By Mark Janssen
MANHATTAN, Kan. - At this point, every single game is a must win for Deb Patterson's Kansas State women's basketball team.
Tonight at 7, that next game is against Iowa State in Bramlage Coliseum. And after that, it's a home date with No. 5 ranked Texas A&M on Wednesday, followed by a regular season finale at Kansas one week from today.
The NCAA bracketologists have mixed reviews on the 8-5, 18-8 Wildcats, but as Patterson says, "Those guys are not the ones picking the teams. It's just too early to know, but I like our chances as much as Iowa State being in there."
That comment puts even more emphasis on tonight's game against the 7-6, 19-8 Cyclones.
RealTime RPI has seven teams from the Big 12 Conference in the tournament with K-State being the last of those as a No. 10 seed.
Texas A&M is a No. 1, Baylor a No. 2, Oklahoma a No. 5, Texas Tech a No. 6, Iowa State and Texas No. 8s, and K-State at No. 10.
The Real Time RPI rankings include: No. 4 Baylor, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 17 Oklahoma, No. 23 Texas Tech, No. 32 Iowa State, No. 34 Texas and No. 45 Kansas State. (They give no explanation why Texas A&M gets the No. 1 seed over Baylor, when the Lady Bears are higher in the polls.)
ESPN's Charlie Crème has six Big 12 teams in the women's Field of 64, which includes Baylor as a No. 1 seed, Texas A&M a No. 2, Oklahoma a No. 5, Iowa State a No. 8, Texas Tech a No. 10 and Texas a No. 13.
K-State is listed as one of the First Four Out.
Compared to the Men's NCAA Selection Committee, Patterson says, "It's way more political (with the women). There are more scratch your head decisions."
She then quipped, "Isn't it hard to predict what your wife is going to do every day?"
Turning serious, Patterson said, "There is not as much cross over in respect of analysis by the Women's Basketball Committee. Since 2002, there has been a lot of restructuring of the committee. What we (women) have tended to have were some individuals not real familiar with the women's game and individuals sympathetic to the little guy (mid-majors) without a great understanding of the power and strength of the women's game and how to structure a tournament."
In summary, Patterson simply said, "We just know we have a ton of work to do."
In the previous 14 years of Big 12 basketball here are some numbers to consider:
• On average, six teams go to the NCAA Tournament. It's been as high as eight in 2008, and as low as four in 2006 and 1998.
• Only twice have teams that have gone 10-6 did not make the NCAA field (Oklahoma State and Baylor in 1998) and twice 9-7 teams (Texas Tech in 2006 and Missouri in 2003) did not make the field.
• An 8-8 team has advanced to the "Dance" five times and even a 7-9 league team has made the NCAA Tournament three times.
• Never has a team receiving a first-round Big 12 Championship bye not gone to the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats are currently in fourth place, one game out from third-place Oklahoma, and one-game ahead of fifth-place Iowa State.
Should any Big 12 team go 9-7 in the league and not make the NCAA Tournament, Patterson said, "That would be a travesty to the game. I don't see how anyone, who can look at the strength of the Big 12 Conference, and not say that six or seven teams don't belong in the NCAA Tournament."
The Rest of the Way
Here are the remaining games on the schedules of the Big 12's NCAA hopefuls:
Baylor 12-1 - at OU, MU, at CU
Texas A&M 11-2 - at UT, at KSU, NU
Oklahoma 9-4 - BU, OSU, at TT
Kansas State 8-5 - ISU, A&M, at KU
Iowa State 7-6 - at KSU, KU, at MU
Texas Tech 6-7 - OSU, at UT, OU
Texas 6-7 - A&M, Tech, at OSU
K-State Women Go "Pink"
Kansas State women's basketball will take part in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's (WBCA) "Pink Zone" during Saturday's 7 p.m., game with Iowa State in Bramlage Coliseum.
In addition, prior to the game K-State will hold a ceremony recognizing the Wildcats' 800th victory scored last week against Nebraska.
For the third straight season, Kansas State will wear pink uniforms. A pair of pink uniforms will be auctioned off in a silent auction on the Bramlage Coliseum concourse at the top of section 6. The silent auction will begin at 6 p.m., and will conclude at halftime. The remaining uniforms will be auctioned off at kstatesports.com, beginning on Monday, Feb. 28. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the Kay Yow Fund.
During K-State's "Pink Zone" event, the first 4,000 fans will receive a free pink K-State t-shirt provided by Mercy Regional Health Center, Briggs Auto and GTM Sportswear. Breast cancer survivors will be honored during the game and will also greet the team in the pregame warm-ups.