K-Stated

Kansas State Q&A: Can the Wildcats make the postseason?

K-State guard Nigel Johnson led K-State with 20 points Monday night. Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) defends as Johnson drives for the basket.(February 23, 2015)
K-State guard Nigel Johnson led K-State with 20 points Monday night. Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) defends as Johnson drives for the basket.(February 23, 2015) The Wichita Eagle

It’s time for another K-State Q&A.

One thing I learned this week: your questions are quite a bit different after a Sunflower Showdown basketball victory than after a losing streak.

Let’s get right to them. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

Amazingly, yes. If the Wildcats (14-15, 7-9 Big 12) beat Iowa State on Saturday and take down Texas next week they would move back above .500 overall and hit .500 in conference play. That would give them an (extreme) outside shot at earning an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. Now, for that to happen, K-State would also have to make it to the finals in Kansas City. And even then its Big Dance hopes would be shaky, at best.

Let’s say K-State wins its next four games (earning a bye in the conference tournament) and loses in the Big 12 final. That would make it 18-16 with as many as seven victories over top 25 RPI teams. An interesting resume, that would be.

History would not bode well for its chances. No team has ever received an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament with more than 14 losses (Georgia in 2001). And no team has ever made it with a winning percentage lower than .533 (also Georgia in 2001). At 18-16, K-State’s winning percentage would be .529.

This is all hypothetical, of course. The odds of K-State closing the season on that kind of run are very low. The Wildcats were terrific against the Jayhawks, but they are still a team that has lost seven of its last nine.

The odds of making the NIT are much more realistic, though still not good. The key there will be finishing the season at .500. Winning the final two games of the regular season would clinch that. Lose to Iowa State or Texas and K-State will need to win twice in Kansas City.

The worst loss in the NCAA Tournament is better than the greatest victory in the NIT. That being said, if K-State plays well enough down the stretch to make the NIT and win it, well, that would mean the team came together and did something worth building on next season. So that would be very positive.

Here’s guessing Bruce Weber would sign up for either scenario right this second.

Lon Kruger beat Kansas twice as K-State’s coach during the 1987-88 season and two more times the following season. So that distinction goes to him.

John Currie spoke passionately about that topic during an interview with me this week.

So I will let him answer.

From Currie: “It is distasteful and disappointing that a few people ... well, it’s not a few. It’s a lot and it’s loud. But one of the challenges we have at K-State, frankly Kellis, is that we had 4,000 students in attendance at that game. We have among the largest student attendance in all of college basketball. It’s different when you have 400 students in there chanting something versus 4,000.

“That is one of the challenges. That is not an excuse. We need to keep working on that until we solve the problem. I believe that, after being here six years, we are not the only place where there are chants like that. It is a tough problem. The problem is going to have to be student solved, and we can talk about whether we play this song or that song. The particular song that is most associated with that chant, we quit playing for about three years.

“We had an appeal to bring it back. We tried to bring it back and it happened again. Last (Monday) the chant happened during the Wabash Cannonball before the teams even went onto the court. We have to work collectively and collaboratively with our student body so that is not the image people have of this great, great university.”

Can I choose a mall food court, instead? Preferably one that has Chick-fil-a.

Lambda Lambda Lambda. They would have had me hooked after the musical number in the fraternity talent show. Plus, no double secret probation.

Revenge of the Nerds was also set in Texas, compared to Oregon for Animal House. Give me the Lone Star State.

Was talking to a guy the other day who told me K-State’s coaches are higher than you might expect on the returning players and are ready to see their progress when spring practices begin in April.

Does that count as a rumor? My guess is Joe Hubener starts with the first-team offense, while Jesse Ertz and Alex Delton switch reps with the second team. Wide receiver is a huge question mark. I want to see what Judah Jones, Andre Davis and Deante Burton can do.

Just that the plan is for K-State to schedule a mid-major opponent for a guarantee home game.

Reach Kellis Robinett at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @kellisrobinett.

  Comments