Well, it may be Valentine’s Day, but it feels more like Groundhog Day in Wildcatland.
If something about tonight’s game feels familiar to you, you wouldn’t be wrong. Rewind to a little over a month ago, and the Kansas State Wildcats were coming off two consecutive losses, to West Virginia and Texas Tech, headed into a weeknight match-up with an Oklahoma State Cowboys squad that was looking promising after a big Saturday win over Iowa State.
Back to present, K-State is coming off losses in two of their last three (to WVU and Tech), headed into a weeknight match-up with a Cowboys squad that is looking interesting with wins over ranked opponents in two of their last three (AT KU AND WVU).
K-State’s last loss both times? A walloping by the Texas Tech Red Raiders — a 16 point loss in January, and an even more miserable 19 point loss at home last Saturday. Talk about some deja-vu.
K-State’s win over OSU back in January, spurred by Barry Brown’s incredible 38-point performance, started a streak of five wins in six games, with a competitive loss at KU sandwiched in there. But since the last week on January, and the return trip from the Jayhawks, the wheels have started to fall back off the wagon. K-State has had three crushing defeats to ranked teams, two at home, in the last four games, and needed nearly every second of regulation to defeat a roller-coaster Texas team in Austin a week ago
in a game that nobody saw. The Wildcats need a win tonight to stay on the right side of the bubble, and to keep their hold on fourth-place in the conference for another few days.
For it’s part, Oklahoma State have been just 4-5 since their loss in Manhattan, and went one a three-game losing streak to end January. But February has been far more interesting to the Pokes, as they’ve knocked off the Big 12 #2 and #3 (currently) teams in their own houses; though they did lose by 11 to Baylor at Gallagher-Iba. If there was something to give K-State fans a bit more hope tonight it’s this: OSU is just 3-3 in Big 12 play at home this season, with all three coming in early-to-mid January. After upsetting then-No. 4 OU on January 20th (the Saturday after K-State beat them) and storming the court, OSU has dropped their last two in GIA, both mid-week games.
The real problem is will the K-State team who put up 86 points on OSU in January show up, or will the team that hasn’t broken 56 points in four of their last five show up. It’s a coinflip. Welcome to Weberville.
Tonight’s game, scheduled for a 6 p.m. CST tip-off, will be on ESPNU/ESPN3 with Clay Matvick (play-by-play) and Tim Welsh (analyst) on the call (no word yet on if they will actually be on site for this thrilling match-up of middling Big 12 teams). Be sure and check out Jon Morse’s full How To Watch post for more details.
If you are near Stillwater, you can get a pair of tickets for just $10:
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 132, XM 199, and “Internet” 953.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State (17-8, 6-6 Big 12)
G: #2 Cartier Diarra
G: #5 Barry Brown Jr.
G: #20 Xavier Sneed
F: #32 Dean Wade
F: #14 Makol Mawien
Oklahoma State (15-10, 5-7 Big 12)
G: #1 Kendall Smith
G: #21 Lindy Waters III
G: #30 Jeffrey Carroll
F: #12 Cameron McGriff
F: #41 Mitchell Solomon