Old K-State foe Danny Manning has Wake Forest in First Four

Old K-State foe Danny Manning has Wake Forest in First Four

For as long as Kansas State remains alive, and that will be a tall order with Cincinnati up next in a South Region clash Friday in Sacramento, Calif., the Cats will always be the last at-large team to make the tourney field.

COMEBACK KIDS: Wake Forest overcame deficits of 19, 14 and 13 points to win its last three games in the regular season.

Under Mittie's guidance in his third season, Kansas State has registered its first 20-win season since the 2011-12 season and the most overall wins (22) since 2008-09.

Kansas State beat Wake Forest in the first of two First Four games between No. 11 seeds. That marked the point that it became the Wildcats' game to lose.

Every year since the First Four was put in place, an 11-seed team has advanced from Dayton to win its opening game and advance to the weekend. They Demon Deacons are 19-13, but they've played a hard schedule with wins over Louisville, Miami and Virginia Tech and no bad losses. Just last week K-State let a lead over West Virginia slip in the final minutes and had its run at the Big 12 tournament ended.

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There was also the NC State game in Raleigh, when a phantom out-of-bounds call saved Wake from blowing the game. While Collins got his points - 26 of them - D.J. made him work hard for it in a game where it was clear Wake Forest needed everything it could get out of its sophomore star. They came to Kansas City and you would think everything was on our side and they just shot lights out. I don't see the Wildcats slowing Collins down, and Wake Forest outscores them to move on to the round of 64. I didn't know if the 'Cats could keep up, but they did.

The NBA scouts have been drooling over the 6-10 big man during the his explosion onto the scene this season.

Statistically, Cincinnati, (which awaits the victor of Wake/Kansas State) is only slightly better than Wake Forest-22nd vs. 30th in KenPom-and Collins has the ability to rebound against the tough rebounding Bearcats, which could help negate Cincy's strength inside. The contest will also be available on the K-State Sports Network and free live audio on kstatesports.com.

New Orleans' season took on a similar shape, as the Privateers went 2-6 in their first eight games against Division I competition and played the nation's 17th-most hard non-league schedule.

Kansas State led at halftime, 40-36. Collins leads in rebounds with 9.8 while Crawford tops in assists with 5.4 and in steals with 1.4 per game. Now, they'll try to notch their first win against a top-100 KenPom team since January 25 and get some revenge, too.