March 8, 2007

Wildcats, Red Raiders set to meet again

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- What a difference a year makes. Yes, Kansas State is going to face Texas Tech in its first game of the Big 12 Conference Tournament for the second consecutive season, but the importance of this particular meeting between the Wildcats and Red Raiders is at an entirely different level than it was one year ago in Dallas.

The Wildcats were the No. 9 seed in the conference tournament a season ago when they fell 73-65 to eighth-seeded Texas Tech in the opening round, a game that turned out to be Jim Wooldridge's last as head coach at K-State.

A win against the Red Raiders would have delivered little reward to the Wildcat program, but now a victory over Coach Bob Knight's team might just might send the Wildcats (21-10, 10-6) to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996.

"Last year we knew we had to win the Big 12 Tournament in order to get into the NCAA Tournament," junior David Hoskins, who scored 25 points in the loss to Tech last year, said. "This year, we're just looking forward to maybe getting back at a couple of teams who beat us in the regular season, and if we do that, then it's looking good for us to get into the tournament."

One of the teams Hoskins was referring to was the fifth-seeded Red Raiders, who earned the right to play K-State by knocking off No. 12 seed Colorado 81-71 on Thursday at the Ford Center. Tech beat K-State 62-52 back on Jan. 8 in Manhattan, and Hoskins believes extracting some revenge against the Red Raiders could do wonders for K-State's resume.

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