Cats Heading In the Wrong Direction

Three games into the Big 12 season, Kansas State finds itself with a 0-3 record heading into Wednesday's home date with the Baylor Bears. While too early to panic, the Wildcats appear to be playing themselves out of the NCAA Tournament … and it's only mid-January.

An 11 win, 6 loss record doesn't sound that bad for K-Staters, but remember this … the Wildcats have yet to defeat a team from a BCS Conference.

The losses have been to Kentucky (SEC), Iowa (Big Ten), Oregon (Pac-10) and Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska (Big 12).

Kansas State's biggest win to date has been over Cleveland State, ranked No. 67 in the latest Sagarin ratings.

K-State is ranked No. 62 in those Sagarin ratings, which includes a No. 146 strength of schedule, an 0-1 record against Top 25 teams and an 0-3 mark against Top 50 team.

The latest loss to Nebraska will be considered a "bad loss" as the Cornhuskers own a ranking of only No. 74.

Too early to panic? Perhaps, but this is also true. With 13 Big 12 games yet to play in the regular season, there are only six of those that will be considered quality wins: No. 23 Missouri (2 games), No. 24 Texas, No. 29 Baylor, No. 33 Oklahoma State and No. 37 Kansas.

Of those, Oklahoma State, Texas and Missouri will be on the road.

The rest of the league schedule includes: No. 56 Texas A&M, No. 74 Nebraska, No. 100 Iowa State (2 games), No. 111 Texas Tech and No. 203 Colorado (2 games).

There is one other game against North Carolina Central, which happens to be 1-18 and ranked No. 346 out of the 347 Division I basketball teams.

History tells us that a team needs at least nine regular season Big 12 games to receive an NCAA invitation. K-State now has just 13 opportunities to get those nine Ws.

Thirteen times a league team has won nine league games, and 11 times that team has gone to "The Dance."

But again, working against K-State is its strength of schedule and the few opportunities remaining for quality wins.

What K-State faces Wednesday is a must win against the 14-3 Bears. Win against Baylor, and there's still life.

Lose Wednesday, and then it's likely an NIT postseason …. if that.

The last time K-State opened a year 0-3 in the Big 12 was 2000-01. That team finished 6-10 in the league standings, which was good for only seventh place and the Wildcats were without a postseason invitation of any kind.

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