SAN JOSE, Calif. Heading into its first-round match-up against California-Irvine in the NCAA Tournament Friday afternoon, Kansas State holds the advantage when it comes to seeding and experience.
K-State, the No. 4 seed in the South Region is favored against 13th-seeded Cal-Irvine. K-State boasts 29 NCAA Tournament appearances in school history compared to two in program history for Cal-Irvine.
Still, the Anteaters pose a stiff challenger for the Wildcats. Cal-Irvine won 30 games this season and is on a 16-game winning streak. With that momentum, the Anteaters get to stay in their home state to play the Wildcats. K-State is also without star senior forward Dean Wade, out with an injury.
"We're losing one of our best players. We all have to step up and do a little bit extra because (Wade) brings so much to the game," K-State senior guard Barry Brown says.
The Wildcats are no strangers to fighting through adversity, however. Wade also missed extended time in last season's post season run that didn't end for K-State until the Elite Eight.
K-State and Cal-Irvine tip at 1 p.m. Friday on TBS.