The No. 11 seeded Wildcats open Tuesday against Wake Forest. "We just have to go take it".
Manning served as an assistant on Bill Self's staff at Kansas from 2003 to 2012, and KSU coach Bruce Weber said there are similarities between what Wake Forest does and the way Kansas plays. "It was their guards getting dribble penetration". Seniors Wesley Iwundu and D.J. Johnson were part of the bracket in 2014, but the Wildcats missed the postseason entirely the past two seasons. "We came up short in some games that we played, but I think that that adversity helped us down the stretch of our conference without question".
Collins averaged 16.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game throughout the season for the 19-14 Demon Deacons.
After the season, Manning was hired by Ron Wellman as the head coach at Wake Forest, and returned to his home of North Carolina's Piedmont Triad.
And while the game went back and forth, with the lights out shooting of the Wildcats going pound for pound with Wake Forest star forward and projected National Basketball Association lottery pick John Collins, Kansas State came out the victor, taking the game 95-88. "Obviously, like you said, we got some chances in the second half, but it was definitely an effort on their end to deny me the ball".
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Much of the talk around the game coming in centered around Wake Forest's big man Collins. Both Long and 5-foot-5 guard Junior Robinson scored over 20 points in the NEC final against St. Francis. The program fell on hard times after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city and campus in 2005, and New Orleans finished 10-20 last season before the stunning turnaround. She has been responsible for 42.3 percent of K-State's blocked shots and set the school record for blocked shots in a three-year span with 237.
Kansas State placed sixth in the Big 12 and reached the 20-win mark, but the possibility of being passed over remained a real concern. "But in the second half, he got back to doing what he does best, hitting some big shots".
K-State was chosen as a No. 7 seed in the Lexington, Kentucky, regional and will be opposed by No. 10 seed Drake (28-4, 18-0 Missouri Valley) on Saturday, March 18 at 3 p.m., (CDT) in Bramlage Coliseum.
The Wildcats were whistled for 15 fouls in the half and allowed Wake Forest to do much of its damage from the foul line. Though the Jayhawks lost their opening game in the Big 12 tournament last week, they have been a top-ranked team the entire season and won their 13th straight conference title.
The Wildcats hope they can bring momentum with them, too.
"I'm sure there will be tweeting and texting and all that stuff for the next hour, then we have to settle down", Weber said. We've seen everything when it comes from defenses, pressure. "... This group seems very offensive minded, kind of in a way what Kansas is this year, but we've got to stop them. I'm telling (my team) it's an advantage".