Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
When Joe Lunardi’s final Bracketology rankings came out Sunday afternoon, K-State was a projected three seed with a first round match up against South Dakota State in Kansas City as part of the Midwest Regional. The best guess to meet the Wildcats in the second round was the winner of #6 UCLA against #11 Wichita State. The prospect of being the three seed was compelling, but even more enticing was the opportunity to play within driving distance of Manhattan, playing in front a rabid fan base commuting from central Kansas and the center of Kansas City. When the bracket was released Sunday evening, the Wildcats discovered they would be a four seed – still playing in the safe confines of Kansas City.
Predicting K-State’s treatment was a crapshoot for all prognosticators. K-State soundly defeated Texas and declared a 2-1 victory in the season series against #13 Oklahoma State in the Big 12 tournament. But for the third time this year, the Wildcats ran into a buzzsaw against the number one team in the conference, failing to prove they could run with KU. The average margin of defeat against the Jayhawks was 17 points. K-State finished 27-7 on the year and shared the Big 12 regular season title with KU, but looked thoroughly outclassed when forced to share the court with Kansas.
Facing Kansas State will be the winner of the play-in game between Boise State and La Salle – both dangerous mid major squads. Assuming a victory in the first round, the Wildcats will move on to face #5 Wisconsin or #12 Ole Miss. After that, a trip to the Sweet Sixteen would await. Likely opponents there are #1 Gonzaga, #8 Pitt, or #9 Wichita State. Also in the West regional are #2 Ohio State, #3 New Mexico, #6 Arizona, and #7 Notre Dame. Play for the Wildcats begins March 22. They would then play the winner of Wisconsin/Ole Miss on Sunday, March 24. The Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games will be held in Los Angeles, should the Wildcats advance that far. Which they will. It’s about to get exciting, so let the madness begin.