KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Both Kansas State basketball programs are gearing up for a long week in the Big 12 tournament.
On the men’s side. the Wildcats are having one of their best seasons in a decade with first-year head coach Jerome Tang.
Tang’s 23-8 Wildcats were a ranked team throughout the bottom half of the season, are a three seed in the Big 12 tourney and they are projected to be as high as a two-seed in the NCAA tournament.
But predictably the Wildcats’ sights are on 22nd-ranked TCU, the sixth seed in the conference and their first opponent in the conference tournament.
“These games are gonna be so physical and everybody knows each other so well,” Tang said. “Your best players gotta play their best right now and you gotta get a little lucky too.”
For the women’s side, Jeff Mittie’s 16-15 Wildcats had the tough task of playing their entire season without star center Ayoka Lee.
Oklahoma transfer Gabby Gregory has been a great revelation for K-State earning First Team All-Big 12 honors in her senior year. But missing the record-setter in highest points in a game is a huge hole to fill with the Wildcats only winning 5 conference games this season and being the nine-seed facing eight-seed Texas Tech.
Mittie is used to tough seasons like this—only one win in January but wins over Iowa State, Baylor and Kansas in February—as he looks to take Kansas State to its second straight tournament appearance.
“We’ve been inconsistent, that’s been one of our struggles,” Mittie said Wednesday. “We’ve seen good moments. These sophomores that have gotten so much playing time have had big moments, have battled through some injuries to get this point. We’re as healthy as we’ve been in a long time so we’re excited about that.”
“We really just need to play our game,” sophomore guard Jaelyn Glenn said. “We haven’t been our best both times that we’ve played them. Just knowing what we need to do, the effort that we need to give, the offense that we need to execute, the defense and things that we need to play in order to be successful in this game.”
The Barstow School alum is also ecstatic to be playing in her hometown in the silver and purple.
“I feel like it just gives me a lot of energy just knowing that a lot of my family is gonna be at these games and some of my friends.”
Kansas State women will face Texas Tech at 5 p.m. on Thursday.
Kansas State men will face TCU at approximately 8:30 on Thursday night.