K-State Finishes No. 7 in Coaches Poll

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State earned its highest season-ending ranking in almost 50 years, as the squad finished No. 7 in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll released on Tuesday.

Duke earned all 31 first-place votes and the No. 1 ranking after winning the national championship on Monday, while runner-up Butler finished second with 696 points.  West Virginia, Michigan State and Kentucky rounded out the Top 5 and Big 12 regular-season champion Kansas finished just ahead of the Wildcats at No. 6.  Other Big 12 teams to finish in the Top 25 were Baylor (No. 10) and Texas A&M (No. 25).

The No. 7 ranking is the highest final ranking in the Coaches' poll for Kansas State since concluding the 1961-62 season at No. 5.  Overall, it marks the ninth time that the Wildcats have finished in the Top 10 in final Coaches' poll, which includes No. 3 in 1950-51, No. 6 in 1951-52, No. 9 in 1952-53, No. 4 in 1957-58, No. 1 in 1958-59, No. 4 in 1960-61, No. 5 in 1961-62 and No. 7 in 1972-73.  The squad also finished No. 7 in the final Associated Press ranking, which was released on March 15 prior to the NCAA Tournament.    

The squad has now been ranked among the nation's Top 25 in both polls for 15 consecutive weeks, including in the Top 10 for 10 straight weeks.  It is the longest stretch in the Top 25 since ranking 16 consecutive weeks in the AP poll from 1972-73, while it is the longest stretch in the AP Top 10 since the 1961-62 team was among the Top 10 for 14 weeks in a row from Dec. 19, 1961 to March 13, 1962.

Kansas State finished the 2009-10 season with a school-record 29-8 overall record and earned its first trip to the Elite Eight in 22 seasons.  The Wildcats posted their highest-ever seed (No. 2) in the NCAA Tournament and won three games at the "Big Dance" for just fourth time in school history and the first time since 1988.  The team finished in a tie for second place in Big 12 play with an 11-5 mark and was the runner-up at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.  The 29 wins shattered the previous school-record of 25 set by the 1950-51, 1958-59 and 1987-88 squads, while the 11 conference victories and second-place finish were the highest of the Big 12 era and the highest since the 1987-88 season.