MANHATTAN (KSNT) – Oh how sweet it is. That’s what students at K-State are saying as they enjoy the Wildcats March Madness run.

In his first year as head coach for the Wildcats, Jerome Tang and company were picked to be last in the Big 12. Instead, they finished inside the top three and now find themselves playing in a game with the elite eight on the line.

“It just feels like we’re a basketball school at this moment,” K-State Freshman, Drake Thatcher said.

And basketball school they are. Behind year one head coach Jerome Tang, the Wildcats are heading to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2019.

“I think most of the people around here really like him,” Thatcher said. “We’re just really happy to have him. From years past we haven’t done the greatest, but I think he’s changing something to make a really good culture for us.”

There was no question about it when Tang took over as head coach, the culture of K-State basketball shifted. Now, with a chance to play in the Elite Eight now on the line, Coach Tang is doing more than just leading his team to victory, he’s turning heads on campus.

“I didn’t follow it closely at first,” K-State Freshman, Joseph Molen said. “But just watching us start to win, you know you can call me a little bit of a bandwagon fan, seeing us do well really made me have more of a desire to get involved and watch it.”

And the timing of it all couldn’t have been more perfect for the first-year student.

“I think I got lucky showing up here at a good time when we’re doing well in football and doing great in basketball,” Molen said. “We’ve got a lot going for us as a campus, as a school and I’m really excited about that.”

But the job isn’t finished.

“We’re gonna go out and celebrate [Thursday] and if they make it to the Final Four we’re definitely going,” Thatcher said.

K-State is the highest remaining seed left in its region. The Wildcats will take on seven-seed Michigan State Spartans this Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden in New York City.