Nobody really expected that to happen -- that Kansas State, a five-point favorite, would thump a Big 12 team in Iowa State that was on the bubble for an NCAA Tournament berth. After all, the Cyclones beat in-state rival Kansas just two weeks ago.
But behind their best performance in -- arguably -- several years, the Wildcats dominated in all aspects of Wednesday night's contest. Now, they'll look to continue that with that momentum as they try to end a losing drought that has everybody talking. But they'll have to do in the General's house, as the Wildcats take on Texas Tech at 6 p.m. in Lubbock. Fox Sports Midwest will televise the game regionally.
"A Tech win would put us over the hump," guard Jarrett Hart said. "We're trying to position for the Big 12 Tourney. We're getting good, but we're not great."
That may be evident by the 20-game losing streak on the road in the Big 12, or the 15-game losing streak on the road overall.
But like Hart said, the Wildcats may just be getting good. In their first six conference games, the Wildcats averaged just over 60 points per game. In the last three -- two wins and a one-point loss -- they have averaged more than 83.
That may be due to a motto instilled by Wooldridge last week. With 10 games remaining, the Wildcats started a sort of new season. Call it the ugly sister of a do-over, in that no matter how they do, they can't make up for the early losses. But they can resurrect the season, and further lay the foundation the Cats have been striving for since Wooldridge's arrival.
"We can't wait to get there," forward Jeremiah Massey, last week's Big 12 Rookie of the Week, said of the Tech trip. "I've watched Bob Knight on tv. It'll be a good experience to play him. I can't wait to get down there."
Bob Knight is 8-1 against Kansas State, which hasn't won in Lubbock since 1986. But last season, the Wildcats shocked Knight and the Red Raiders in Manhattan. The 68-44 thumping, in which Knight earned his first technical foul of his Tech tenure, came as Tech was rated No. 23 in the nation. This season, the Red Raiders come in No. 19.
"If we don't play well," Wooldridge said, "that'll be a concern. We don't want to project that, though. Saturday at Tech we'll give ourselves a chance to win. We've had a heck of a time on the road. All we cn do is give ourselves a chanced to win. They're a very good top-20 team. It's a big challenge to go down there and play very well."
And while several matchups are likely to stand out in Lubbock, including Tech All-American Andre Emmett fighting off lock-down guard Tim Ellis, the best battle may well be between the benches. Knight vs Wooldridge.
"They have different players but the same system," Wooldridge said. "Coach Knight is a brilliant basketball coach. His teams play accordingly. They don't beat themselves."
Meanwhile, about a dozen hours north in Manhattan, the Kansas State women welcome a Nebraska team to Manhattan that dumped the Cats' only loss on them earlier this season. It wasn't close, either, as Nebraska won 81-63 on Jan. 24 in Lincoln, a game in which Kansas State guard Chelsea Domenico was taken off the court on a stretcher.
Domenico is back, though, and so are the Wildcat women. While Nebraska has won its last two games, Kansas State has won five in a row since that afternoon in Nebraska. Tip is set for 2 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum.
Not only will the Wildcats be surging as they welcome the Huskers to town, they will also be sporting some new-found weapons. Forward Amy Dutmer exploded in the Cats' last home game, a 79-53 win over Colorado in which she scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Brie Madden unloaded on Kansas Wednesday night, scoring 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting off the bench.
MEN'S PROBABLE LINEUPS
Texas Tech (17-6, 5-4)
G 14 Andre Emmett Sr. 21.6 ppg., 6.9 rpg
G 22 Jarrius Jackson Fr. 10.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg
G 24 Donald Ross Jr. 9.7 ppg, 3.2 ppg
F 21 Devonne Giles Jr. 7.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg
F 55 Robert Tomaszek Sr. 7.6 ppg, 4.7 rpb
Kansas State (11-9, 3-6)
G 10 Dez Willingham Fr. 5.1 ppg, 3.3 apg
G 11 Tim Ellis Sr. 13.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg
G 30 Jarrett Hart Sr. 11.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg
F 15 Jeremiah Massey Jr. 14.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg
F 23 Marques Hayden So. 9.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg
WOMEN'S PROBABLE LINEUPS
Nebraska (16-6, 6-5)
G 44 K. Cannon-Johnson Sr. 11.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg
G 22 Margaret Richards Sr. 10.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg
G 20 Jina Johansen Jr. 5.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg
F 42 Alexa Johnson Sr. 11.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg
C 53 Katie Morse Sr. 8.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Kansas State (18-3, 9-1)
G 10 Laurie Koehn Jr. 13.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg
G 34 Megan Mahoney Jr. 7.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg
F 45 Amy Dutmer Sr. 2.6 ppg, 1.4 rpg
F 53 Kendra Wecker Jr. 16.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg
C 03 Nicole Ohlde Sr. 17.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg
Big 12 battles ensue Saturday
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