The Kansas State basketball team left Kansas City without a Big 12 Tournament championship, but the Wildcats can rest easy heading into Selection Sunday knowing that they should receive their best NCAA Tournament seed in years.
K-State (25-8) will present a strong resume to the selection committee. It shared the Big 12 regular-season championship with Texas Tech and is ranked No. 15 in the latest AP poll. It also sat at No. 24 in the NET rankings Saturday morning.
“We played a tough nonconference schedule, we went on the road, we won our league, we dealt with injuries, we did a lot of stuff,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “We have got a lot on our resume. We will just have to wait and see.”
K-State projects to get something in the neighborhood of a No. 4 seed.
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Every team that has won or shared the Big 12 title over the past 20 years has earned at least a 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats could have moved up to a three seed with a Big 12 Tournament title, but they are unlikely to drop to a five without one. Even if they do, there isn’t much difference between the 4 and 5 seeds, as they face similar opponents in the opening round and then usually face each other in the Round of 32.
Where will the Wildcats play in the NCAA Tournament? That’s a harder question to answer.
A No. 4 seed would usually be good enough for them to stay close to home and play in the Midwest Region with opening-round games in either Tulsa, Okla. or Des Moines, Iowa and then a potential trip to Kansas City for the Sweet 16.
But there is considerable competition for those sites this year. Big Ten teams seem to have dibs on Des Moines. Houston and LSU both seem to have stronger cases for Tulsa, while Texas Tech and Kansas are also pushing for top-four seeds there.
If Tulsa and Des Moines are spoken for by the time the selection committee gets to K-State, the Wildcats will need their own sub-regional pod elsewhere. That means K-State fans can expect to travel for the opening round. The most likely sites include San Jose, Calif. and Salt Lake City, Utah. Other locations up for grabs could be Hartford, Conn. and Jacksonville, Fla.
Most projections have K-State heading west.
ESPN bracket expert Joe Lunardi thinks K-State will be a No. 4 seed in San Jose. CBS bracket expert Jerry Palm projects the Wildcats as a No. 4 seed in Salt Lake.
The NCAA Tournament selection show will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday on CBS.
K-State will watch the broadcast together at a closed event on campus. Weber and his players will be able to kick back and relax while the bracket is revealed. No matter what happens, they should receive their best NCAA Tournament seed since 2013 when they were a No. 4 seed in Kansas City.