MANHATTAN — Kansas State coach Bruce Weber had two wishes Sunday in the hours leading up to the NCAA Selection Show.
Weber’s first wish, obviously, was to see K-State’s name appear on the TBS screen, securing the program’s fourth tournament berth since he was hired prior to the 2012-13 season. His second wish was to get a Friday date, which would give injured stars Dean Wade and Barry Brown an extra day to heal.
Weber couldn’t have done better if he’d tossed a penny in a fountain. K-State, the No. 9 seed in the South Regional, drew a 5:50 p.m. Friday matchup against No. 8 Creighton in Charlotte, N.C.
“We got two prayers answered, I guess,” Weber said.
The next prayer might involve healing powers from the Man Upstairs. While Weber said there is very little doubt Brown will be recovered from the eye injury he suffered last Friday in a Big 12 semifinal loss to Kansas, Wade’s status is less certain.
Wade, the Wildcats’ leading scorer and first-team All-Big 12 forward, injured his left foot last Thursday during a 66-64 overtime win against TCU in the conference tournament quarterfinals. He didn’t dress for the KU game and still sported a walking boot Sunday when the Wildcats (22-11) addressed the media.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt about Barry,” Weber said, noting that the second-team All-Big 12 guard did some light shooting and running on Sunday. “He’ll be fine.
“Dean, we think he should be fine, but until the doc says, ‘Hey, let him go out there and run around and see what happens ...’ We’ll know more as the week goes on.”
Weber said he was optimistic, though, because former Wildcat and current Orlando Magic forward Wesley Iwundu played for five weeks with a foot injury similar to Wade’s.
As for the players themselves, both expressed confidence they will be able to take the floor against the Bluejays (21-11).
“It’s going to be great, man, me and Dean out there with the rest of our guys,” Brown said. “We’re going to be pumped to play.”
“This is kind of precautionary, just making sure it gets better and doesn’t get any worse,” Wade said of the boot. “I’ll be good by Friday, though.”
While Wade wore the boot, Brown showed few side effects from his gruesome injury. His right eye, which was poked by KU’s Devonte’ Graham just 77 seconds into the game, was a bit red but overall looked close to normal.
“Right now I’m pretty good,” he said. “I can see and everything’s fine.”
Not only is that a relief, it’s a major improvement from Friday night, when K-State’s second-leading scorer was writhing in pain on the floor at Sprint Center.
“It was very scary for me,” Brown said. “I got hit in my eye and when I got up blood was coming out the side of my eye and all I saw was red in my eye.”