Kansas State men’s basketball, a 9-seed, is headed to the Elite Eight after a wild upset of Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen on Thursday in Atlanta, Ga.
It’s an improbable March Madness run for the Wildcats, and one that has some fans really wanting to believe that longtime Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder is up to something behind the scenes.
Obviously, Snyder is just a spectator as coach Bruce Weber now has Kansas State just one win away from a most unlikely trip to the Final Four. But what if Snyder, 78, was in charge of a squad playing in a 64-team tournament? What if, in our wildest dreams, college football adopted the same format used by college basketball?
Of course, it’s doubtful we’ll ever see the four-team College Football Playoff model the NCAA Tournament in our lifetime, if ever. But in a parallel universe where 64 football teams did have a path to the national championship in the postseason, Kansas State — with it’s look at the end of the 2017 season — may be one of the teams to benefit from it the most.
That’s at least the opinion of CBS Sports’ Ben Kercheval, who listed the Wildcats as one of non blue-blood programs who could make a deep run in a college football version of March Madness.
How so? Well, Kercheval brings up a good point — that Kansas State played its best football late in the year during the 2017 season.
“The Wildcats won five of their last six games, including a shootout victory over Oklahoma State. K-State is absolutely good enough to get past a 6-seed in the first round, but could it beat a top-10ish opponent in the second round? All I know is few coaches are better at game-week prep than Snyder. No matter what, he’ll force the opposing team to play the game on his terms. That’s the calling card of a Hall of Fame coach.”
The aforementioned win over Oklahoma State came on the road when the Cowboys were ranked the No. 13 team in the country and still contending for a spot in the Big 12 title game. But the Wildcats stormed into Stillwater, Okla. for a 45-40 win in a game which Byron Pringle scored four touchdowns. Kansas State once led by as much as 29 points.
Rewinding back to 2016, Kansas State won its last four games, capped off by a Texas Bowl victory over former Big 12 foe Texas A&M. The Wildcats also posted road wins at Baylor and TCU in that stretch.
That doesn’t mean that Kansas State can’t compete as the current format stands. The Wildcats achieved a No. 1 ranking at one point in the 2012 season and were a top-10 team as late as November during the 2014 season. But there’s no denying that Bill Snyder has seen his teams catch some momentum late in recent years — and that’s often the recipe needed for a tournament run when it comes to college basketball, if anything.
For now though, Kansas State fans are hoping that basketball can work its way past the 2018 NCAA Tournament Cinderella — Loyola-Chicago — en route to the Wildcats’ first Final Four appearance since 1964.
The post CBS Sports explains why K-State football could thrive in March Madness style tournament appeared first on Diehards.