Wildcats Look for History to Repeat in Opening Round

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas State Wildcats have historically been a tough draw in the opening round of the Big 12 Championships. The No. 10-seeded Wildcats are hoping to continue that trend at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday as they meet up with No. 7-seeded Texas Tech at the Plaza Tennis Courts in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas State (5-15, 3-8 Big 12) is 7-3 all-time in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament and has won six of its last seven on the first day.

The Wildcats have won two in a row to start Big 12 Championship play, including a 4-3 win over Oklahoma in 2005 and a 4-0 win over the Sooners last season.

Further fueling the Wildcats’ upset bid is K-State’s 5-2 win over the Red Raiders (11-10, 4-7 Big 12) in Manhattan on April 7.

K-State won the only meeting between the two teams in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament, a 4-1 decision in the 2003 Big 12 Championships also held in Kansas City.

The Wildcats were awaiting the conclusion of a make-up match between Tech and Nebraska that determined the seedings for the middle four teams in the conference. The Red Raiders and Huskers were forced to end a previously schduled match due to weather and finished Wednesday.

With a doubles point victory over the Huskers, the Red Raiders finished the season 4-7 in Big 12 play and got the No. 7 seed in the tournament.

K-State is 11-6 all-time against the Red Raiders and are 2-2 in meetings on neutral sites.

The winner of Thursday’s match will face No. 2 seed Texas at 3:00 p.m. on Friday. The Longhorns clinched a share of the regular-season Big 12 crown with their 7-0 win over the Wildcats on Sunday.

FIRST ROUND FRENZY:  Kansas State has been a tough out in the opening round of  Big 12 Tournament play. In the 10 year history of the tourney, K-State is 7-3 (.700) in the opening round and have won six of its last seven first round matches. Kansas State defeated Oklahoma, 4-0, in last year’s Big 12 Tournament opener. The Wildcats are 1-6 all-time in second round match-ups.

WILDCATS IN THE BIG 12 TOURNEY:  K-State is 8-10 (.444) all-time in Big 12 Tournament play. The Wildcats have advanced past the opening round seven times in 10 years and made their longest tournament run in 2000 with wins over Missouri and Oklahoma State before falling to eventual Big 12 Tournament Champion Texas in the quarterfinals.

AT HOME ON THE PLAZA:  The 2007 Big 12 Tennis Championships will be held for the third time in confernce history at the Plaza Tennis Courts in downtown Kansas City, Mo. The Plaza Courts have been friendly to the Wildcats as Kansas State has gone 3-2 in tournament matches played there. The Plaza Courts were the site of K-State’s deepest tournament run in 2000 when the No. 5 Wildcats topped Missouri, 5-0, then No. 4 Oklahoma State, 4-1, before losing to No. 1-seeded Texas, 5-0, in the quaterfinal rounds. In 2003, No. 6-seeded Kansas State beat Texas Tech in the opening round, 4-1, and lost to Texas in the second round.

SPOT IN THE STANDINGS:  Despite their No. 10 seeding in the Big 12 Tournament field, the Wildcats ended the regular season in a two way tie for ninth place. In the 11 years of Big 12 competition, K-State has finished the regular season in the top half six times and has never finished last. The Wildcats’ eighth place finish was the fourth lowest finish for the Kansas State and the lowest since the 2005 team was tenth.

CLASSROOM CHAMPIONS: Three Kansas State Wildcats were among the 63 student-athletes named to the 2007 Academic All-Big 12 Tennis teams announced by the league office on Tuesday. Katerina Kudlackova and Viviana Yrureta were named to the first team and Olga Klimova earned second team honors. It was the first time each of the athletes has been named to the Academic All-Big 12 team. Tereza Prochazkova, qualified academically but didn’t meet the competition requirements. To qualify student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA or higher either cumulative or the two previous semesters and must have participated in 60 percent of his/her team’s scheduled contests. Kudlackova, Yrureta, Klimova, Prochazkova and Natasha Vieira, were named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll after earning at least a 3.25 GPA in the fall semester.