Wildcats Go from Champ to Crushed

For three days this week, Kansas State was a first-place Big 12 basketball team, living in celebration of ending a 24-game home-court losing streak to the University of Kansas. But on that third day the Wildcats traveled to play a Missouri team that was just 2-4 in the Big 12 … and they lost, 77-74. Still, all is not lost for what looks to be an NCAA Tournament-bound K-State team.

Sports, indeed, can be a goofy business.

Wednesday, Kansas State looks like a million bucks in defeating No. 2 ranked Kansas, 84-75.

Saturday, against a Missouri team ranked No. 84 in the RPI rankings, the Wildcats looked like chumps in a 77-74 loss to the Tigers.

In the game, K-State blew a 15-point first-half lead, and a 14-point second-half advantage.

Wildcats used "rattled," and out of "focus," and "scared" to define their play against a Tiger program that was playing without two starters due to disciplinary action earlier in the week.

"Sometimes adversity can have a positive effect on a team when kids are fighting hard and fighting together," said Mizzou coach Mike Anderson, who was forced to suspend a total of five players earlier in the week, which included team star Stefhon Hannah.

Kansas State coach Frank Martin didn't say so, but sometimes prosperity can have a negative effect on a team when kids are "not" fighting hard and "not" fighting together.

Especially when it's a young team.

Like Blake Young said, "We have to learn from this and move on."

And while it's not an absolute inn the whacky world of sports, at times those lessons are best learned in defeat.

But here's the rest of this Kansas State story of 2007-08.

Kansas State is a 5-1 Big 12 team, trailing Kansas by just one-half game.

Kansas State, with two Top 10 wins this season, is a No. 29 team in the latest RPI poll.

Kansas State is, by all bracketologists, a mid-year lock for the NCAA Tournament, ranked anywhere from a No. 3 to No. 7 seed.

With consecutive home games this week against 2-4 Nebraska and 1-5 Oklahoma State, Kansas State should reach the half way mark of the league season with a 7-1 record.

Prior to the start of the season, it's a good bet most K-Staters would have been tickled purple with such records and rankings 20 games into the season. Frank Martin, himself, would have likely taken such records and rankings.

Most basketball gurus would have told K-State that its chances were not good last Wednesday against Kansas, like most would have told Mizzou that it faced great odds against K-State this past Saturday.

It's what neat about sports. Being challenged ... accepting the challenges ... Davids winning over Goliaths, on that given day.

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