They ain’t dead yet! The K-State Men’s basketball team has won four out of their last five games, beating West Virginia 78-73 on Monday night. They are even showing up in some Bracketology, appearing with the group of “next four out” teams on Joe Lunardi’s bracket release Tuesday morning. There is still a lot of basketball to be played, and the Wildcats still have to pass the teams on the “first four out” list, but at least they are on the radar. Jerry Palm of CBS, on the other hand, does not have K-State listed on the bubble as of his Monday morning release. Palm wrote an article on Tuesday afternoon about changes to his bracket based on Monday night’s games. He mentioned West Virginia losing to K-State, hurting their chances to make the tournament, but he did not mention K-State entering the bubble.
Can the Wildcats make the NCAA tournament? Sure, if they keep winning. There are five games left in the regular season and at least one game in the Big 12 tournament. If they win three of the five, I like their chances. They’re currently 6-7 in Big 12 games. Finishing 9-9 in the Big 12 puts them firmly on the bubble, and I would think a 10-8 or 11-7 record puts them in. The question is: how many games down the stretch will they win? This Bruce Weber team can win or lose just about any game they play in the Big 12. I don’t think they can beat Kansas or Baylor, but any other game on the schedule is winnable. I will take a look at the final five games and try to predict what happens.
Saturday, February 19th, at Oklahoma State
K-State beat Oklahoma State 71-68 on February 2nd on a last-second three-point shot by Nijel Pack. The Cowboys are 8-5 at home this season and have won their last two home games against Oklahoma and West Virginia handily. I am not expecting a win here for the Wildcats.
Tuesday, February 22nd, at Kansas
I don’t see any way K-State walks into Lawrence and beats Kansas. If K-State loses to Oklahoma State and then Kansas, they will be 14-13/6-9 and firmly off the bubble once again.
Saturday, February 26th, home against Iowa State
K-State beat Iowa State in overtime in Ames 75-69 on February 12th. Iowa State is currently in a bit of a freefall, losing four straight conference games. This game could go either way, but I like the Wildcats’ chances at home. K-State should get the victory.
Monday, February 28, at Texas Tech
K-State beat Texas Tech 62-51 at home on January 15th with a 12-2 run to end the game. Tech has won four out of their last five games, the only loss being on the road at Oklahoma, and they are currently ranked number 11 in the country. It is not going to be easy for the Wildcats to get a win in Lubbock. I’m predicting a loss.
Saturday, March 5th, home against Oklahoma
K-State lost a close game in Norman against Oklahoma on January 1st, 71-69. The Sooners are living on the bubble right now but might drop off with a couple more losses. It is a winnable game for the Wildcats. Depending on how things go for both teams the rest of the way, this game may decide who gets in and who gets left out of the NCAA tournament.
I’ve got K-State winning their two remaining home games and losing the three road games. If that happens, it would put them at 16-14 overall and 8-10 in the Big 12. That record most likely will not get them in the tournament. If they can hold court at home, beat Oklahoma State Saturday, and beat Kansas or Texas Tech, I think they will get in.
So can K-State get in the NCAA tournament? Yes. Will they get in? The way I look at it, it does not appear likely.