We’ve got a double-header of sorts for you tonight. The Kansas State Wildcats men’s basketball team will face the Texas Longhorns at 7pm CST tonight at the Erwin Center in Austin, TX; and the K-State women’s basketball team will face the Texas Tech Red Raiders at 7pm CST tonight at Bramlage Coliseum.
(Good luck finding either game on TV unless you have Cox cable in Kansas, or you have to have the Longhorn Network in your sports package.)
Tonight’s game are important for both teams as both basketball squads had weeks to forget last week. The K-State men dropped a Big Monday game against KU 70-56, before getting embarrassed on the road at West Virginia 89-51 — the worst loss by a men’s squad in 15 years. The women fared just as poorly, after beating Kansas in Lawrence 63-59 last Sunday, the Cats dropped a stunner in Norman to OU 68-49, then followed it up with an embarrassing home loss to Iowa State 80-45. While it’s always a great day to be a Wildcat, it was not a fun week to be a Wildcat basketball fan.
The MittieCats have a slightly easier rebound game than the BruceCats. The women (12-11, 4-8 Big 12) take on a reeling Texas Tech squad that are just 7-15 on the season, and have only eeked out one win in Big 12 play. While the Lady Raiders were struggling heading in to conference play, they have been markedly worse since firing their head coach to start 2018. In a fun bit of LOL, their lone win came at Kansas in mid-January. If we thought losing 80-45 was bad, the Lady Raiders faced mighty Baylor last Saturday, and their home fans got to see the Lady Bears roll to the tune of 90-44. Yeah, 46 point victory. Ouch. And it’s not even their worst loss of the season, as they had a 90-39 loss at home to Texas a few weeks ago. So, if you start to think things don’t look great, at least remember we aren’t Texas Tech.
So it really goes without saying that this is a game that the MittieCats should roll through fairly easily, but a loss should cause some serious discussions about hot seats in Bramlage.
The game can be seen, if you have the channel, on Cox Channel Kansas with Brian Smoller (play-by-play) and Missy Heidrick (analyst) on the call. K-State Sports lists that it is also on K-StateHD.TV, so you may actually be able to stream the game. The audio version will be available on select stations of the K-State Sports Network with Matt Walters (play-by-play) and Kristin Waller (analyst) on the call, and audio will definitely be available online at kstatesports.com/watch (free).
Over to the men (16-7, 5-5 Big 12), who face a Longhorns squad that has some solid pieces, but is still looking for some consistency. They’ve basically gone back and forth all conference slate, never winning or losing more than one-in-a-row in Big 12 play. They also got beaten almost as soundly in Morgantown, losing 86-51 to the Mountaineers back in the latter half of January. They’ve also played league-leading Texas Tech close twice, winning 67-58 at home, and losing a week ago 73-71 in Lubbock. Last time out, Texas won the home half of the Red River Rivalry, beating OU 79-74 and holding Trae Young to a paltry 19 points (but 14(!!) assists to just 5 turnovers).
So if history holds, then the Wildcats should be headed home from Austin with a slump-busting win. But the BruceCats will need more than history on their side to bounce back. Barry Brown Jr. has been in a funk over the last three games, and and he goes, so does the team. Dean Wade has kept his level of play up, and Xavier Sneed returned to mid-season form even in the frustrating loss. Cartier Diarra has shown more flaws, and Kamau Stokes return to the court left plenty to be desired. Basically everyone but Dean Wade (and Xavier Sneed if he can keep it going from Saturday) needs to step up their game back to even just “average” to be able to win tonight. But it’s a Bruce Weber team, so nothing is guaranteed except that the post-game press conference will be awkward.
The mens game will be aired on the Longhorn Network (and ESPN3 if you pay for the TV channel in your sports package) with Lowell Galindo (play-by-play), Lance Blanks (analyst), and Tyler Denning (Sideline reporter) on the call.
For those of you without the blinding burnt orange light of LHN in your sports package, 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” 952.
Good luck Wildcats, may the odds be ever in your favor.