The postseason is nearly upon us. The Big 12 Tournament begins Wednesday. Are you ready for four days of fun in Kansas City? Then comes Selection Sunday and the NCAA Tournament. It's an exciting time of year.
For the record: West Virginia is my pick to win a trophy at Sprint Center. We'll see if I'm right (like when I predicted Dean Wade to make the All-Big 12 first team) or if I'm wrong (like, well, the majority of the time).
Anyway, it's time for another K-State Q&A. Let's get to your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.
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I'm no Bracketologist, but I think Kansas State is a lock for the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats should be no worse than a No. 10 seed. I know some fans remain worried they could end up in Dayton again for the First Four if they lose to TCU on Thursday, but I think they are beyond that.
They finished fourth in the Big 12 standings, own three Quadrant 1 wins and don't have any bad losses. They should be in. No Big 12 team with those credentials has missed the NCAA Tournament since 2009. For K-State, the only question should be about its seed.
You're right. K-State doesn't have the best RPI (62) or SOS (94) and that could hurt on Selection Sunday. But I still think it will get in no matter what happens in KC.
K-State is probably locked into the 7-10 range. But you never know. A championship run at the Big 12 Tournament could mean a 6 seed. A blowout loss to TCU could mean an 11 seed.
Wildcats fans will be hoping for anything that keeps them off the 8-9 line, the least desirable spot on the bracket for an at-large team.
I doubt we see the Lucky Lavenders against TCU, but if K-State wins that game I won't be surprised at all to see them in the semifinals or the championship game.
K-State players badly wanted to wear them against Baylor on senior day. Lavender is the new big-game color in Manhattan.
My hope: K-State wears lavender and KU wears red in the semifinals. That would look so strange, yet awesome.
He could win the Big 12 Tournament this week. That would probably help his approval rating.
More than anything, though, he needs to win in the NCAA Tournament. His overall record (121-78) is good and his Big 12 record (55-53) isn't bad. Making it to the Big Dance four times in six seasons is also solid. I sense he won over some fans this year. But his detractors will look past all that until he wins in March. He's been to the Round of 64 three times as K-State's coach and lost all three times. He needs to do more.
A Round of 32 appearance would be a start.
I'm not really sure. Georgia is the only notable opponent K-State has played home-and-away in a scheduled series under Bruce Weber. Frank Martin only played series with Xavier and Virginia Tech. Ask Weber about scheduling, and he always responds with something about teams not wanting to play at Bramlage Coliseum. Texas A&M and Vanderbilt both insisted on home-and-neutral arrangements.
Florida, Gonzaga, Washington State and Colorado State were all neutral-and-neutral.
A source told me K-State has reached out to Arkansas, Creighton, Nebraska and a few other "name" regional opponents about playing next season and they have all said no. Weber has tried and failed to get any Big Ten teams on the schedule.
Maybe that's why Gene Taylor says "We would like to do a home-and-home with Wichita State."
K-State hasn't advanced beyond the Round of 64 since 2012 or made the second weekend since 2010, so I'm not going to aim too high with my prediction.
But the Sweet 16 seems within reach. K-State will play a similar opponent in the first round, so the Wildcats should have a 50/50 chance of winning their first NCAA Tournament game under Bruce Weber. They haven't been good against top 25 teams this season and went 0-6 against the top three teams in the Big 12, so winning another game could be tricky. But it's certainly not impossible. They lost at the last second at Kansas. What if the bracket opens up with upsets?
Barry Brown and Dean Wade are both excellent basketball players. If they both play well, K-State will have a shot against any opponent. Worse teams have gone to the Elite Eight and the Final Four.
Give me K-State past the Round of 64. There's a decent chance it happens this year, and Wade probably needs another year before he jumps to the NBA. If he comes back the Wildcats get two more cracks at the NCAA Tournament with him on the roster. I like those odds.
Let's compare based on seedings at this week's Big 12 Tournament.
1. Kansas = Joe's Kansas City
Best BBQ in town. Long lines to get your food, but it's usually worth it. Unfortunately, it doesn't always beat BBQ from other regions.
2. Texas Tech = Stroud's
The Red Raiders being really good at basketball feels like eating really good fried chicken in a barbecue town.
3. West Virginia = Garozzo's Ristorante
I imagine this is where Bob Huggins eats all of his meals.
4. Kansas State = Minsky's Pizza
Good pizza, but not good enough to be an iconic dining destination.
5. TCU = Fritz's
The Horned Frogs love the sound of a train horn. They would probably get a kick out of seeing their food delivered on mini-trains.
6. Baylor = Q39
All the ingredients are there, but it doesn't always live up to expectations.
7. Texas = Jack Stack
It's like normal BBQ, only fancier!
8. Oklahoma State = Arthur Bryant's
The team boycotted Joe's after it removed Oklahoma from its name.
9. Oklahoma = Gates
The staff yells "Can I help you?" when you enter the restaurant. Seems like a good place for Trae Young's teammates to visit before they play Oklahoma State.
10. Iowa State = Winstead's
Quick and convenient spot for the Cyclones to grab a bite before they head back to Ames late Wednesday night.
You're making me dig deep into my memory bank for this one, but that's OK. Always good to have documentation on this type of thing.
By my count, I have covered 10 different sub-regionals, four different regionals and one First Four. Never covered the Final Four. Sad face!
I can't say with certainty how many games I actually covered or wrote about at those sites. Back in the day, the NCAA used to let media sit on press row for every game. Now they restrict it to only the games you are there to cover. Example: I only watched K-State/Cincinnati live in Sacramento last year.
Favorite memory has to be K-State's win over Xavier in the 2010 Sweet 16. Epic game, and I got to watch it next to Gus Johnson, who was going absolutely crazy with every big play. The First Four was actually pretty neat last year, too. That probably sounds odd (I often complain about the travel involved) but Dayton really supports those games and K-State/Wake Forest was crazy intense.
Louisville was the best city. They really rolled out the red carpet for us.
That team would win the NCAA Tournament, if someone could coach all the players to work together.
The squad would obviously consist of Devonte Graham, Barry Brown, Landry Shamet, Svi Mykhailiuk, Dean Wade and Udoka Azubuike. Throw in Shaq Morris, Conner Frankamp, Xavier Sneed, Lagerald Vick and Malik Newman. That team would be tough to beat.
Hard to say until we see the team practice or play, but it certainly seems like Andre Coleman and company are willing to open up the offense. At the least, it appears they are more committed to using a scatback than Dana Dimel.
With few proven playmakers at wide receiver it would be smart for K-State to use Warmack in the slot and get him involved on more passing plays out of the backfield.
The Wildcats will have a crowded backfield next season. It's certainly an encouraging sign that Warmack changed his mind and wants to be a part of it.
Jordan Mittie had 83 tackles, including eight for loss, during two seasons on Texas State's defensive line. That sounds pretty good to me. I would recommend tempering expectations if you think he might dominate during the season-opener, but he's got potential.
With two years of eligibility, he seems like a good addition.