Of the three Kansas schools here, the K-State Wildcats have the most to prove and the least to lose. No one expects them to beat Kentucky tomorrow but as Bruce Weber and his players got off the bus yesterday there was a humble confidence about them.
They are grateful to be here. Just to be in the NCAA tournament is huge accomplishment. It means something. This is their fifth consecutive appearance and the excitement never fades.
"This is something special," said coach Bruce Weber. "We told the freshman, you don't know if you will ever get back here again. You hope so but at the same time you better grab the opportunity and make the most of it. This is only the third senior class in the history of the school to go to four straight so they should be proud but hopefully they want more."
All week has been about preparation for K-State. They know the match up with Kentucky won't be easy and the paper match up doesn't favor them.
"We have to be the best prepared team on the court at 8:40 on Friday night and we have to play with great determination," Weber said. "They have better athleticism, they have taller people and they have a lot of things that we can't do anything about but if we are prepared and we play hard we will give them a game."
Today both Wildcat teams will take the podium to tell us how they plan to defeat one another. The coaches will explain the mismatches and boast about their strengths. Almost everyone in Kansas wants to see a Wichita State vs K-State third round match up. K-State has the most to prove as the lowest seed of the three Kansas schools.
That chip on their shoulder will be their strongest driving force and the main reason why they could win this game. If Kentucky underestimates KSU at all, Friday's game will belong to the K-State Wildcats.