Mar 14, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Kansas State Wildcats guards Jeremy Jones (left) and Will Spradling (right) during practice for the second round of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
The K-State Wildcats enter the NCAA Tournament as a No. 8 seed and without major expectations. Despite fact they may not make a deep run this season should be remembered positively.
The K-State Wildcats enter their first round NCAA Tournament game against Southern Mississippi as a five point favorite over the Golden Eagles who come from Conference USA. While that margin is not monstrous it seems that many fans and pundits have already marked the game down as a victory and moved the Wildcats into the second round to likely face No. 1 ranked Syracuse.
With the Orangemen losing their starting big man Fab Melo due to academic issues, some Wildcat fans have started to think in bigger terms than they were doing on Selection Sunday. What everyone knows though is that virtually every team is susceptible to losing in their opening game, minus maybe the No. 1 seeds, if they come out and play poorly. This year's K-State squad has definitely proven their ability to come out and lay a clunker as their two matchups against Oklahoma have shown.
Now should the Wildcats be able to come out and beat Southern Miss fairly easily? You would have to assume so as this is a team that less than a month ago won back to back road games against Top Ten ranked opponents but once again you just never know with this team.
So should Wildcat fans be disappointed if they do come out and lay an egg in the opening round? The obvious answer is yes they should simply because every fan should be disappointed to some degree if their team does not win the whole thing but K-State fans need to look at the big picture.
This was a rebuild year for Frank Martin as he lost guys like Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly off last years team plus K-State only has one scholarship senior this season in Jamar Samuels. Despite some serious ups and downs during the season, Martin has once again guided his squad into the Big Dance with a roster that should all virtually be back next year.
And who knows maybe K-State does indeed roll easily over the Golden Eagles which would set them up with a battle against Syracuse. It definitely is not out of the realm of possibility for K-State to pull the upset but even if they do not get it done this season should go down as a successful one for Frank Martin and his still evolving KSU program.
For more on the 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket, stay with SB Nation's Selection Sunday StoryStream, and stick around SB Nation's NCAA Tournament hub for a complete printable NCAA Tournament bracket and tons of analysis on who was snubbed, who got the best bracket, and who will make it all the way to New Orleans and the Final Four.