The NIT is the Wildcats’ best chance for March Madness

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Head coach Bruce Weber yells for a Wildcat to guard an unguarded TCU player as the Wildcats wrap up their 79-54 beatdown of the TCU Horned Frogs Mar. 2, 2016, in Bramlage Coliseum. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

The K-State men’s basketball team should be a shoo-in for the National Invitation Tournament if they can beat Oklahoma State on Wednesday in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Now obviously, the players, staff and fans would have loved for this team to win some games and at least have a reason to watch Selection Sunday, but I think the NIT will be a good fit for the Wildcats.

This is a very young squad, so more games are good for a team like K-State. In my opinion, they will host at least one game in the NIT. It will be beneficial to play in the Octagon of Doom one more time this year.

If the Wildcats have a magical run through the Big 12 Tournament and make the Big Dance, there is a good chance they will be bounced after the first round of the tournament.

In the NIT, K-State has a legitimate shot at making a long run, maybe even ending up playing in the Final Four at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

This is going to be a great experience and will also ensure some more practice for head coach Bruce Weber and his team. Any young team can always use more practice.

K-State’s team this year reminds me a lot of 2011 Wichita State. They were a very young team in the Missouri Valley Conference that didn’t make the NCAA Tournament.

They were a No. 4 seed in the NIT, but made the most of their opportunity and won five straight games, which sparked some good years after that.

The Shockers made a Final Four appearance in the NCAA Tournament just two years later losing to Louisville 72-68.

Wichita State has made the NCAA Tournament every season since the NIT and I think they are a great example of what could be in the near future for K-State.

They are young, talented and will be very experienced in the coming years. I’m not saying they will be in the Final Four soon, or that they will make the tournament every year for the next five years, but I will say just playing in some postseason tournament will be very beneficial for the Wildcats.

It will be fun to see how this young team fairs the rest of this season and what is in store for them in the future.

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