9th, 2019, we ended the day celebrating a Big 12 Title in men’s basketball, and one we didn’t have to share with KU. Today, we’re waiting to see if the Kansas State Wildcats, and head coach Bruce Weber, can survive just one more day playing basketball this season.

Tonight, the men are in Kansas City to face West Virginia in the opening game of the Big 12 tournament. Normally there would be two games on Wednesday, but due to Oklahoma State’s NCAA-mandated post-season ban, there is no 7/10 game, and just the 8/9 game. Tonight’s game tips at 6:03pm CST, and can be seen on ESPNU.

Bruce Weber is hopeful about finding “tournament magic” that could propel his team to a few wins at the T-Mobile Center. But it’s going to take a lot of magic for this team to continue to play past the end of this week. To break it down:

  • A loss tonight and the season, and Bruce Weber’s career at K-State, is over.
  • A win tonight pits the Cats against KU tomorrow, and the Jayhawks haven’t lost to the Wildcats in KC since 1993.
  • A loss Thursday and the season (and BW) is over. An upset win on Thursday likely gets the Cats a sniff at the NIT, and pits them against (likely) Texas on Friday.
  • Making it to the championship game (meaning winning three games in three days, with two against ranked foes) likely secures an NIT bid regardless of that outcome.

Basically, the only way the Cats have a chance to keep playing is if they make it to the Semifinals on Friday, and even then an at-large bid to the NIT is still highly questionable. It takes four wins in four days, including likely needing to beat KU, Texas, and Baylor/Tech in consecutive days, for the Cats to get the auto-bid to the NCAA Tournament, and their only chance to make the Big Dance.

Buckle up.

Baseball

Due to travel issues getting back from southern California, the home-opener that was scheduled for yesterday got bumped to today. And thanks to it being a close opponent, the BatCats are still slated to open the home portion of their season against Nebraska at Tointon Family Stadium, with first pitch slated for 4pm CST (hopefully getting the game over before the looming winter storm hits the region). If you can’t make it to the field today, you can watch the action on Big 12 Now of ESPN+, and since it’s being produced by K-State you likely won’t have to deal with bad camera angles and odd-ball announcers (in fact, you’ll get James Westling and former Wildcat star Craig Wilson, which should be a great duo).

Football

Spring practices started this week for the K-State football team. And that means we’ve got football press conferences and stories!

Yesterday, following the first practice, was the first press conference of the spring session. Chris Klieman reported that the Cats are a little short handed at the moment due to lots of guys still recovering from post-season surgery, especially along the lines, and so they did a lot more 7-on-7 drills in the first practice. He did praise his team for their commitment during the winter weight sessions, and talked about some roster shifts (like having the Mac truck Jax Dineen lining up at running back to help spell Deuce Vaughn).

On offense, the Wildcats were excited following the first practice, noting an increase to tempo and aggressiveness, providing more opportunities for more plays, so more guys have the opportunity to make an impact.

Golf

The K-State men’s golf team earned a 3rd place finish at the Colleton River Collegiate held at the par-72, 7,042-yard Colleton River Jack Nicklaus Golf Course to start the week. The Wildcats carded a 20-under 844 as a team to finish ahead of four ranked teams, and just one stroke behind 2nd place Cincinnati. The Cats were led by sophomore Luke O’Neill, who carded a 14-under 202 to earn a share of 1st place. O’Neill tallied 39 pars, 13 birdies, an eagle, and just a single bogey over the 54 holes of competition. O’Neill, from Ireland, became the first Wildcat to win an individual title since Jermey Gandon in the 2019 Mission Inn Spring Spectacular, while it was the 41st individual championship in school history. The Cats return to action next week for the Louisiana Classics in Lafayette, LA.