Kansas State head basketball coach Jerome Tang is the first in school history to take his team to a Sweet 16 berth in his first year, and he let all the emotions go after the win over Kentucky.
If you went strictly by seeding, you wouldn’t think that No. 3 seed Kansas State would be an underdog to No. 6 seed Kentucky, but coming into the NCAA Tournament Round 2 matchup the Wildcats from Kentucky were a 2.5-point favorite.
You wouldn’t have known K-State was an underdog by the pregame locker room mood.
UK is one of the blueblood programs in college basketball, and their head coach — John Calipari — is one of the winningest coaches in the game’s history, with six Final Four appearances and a national championship on his resume.
On the flip side, Kanas State wasn’t picked to win, place, or show in the Big 12 this year. Still, they — along with first-year head coach Jerome Tang — not only proved everyone wrong by finishing with 25 wins and a third-place finish in the Big 12, but they’ve now successfully navigated their way into a Sweet 16 appearance by taking down the storied Kentucky Wildcats.
The bond between Tang and this team has been documented all season, but after the win against UK, the K-State head coach let everything out.
First, he ran to the bleachers to find his wife and share a special moment with her, high-fiving fans on his way back to the court.
Then, he released all of it right in front of the Kansas State cheerleading squad. We feel you, coach. We feel you.
Tang was hired by Kansas State last March after spending 19 seasons as an assistant at Baylor, being a part of the Bears team who won the national title in 2021.
The 2023 Kansas State basketball team is one of the best stories of the year, and to see Tang, along with transfer senior Keyontae Johnson — who collapsed on the court in 2020 while playing for Florida — make a deep March Madness run is something everyone can cheer for.