Open Mike: 1977 Mike Tufano March 7, 2013 Open Mike 1977 was a big year. NASA began the Space Shuttle program, Jimmy Carter became president, and the world was introduced to Luke, Leia, Han and Vader in Star Wars. Apple Computer Inc. was founded and the world was introduced to a little bundle of joy… yours truly. Kansas State had just finished a typical 1-10 campaign on the gridiron and all attention was turned to Ahearn Fieldhouse where the Wildcats, coached by Jack Hartman, and led by eventual K-State all time scoring leader, Mike Evans1, strung together a 20-8 record en route to a Big 8 Championship2. The team then carried its run to the Sweet 16 where they were ousted by eventual champion Marquette… by just one point. A lot has happened since 1977. The Space Shuttles are in retirement, as is Jimmy Carter… and we’ve had 5 other presidents since him. We found out Vader was Luke’s father, Leia was his sister, and that they’re all coming back for another movie3. Apple has put a computer in everyone’s pocket4, and I’m still here5. And now K-State is coming off of a now-typical top 25 football season. Following a Big 12 Championship all attention turned to Bramlage where the Wildcats, coached by Bruce Weber, and led by the versatile and consistent Rodney McGruder have strung together a 25-5 record… so far. A lot has happened since 1977, but as accomplished as K-State sports has been in the past 36 years, another conference men’s basketball title hasn’t been a part of it. Not even the most optimistic K-State fans expected it under first year coach Bruce Weber. Not with this team. Not with this turmoil. Like every year, the road to a Big 12 title goes through Lawrence. And though we couldn’t get over that hurdle, they had their own hurdles to face and they stumbled6. And regardless of the paths each team took to get to this point, each sits atop the conference with 14 wins. 3 losses. 1 more to play. 2 1/2 hours before kU takes the floor on Saturday, K-State will be finishing in Stillwater. We control our destiny. We decide if enough has been enough. Win, and get a trophy. It’s as simple as that.Notes: And you know the story there… he held the career scoring title until Jacob Pullen took that record in his last game at K-State [↩] Should we even get into the fact that the conference had 8 teams in ’77, 12 in ’96, and hangs out at 10 now? Nah. [↩] Oh, sorry… spoiler alert. [↩] And Google’s Android has made it even better [↩] Albeit a lot heavier and hairier [↩] Ok, so maybe one of their hurdles wasn’t very big… but they sure did stumble [↩] K-State fans, we salute you!