Men’s basketball post-season aspirations hang on Big 12 Championship game


After finishing the regular season 19-12, with a 8-10 record in conference play, the Kansas State men’s basketball team will look to pick up another signature win and try to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament against Baylor in the Big 12 Championship Thursday night.

Senior Wesley Iwundu paced the Wildcats throughout the season, leading the team in scoring and rebounding with 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Iwundu had one of the best individual seasons ever for a Wildcat and career, as he is the only Wildcat ever with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists and 100 steals in a career. Only K-State legend Rolando Blackman would be in that company, but steals were not recorded during his time on the team.

Iwundu was one of four Wildcats who averaged double-digit points per game on the season, along with sophomore Kamau Stokes, sophomore Barry Brown and senior D.J. Johnson. Sophomore Dean Wade almost made it five, as he averaged 9.7 points per game.

Johnson and Brown led the team defensively, as Johnson averaged 1.5 blocked shots per game and Brown recorded 2.4 steals per game.

Iwundu and Johnson picked up conference awards at the end of the season: Iwundu was named All-Conference Third Team and Johnson was an honorable mention.

K-State split the season series with the Bears. The Wildcats lost at home 77-68 to then-No. 1 Baylor, but the Wildcats won in Waco when Baylor was No. 2, 56-54.

Wade’s play will be a factor in determining the outcome of the game. Wade has scored in double figures in 33 games in his career. In those games, K-State has a 25-8 record. Wade’s play and the success of the team has seemed to go hand-in-hand during his time in Manhattan.

To all but ensure getting into the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats will likely need to win this game. ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi currently has K-State in the “First Four Out” section. A win over a team Lunardi has as a No. 2 seed would likely push the Wildcats over the hump.

If K-State upsets Baylor, it will play the winner of Texas/Texas Tech vs. West Virginia.

The Wildcats and Bears will tip off at 8 p.m. at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The game can be seen on ESPNU.