Kansas State slugs out Sweet 16 showdown against Kentucky, advances to Elite Eight

Kansas State’s depth was tested to the absolute limit against Kentucky in the Sweet 16, but that proved to be a moot point as Bruce Weber’s bunch beat out John Calipari and Co. 61-58 to advance to the Elite Eight.

3 Who Mattered

Xavier Sneed: The sophomore small forward, who was one of three Kansas State players to foul out, led the Manhattan, Kan. bred Wildcats with 22 points. He also added 9 rebounds to nearly notch a double-double and hit 5-of-8 3-pointers.

The 22 points was one shy of his career high, which came in December against lowly Southeast Missouri State.

P.J. Washington: The Kentucky forward did lead his team with 18 points, but his struggles at the free throw line will be the stuff of legends. Washington was just 8-of-20 (40 percent) from the charity stripe, while the rest of the team missed just two free throws.

Adam Wainwright: The reserve guard for K-State didn’t fill up the stat sheet. He had 6 points, 2 rebounds and an assist. But his free throw extended Kansas State’s lead to three in the final seconds and he was also 2-of-3 from the field. He was quietly an efficient option for a team that used up nearly its entire bench.

Highlights

Observations

Bruce Weber is stitching together his best-ever run as a college coach 

While Weber’s 2004-05 Illinois team won 37 games and made the NCAA Tournament championship game, this run with the Wildcats seems more impressive.

K-State has been without its best player, Dean Wade, for essentially the entire tournament. He didn’t appear against Creighton or UMBC and only played a few minutes against Kentucky.

Weber also found a way to win in the final minute against Calipari’s squad despite the game being tied and Kansas State left without a post player to rely on — K-State had  five guards on the floor to end the game.

Just a year ago, a vocal group of fans in Manhattan wanted Weber fired. Now it’s hard to argue that one of just 10 coaches to take three separate schools to the Sweet 16 isn’t having one of his best-ever seasons.

Barry Brown will deliver

Brown once again put together a marquee defensive performance. His primary matchup was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who did have 15 points but got 11 of them at the foul line. SGA was also just 2-of-10 shooting from the field.

Lockdown Brown also had 13 points, including a last-minute layup that gave K-State a 60-58 lead with the shot clock turned off.

What’s Next for Kansas State Basketball?

Well, the Wildcats will face Sister Jean and Loyola in the Elite Eight with a trip to the Final Four on the line on Saturday.

Tipoff is set for 6:09 p.m. ET on Saturday in Atlanta.

The post Kansas State slugs out Sweet 16 showdown against Kentucky, advances to Elite Eight appeared first on Diehards.

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