It’s safe to say there was concern last spring when K-State lost eight members off of their basketball team, which included six underclassmen, a number that tied Washington for the most players leaving a program in a power five conference. Many people wrote off the 2015-16 season as a lost cause, including myself. There is just no way that a team can have that much turnover on a roster, and then expect to compete in what many call the best conference in America this season, the Big 12.
Bruce Weber and his staff did a tremendous job of assembling talent. The recruiting class included Dean Wade, last year’s Gatorade Kansas Player of the Year and Mr. Kansas Basketball by the Kansas Basketball Association. The team first showed K-State fans there was something potentially special in the works back on November 24th of last year when the Wildcats took North Carolina to the wire in the Championship of the CBE Classic in an 80-70 loss. K-State finally broke through Saturday against #1 Oklahoma. It was only the 5th time in K-State history that the Wildcats had defeated a top-ranked team. K-State was led by one of the few players that remained from last year, Junior Wesley Iwundu, who finished with 22 points, and the aforementioned Dean Wade, who arguably turned in his best performance of the season with 17 points.
From a fan’s perspective, the “Octagon of Doom” was back in full force Saturday night, as the decibel level reached deafening levels, and reminded me of the good times. The student section didn’t rush the floor, and in a touching moment immediately after the game the players went directly over to the students to share their moment of triumph with the student body. Despite having season tickets, this was only the second game that I was able to attend, but I was left with a moment I’ll never forget. It was a great day to be a Wildcat!