Kansas State Basketball’s first trip to March Madness in three seasons finds them in California. The Wildcats beat Wake Forest on Tuesday and play Cincinnati on Friday.
Bruce Weber’s Wildcats will face a Bearcat team that is having one of the best seasons in school history.
They also have some NCAA tourney experience on their side. They are one of seven schools back in the dance for the sixth straight season.
On the other hand, Kansas State already has one 2017 March Madness win. Cincinnati does not.
The Bearcats did win 29 games this season including two in their conference tournament. They have notable losses to Butler, Rhode Island and SMU in Sunday’s American Athletic Conference Championship tournament game.
Cincinnati struggled from beyond the arc in the final. They hit only 16 percent from 3 in the title game. Some of that could be blamed on tired legs. They average 31 percent on the season.
The Bearcats are not a big team. There is nobody over 6 foot 9 inches tall on the roster.
One decided advantage, they start a pair of senior guards.
Experience at the point is important and especially this time of year.
Three of their starters average double digit scoring including Junior Forward Gary Clark. In addition to scoring just over 10 points a game, he averages 8 rebounds a game.
Despite his numbers, Clark did not earn any all-conference honors.
In fact, no Cincinnati player earned first team all-conference. Will that give them some motivation? That remains to be seen.
As the 11 seed, Bruce Weber’s Wildcats should match up well in this one.
I don’t expect the ‘Cats to shoot almost 70 percent from the floor as they did against Wake Forest.
If they are aggressive and attack the Cincinnati defense, there is every reason to believe the Wildcats will advance.