The selection show isn’t what it used to be. There was a time when we could watch without being nervous and just see it for the entertainment value. But that time is long gone. As K-State fans we now watch with a different sort of interest. The kind that eluded us during the Asbury and Wooldridge eras. We’re watching for match ups, locations, and ready to make plans for a trip just 5 or 6 days away.

So with that sort of investment came a collective dropping of the jaws when we saw just what K-State had gotten themselves into. Most of us had resigned ourselves to the potential of an 8/9 game. We even hoped that it would provide the opportunity to quiet the 12 months of screaming that has been happening just south of us. But you knew to get to that game against the Shockers, we’d have to get past a game that would be pretty evenly matched.

And that’s when the name came up. Kentucky. The team that started the year as the #1 ranked team in the nation. Just 2 years ago everyone seemed to think that John Calipari had found the secret to the system. Just bring in one and one players, reload, and win championship after championship after championship. But last year’s attempt couldn’t even make a dent in their NIT draw. This year’s underachievers found themselves going from being the “greatest recruiting class of all time” and an automatic number 1 raking to an 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

K-State, on the other hand, had been left for dead. And why not? After losing the 3 most important players from last year’s team, the disastrous start to the season seemed to confirm that as down years go, this year would be pretty down. But what if down wasn’t that far down?

Bruce Weber threw out a challenge to the team while they were in Puerto Rico. Get through December undefeated. Which sounded like a tall order with teams like Ole Miss, Gonzaga, and George Washington still to come. But while those blue Wildcats seem to have shrunk away from nearly ever challenge presented to them this season, K-State has risen to meet them.

It’s far from perfection. But as down years go, this year hasn’t been down. Instead, K-State left behind all those who had left them for dead, and worked their way up to virtually the same position as Kentucky. And while Kentucky’s starting 5 has nothing to prove other than the millions they’re about to earn, K-State is hungry.

The football team got a taste of what it’s like to get a shot at one of the biggest names in their sport and they met the challenge this season. Now the basketball team gets a chance to do the same. And if they do? A chance to quiet that neighbor who has gotten just a bit too loud.

You really couldn’t have a more perfect draw…

About The Author

Founder & Chief Saluter

Mike is a '00 graduate of Kansas State University and holds season tickets for Football and Men's & Women's Basketball. He lives in Kansas City, but stays loyal to his Chicago sports (Bulls & Bears & Hawks & Sox). He's a social media marketer by day and dreams in purple at night.

Related Posts