NCAA Tournament - Kansas State wins back-and-forth battle with Kentucky, advances to Sweet 16
Yahoo Sports college basketball writer Nick Bromberg takes you through 3-seed Kansas State’s impressive win over 6-seed Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
NICK BROMBERG: Kentucky is out of the NCAA tournament on the first weekend for the second straight year. A season after losing to St. Peter's in the first round, Kentucky lost 75-69 to Kansas State in the second round on Sunday. Even though Kentucky entered as a number six seed to Kansas State's three, the Wildcats from the SEC were 3 and 1/2-point favorites ahead of the game.
It was a physical contest that didn't feature much shot making until the end. Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson hit massive 3s for Kansas State in the final minutes. Johnson's 3, with 1:23 to go, put K State up 5, and Kentucky could not answer on its next possession. At one point during the second half, the teams were a combined 5 of 33 from behind the 3-point line. They finished 9 of 41, as Kentucky was four of 20 as a team. Antonio Reeves was one of 15 from the field and missed his first nine 3-point attempts.
Kentucky hasn't been to the Sweet 16 since it lost in the Elite Eight in 2019, and Sunday's loss won't do much to calm many Kentucky fans' displeasure with John Calipari. The Wildcats underachieved over the course of the season and needed a 10 in 3 stretch in SEC play to solidify their status for the tournament team. Kansas State, meanwhile, is in its first Sweet 16 since 2018 and is a great example of how a program can be turned around in a single season. KSU has won 11 more games this season than it did a year ago under first-year cohort Jerome Tang and are two wins away from the school's first Final Four appearance since 1964.