Kansas State has never won the Big 12 Tournament, and its last Big Eight Tournament championship came in 1980.
That means the same motivation it used while winning the Big 12 regular season championship (ending a title drought that stretched back to 1977) will be present this week at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. But that won’t be the Wildcats’ only motivation.
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With a good showing, they can improve their NCAA Tournament seed and location.
Most online projections, including Bracketology and Jerry Palm, have K-State as a No. 4 seed. A few wins could bump it up to the 3 line. A quarterfinals loss to Texas/TCU could drop it to the 5 line.
What the experts can’t seem to agree on is which sub-regional site K-State will be sent to. ESPN predicts the Wildcats to land in Kansas City, an ideal location that would allow K-State fans to easily attend the games. CBS predicts the Wildcats to play in San Jose.
The NCAA Tournament tries to reward top 4 seeds by keeping them close to home. So the better K-State plays this week, the better its chances are of staying in Kansas City for the Big Dance.
K-State coach Bruce Weber said Monday he will use the prospect of playing at Sprint Center in the NCAA Tournament as motivation with his players. And why not? The last time K-State played well at the Big 12 Tournament it received a No. 2 seed and played its first NCAA Tournament games in Oklahoma City before advancing to the Elite Eight.
Advancing past the quarterfinals has led to good things for K-State in the past. Here is a look back at K-State’s recent performances in the Big 12 Tournament and where it landed them the following week:
2012: Quarterfinals loss to Baylor, No. 8 seed in Pittsburgh.
2011: Quarterfinals loss to Colorado, No. 5 seed in Tucson.
2010: Championship-game loss to Kansas, No. 2 seed in Oklahoma City.
2009: Quarterfinals loss to Texas, NIT.
2008: Quarterfinals loss to Texas A&M, No. 11 seed in Omaha.
2007: Semifinals loss to Kansas, NIT.
1999: Semifinals loss to Kansas, NIT.
1998: Quarterfinals loss to Kansas, NIT.