The Kansas State University women’s basketball team won’t be favored to beat Stanford when the two teams play late this afternoon in Bramlage Coliseum with a berth in the Sweet 16 on the line.
After all, Stanford is 29-5 and ranked sixth in both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls; K-State, 23-10, is 24th in the AP poll and unranked by the coaches. What’s more, Stanford is the No. 2 seed, while KSU is the No. 7 seed.
Thus, the smart money will be on Stanford, perhaps wisely so. But the smart money in the men’s NCAA tournament was on second-seeded Duke, which lost to a No. 7 seed, South Carolina; it was on Louisville, a No. 2 seed that lost to seventh- seeded Michigan, and it was on Villanova, the top-seeded team in the entire men’s tournament, which lost to Wisconsin, a No. 8 seed.
In other words, it happens. And despite Stanford’s glossy record and an even glossier tradition that includes a dozen Final Fours and two national titles — a K-State victory is possible. The Wildcats haven’t been as consistent as Stanford, but at times they’ve been terrific. To a player, they sound up for the challenge, and they know they can count on a raucous crowd.
Stanford’s coach is right to observe that the home crowd can’t score. It can, however, inspire players on the home team to run a little faster, react a little more quickly, jump a little higher and, who knows, pull off a big upset.