K-State Basketball Must Win The Next Two Games If They Hope To Make The NCAA Tournament

K-State Basketball Must Win The Next Two Games If They Hope To Make The NCAA Tournament

With seven games left in the Big 12 basketball regular season, K-State is firmly off the bubble. By that, I mean they are not likely to be in contention to be selected as part of the NCAA tournament after losing to BYU on Saturday night. The Wildcats are 5-6 and tied for ninth in the Big 12 standings, and their remaining schedule is not easy:

vs. TCU on February 17th

at Texas on February 19th

vs. BYU on February 24th

vs. West Virginia on February 26th

at Cincinnati on March 2nd

at Kansas on March 5th

vs. Iowa State on March 9th

Three of the seven opponents, BYU, Kansas, and Iowa State, are ranked in the top 19 of the AP poll. All three games will be difficult for this Wildcat team to win. Before looking too far ahead, I decided to look at the next two games to try and analyze K-State’s chances of winning them.


TCU is 6-5 in the Big 12, 11-2 overall at home on the season, and 4-3 on the road. They are an even 4-4 against teams ranked in the top 25. Conversely, K-State is 11-2 at home and 2-5 on the road. The Wildcats are 2-6 against teams ranked in the top 25. Good thing TCU is not currently ranked! ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has TCU as a 10 seed in his most recent bracketology. The Horned Frogs are ranked 33rd in the KenPom rankings. K-State is 71st. So far, nothing sticks out to me as an advantage for K-State in this game other than the Wildcats have played pretty well at home. But TCU has played well on the road.

I looked up team statistics in conference play to see if I could find any advantages or disadvantages. TCU is the highest-scoring team in the Big 12 in conference play, averaging 77.1 points per game, while K-State is ranked 5th in the Big 12 in team defense, giving up 68.3 points per game. Slowing down TCU’s offense will be a challenge for the Wildcats. One that they may be up for.

TCU hasn’t been great defensively, ranked 13th in the league in both points allowed and opponent field goal percentage. K-State hasn’t been great offensively but may be poised to have a good game against the Horned Frogs on Saturday if they can get some good looks and hit some shots. It appears that those opportunities will be there.

Turnovers continue to be a problem for K-State. They are dead last in the Big 12 in turnover margin, turning the ball over almost five times more per game than their opponents. Yikes.

I’m not exactly sure what to think of this game. It could go either way. If the Wildcats don’t turn the ball over, they might win a close one. But I don’t have much confidence they can do that because they haven’t shown the ability to do it yet.


Texas is tied with K-State at 5-6 in the Big 12. Lunardi has them in the tournament as an eight seed. The Longhorns are 11-4 overall at home, 3-3 on the road, and 3-5 against teams ranked in the top 25. Texas is ranked pretty highly in the KenPom rankings at number 25. The high ranking doesn’t match their record, but the KenPom rankings are efficiency rankings, meaning Texas is efficient on both offense and defense, even though their record doesn’t reflect that right now.

Texas is second in the Big 12 in team field goal percentage, (47%), while K-State is number one in the league in opponent field goal percentage (40%). Something has to give on Monday night. The teams have the same rankings for three-point field goal percentage. I don’t see any other statistical advantages for either team.

Texas is pretty good at home, while K-State hasn’t proven they can play as well on the road yet. It would be a pretty big upset if K-State were to win in Austin. Unfortunately, I believe they’ll need to win both of these games if they want to get back on the bubble for a possible NCAA tournament bid. If they win one, I think they’re starting at an NIT bid. Lose both, and they may not even get an NIT invite. We will have to see. For K-State’s hopes of making the NCAA tournament, these two games are must-wins.

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