It took longer than most of us would have liked, but it looks like Jacob Pullen won’t have to worry about not playing in the NIT. After pushing their Big 12 Conference record to 6-6 and earning a win over top-ranked University of Kansas, the Wildcats’ chances of making the Big Dance are looking pretty solid right now.
That’s not to imply that K-State’s ticket has already been punched; not by any means. But, most of the Wildcats’ remaining games look extremely winnable. If they can take care of business down the stretch and pick up a couple more wins in the conference tournament, this could be a pretty enjoyable march for their purple-clad fans.
Despite the way the rest of the season has unfolded, it looks as though a first-round bye could still be in the picture for K-State. Winning three of their last four games would put the Wildcats at 9-7 in the league standings. That should be good enough for a fourth-place finish. It’s not exactly the first-place finish that so many expected out of this team, but it’s still impressive, given the circumstances.
Also worth noting: the Big 12 Tournament was right when K-State started to get hot last season. After seeing what the Wildcats did to the Jayhawks on Feb. 14, there’s no reason to think they couldn’t play themselves into the tournament final this time around.
Barring a tournament championship, don’t expect K-State to be seeded any higher than seventh when the tournament brackets are revealed. That’s probably even a little generous. Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology has the Wildcats playing as a nine-seed, which is probably about where they’ll end up. Long story short: if K-State wants to repeat last year’s tournament run, it will likely have to do so as an underdog.
Speaking of underdogs, the Wildcat women’s basketball team is suddenly 8-4 in conference play. Considering this same team won just five league games a year ago, the turnaround has been nothing short of remarkable. However, there’s still some work to do if K-State wants an invitation to the NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats are currently considered a bubble team by several sports media outlets. With games against No. 3 Baylor, No. 5 Texas A&M and No. 25 Iowa State still on the schedule, they could boost their tournament resumes in a big way over the next couple weeks. Regardless of what happens down the stretch, a postseason appearance is very much in the cards for K-State.
It’s been quite a fun ride covering Deb Patterson’s squad in 2010-11. But, as improved as the team has looked this season, I can only imagine how dangerous it will be a year from now. With all five starters and nearly every reserve returning next season, look for this team to be a force in the Big 12.