The Kansas State Wildcats open NCAA tournament play Tuesday night against Danny Manny and Wake Forest. To some it’s finally payback time.
This is Kansas State’s first trip into March Madness in three seasons. It’s also the first time they’ve faced Danny Manning in NCAA tournament action since 1988.
It’s time to get revenge for those fans old enough to remember.
The 1988 season was one of the best for Kansas State Basketball.
Current Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger was still in charge of the Wildcats assisted by current Oregon coach Dana Altman.
The team that included Hall of Famer Mitch Richmond won 25 games that season and finished a game back of the Sooners for second place in the Big 8 Conference.
Danny Manning’s guys finished a distant third.
The Wildcats faced Manning’s team four times that season.
Kansas State won the game in Lawrence and lost by a single point 64-63 at Ahearn Field House. The Wildcats also won their battle over Manning in the conference tournament in Kansas City by 15 points.
Most fans thought the story was over. No more games with the birds that season. They were wrong. As luck would have it, the teams met in the Regional final with a trip to the final four on the line..
Following a double-digit win on March 12, and facing a team with double-digit losses what could go wrong for the ‘Cats? This was going to be one of the biggest NCAA tournament wins ever.
It didn’t happen the way Wildcat fans wanted.
Manning’s guys upset Kansas State 71-58 in the regional final in Detroit on March 27. and won the National Title. Other than the 2010 loss to Butler, the Wildcats have not been that close to the final four since.
Bruce Weber’s team won’t care what happened that day at the Pontiac Silver Dome. They just want beat this Wake Forest team and travel to Sacramento to play Cincinnati.
For those who remember 1988, a win over Manning will be sweet.