Gentlemen, start your storylines.

The eight-seeded University of Kentucky basketball team survived its NCAA Tournament opener against ninth-seeded Kansas State, winning 56-49 at Friday night at the Scottrade Center, to set up a veritable sportswriter Dream Game against No. 1 seed Wichita State in the Round of 32 on Sunday.

The Shockers improved their perfect record to 35-0 with a 64-37 throttling of Cal Poly to advance. So it's the preseason No. 1 Cats, who some thought could go undefeated but are now 25-10, against actually unbeaten Wichita State. There will be plenty of time to deal with irony of that, but Kentucky first had to get past a physical Kansas State team that wouldn't back down.

UK's 12-point lead late in the first half was down to 35-33 with 15 minutes to go in the game after KSU's Shane Southwell swished a pair of 3-pointers and star Marcus Foster did his thing – 10 points, four assists, zero turnovers at that point. But as it did in all three games at the Southeastern Conference Tournament last week, Kentucky weathered the run and responded with one of its own.

UK scored seven straight and 14 of 19 points to regain control, stretching the lead back to 49-38 with 5:26 to go after a three-point play by freshman star Julius Randle. He scored seven of those 14 Kentucky points and took over sole possession of the school's freshman record for double-doubles in a season with his 21st.

With 19 points and 15 rebounds, Randle passed Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins for the record and, more importantly for the Cats, shook off his recent inside-shooting slump. He hit floaters in the lane and finished through contact, finishing 7 of 12 from the field after hitting just 9 of 29 last week in the SEC Tournament.

Freshman shooting guard Aaron Harrison's hot shooting – he was 6 of 10 and scored 18 points – and sophomore center Willie Cauley-Stein's smothering defense also helped. Cauley-Stein had only two points but eight rebounds, four blocks and four steals. The only bad news for UK was point guard Andrew Harrison's late injury to his right elbow. He spent most of the game's final 74 seconds on the bench rubbing his arm and wincing.

The Cats also had to stave off a final flurry of KSU 3-pointers and its own 3-of-8 free-throw shooting in the final two minutes, when a 13-point lead shrank to six with 24.1 seconds to go.

As expected, Kentucky also clobbered Kansas State on the glass, outrebounding the undersized other Wildcats 40-28 and grabbing 13 of their own 31 misses on the offensive end. UK had a distinct size advantage, starting players whose listed heights are 6-6, 6-6, 6-6, 6-9 and 7 feet compared to KSU's 6-2, 6-2, 6-5, 6-7 and 6-7 starters.

The Cats from Lexington entered the game ranked second nationally in offensive rebounding percentage, grabbing 42.2 percent of their own misses, while Kansas State ranked 278th in opposing offensive rebounding percentage, its foes snagging 33 percent of their misses.