Bracketology: NCAA Bid Case for Kansas State vs. N.C. State

Doug Upstone

Friday, February 16, 2018 2:24 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 2:24 PM UTC

We take another drive down Bracketology Way, trying to determine at this point who deserves to sit at the big boy's table or who could be ranked 73rd by winning the National Invitational Tournament.

In some ways, this is our toughest assignment yet. Kansas State and N.C. State have similar records and RPI rankings. The Wildcats are reportedly playing in the stronger conference and do have a lower (better) KenPom ranking (46 vs. 55) than the Wolfpack. However, oddsmakers setting college basketball odds think N.C. State has the better club.

Bracketology wizards Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm have close to similar views. Both have N.C. State in the - Last 4 in Group - with Palm thinking the same with K-State and Lunardi thinking Bruce Weber's club still has work to do. Here is our breakdown of the current situation.

Kansas State

Conference: Big 12 (1st according to Sagarin Ratings)

Record: 18-8 SU (10-13 ATS)

Current RPI: 63

Best Wins: Nothing remarkable

Worst Losses: Tulsa

5Dimes Odds To Win NCAA Tournament: 35,000 to 1

NCAA Tournament History: 34-33

Key Games Remaining: @ Oklahoma, @ TCU and Baylor

Kansas State is still in the midst of fighting for the 4th-seed in the Big 12, which is very important since the Top 4 seeds receive double byes. The best way to describe the Wildcats this season is - unremarkable. With one exception, they have primarily beat the teams they were supposed to and faltered against those that were better than they were.

However, finishing fourth in the Big 12 would be a big boost for K-State. While it is presumed as many as seven teams could go to the NCAA tournament, everyone after Texas Tech, Kansas and West Virginia will have a less compelling story if they keep losing. Staying at this level in the top conference helps diminish the claim who has Kansas State beaten? A 4-1 regular season finish should make the Wildcats a lock.

N.C. State

Conference: ACC (3rd)

Record: 17-9 SU (9-13 ATS)

Current RPI: 69

Best Wins: Duke, North Carolina (road) and Clemson (home)

Worst Losses: Northern Iowa, UNC-Greensboro

5Dimes Odds To Win NCAA Tournament: 20,000 to 1

NCAA Tournament History: 37-25 (one championship)

Key Games Remaining: Florida State and Louisville (both at home)

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The Wolfpack are 13-3 SU at home and they need to sweep their three remaining contests in Raleigh since two of them are against similar competitors in the Seminoles and Cardinals. By the same token, N.C. State has three other games that need to win. Losing to Boston College or at Wake Forest or at Georgia Tech would fall into the bad loss category. That means the Wolfpack players cannot fall into trap of being lead into slow-paced games because they are not nearly effective as 0-4 record proves when fail to reach 70 points.

Who Has the Stronger Case and Who Gets In?

N.C. State has a decided edge in games won versus top competition over Kansas State. And the Wolfpack have the strength of schedule component, listed 66th compared to 102nd for the Wildcats.

With that said, if both wrap up the season in stellar fashion, we are included to agree with Mr. Palm, with both sneaking into the tourney. If each squad squanders a couple of winnable games, they no longer control their own destiny and the number crunchers will decide their fate.

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