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March 16, 2008

Cats sneak into field as 11 seed

The Kansas State Wildcats are in the NCAA Tournament. But just barely. K-State is the No. 11 seed in the Midwest Regional, getting into the field of 65 as one of the final at-large bids to be handed out by the NCAA Selection Committee on Sunday. K-State will play sixth-seeded Southern California on Thursday in Omaha's Qwest Center.

The winner of the USC-KSU game will play the winner of the Midwest's 3/14 game between Wisconsin and Cal State-Fullerton. The K-State game will match up former high school teammates and long-time friends, O.J. Mayo of USC and Bill Walker of K-State. It also puts Mayo against Michael Beasley, two players considered to be among the best freshmen in the country this season.

The tournament appearance is the 23rd in school history for the Wildcats and the first since 1996.

K-State's opening round game will tip-off at 6:10 p.m. central time on Thursday evening.

Kansas is the top seed in the Midwest Regional and will also play in Omaha. The Jayhawks' game with Portland State will also take place Thursday, with the winner playing the victor of Lon Kruger's UNLV Runnin' Rebels' game with Kent State.

Despite being in the same tournament pod K-State and KU cannot play until the regional finals. If that would happen, it would match up the two schools in the Elite Eight in Detroit, exactly what happened 20 years ago.

The Big 12 put six teams into the bracket, but Baylor was also an 11 seed and one of the final teams in the field. Baylor plays Purdue in the West Regional. Texas A&M is the No. 9 seed in the West, and will play BYU.

Texas is the No. 2 seed in the South and will play Austin Peay in Little Rock. Oklahoma rounds out the Big 12's selections. The Sooners, which lost to K-State on its home floor, is the sixth seed in the East Regional and will plat St. Joseph's in Birmingham, Ala.

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