It’s a new day and a new year. Time to put 2017 to bed, and spring forward hard into 2018.
The Kansas State Wildcats surprised a few people with the performance of juniors Dean Wade, Kamau Stokes, and Barry Brown to end 2017. The Big Three for K-State combined for 78 of the Wildcats 91 points in their 91-75 victory over Iowa State - the first in Ames for the Cats since 2011. Wade went off for a career-night, dropping 34 points on 13-16 shooting, including going 6-8 from behind the arc. It was a masterful performance from the St. John, KS native, one that had long been expected since his arrival in Manhattan.
And while a victory over Iowa State is nothing to sneeze at, the Cyclones were picked to finish second-to-last in the Big 12 preseason rankings, and a spot behind the Wildcats. You need to win the games you are supposed to win to have a chance in the Big 12.
Today’s game will be a much different challenge. The West Virginia Mountaineers are a highly physical team, and will not leave much room for K-State’s shooters to operate or get clean looks on the perimeter. Kamau Stokes will have to remain on his A-game at point guard to keep his team focused and keep the ball moving against the WVU defense.
The Mountaineers opened the season with what looked like a nasty loss to Texas A&M, but has since reeled off 12-straight including a big 85-79 road victory over Oklahoma State in Stillwater to cap off 2017. The ‘Eers feature the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year in Jevon Carter, and he looks the part as he leads four players in double figures with 17.7 points per game. He also leads the nation in steals per game and total steals.
West Virginia may be led for soon-to-be Hall of Fame head coach Bob Huggins, but he has not been hugely successful against K-State coach Bruce Weber, who maintains a close 6-7 edge with Huggins (4-7 at K-State). Weber is 3-2 at home (all at K-State) against WVU, and will look to improve that margin and bring his overall record back to .500 against Huggins.
Today’s game, scheduled for a 4:01 p.m. CST tip-off, will be on ESPNU/ESPN3 with Mark Neely (play-by-play) and Bryndon Manzer (analyst) on the call. Be sure and check out Jon Morse’s full How To Watch post for more details.
The game can be heard over-the-air on the K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) on the call (you can also listen online for free at TuneIn.com or at KStateSports.com). Satellite radio is available on Sirius 134, XM 199, and “Internet” 953.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State (11-2)
G: #3 Kamau Stokes
G: #5 Barry Brown Jr.
G: #20 Xavier Sneed
F: #32 Dean Wade
F: #14 Makol Mawien
West Virginia (12-1)
G: #2 Jevon Carter
G: #4 Daxter Miles Jr.
F: #15 Lamont West
F: #21 Wesley Harris
F: #50 Sagaba Konate