We’re finally to the last game of the toughest three-game stretch of the schedule. The Kansas State Wildcats have fared better than we might have hoped, winning a tough game on the road at then-2/3 Baylor, then holding on for a three-point loss to the long-time nemesis in Bramlage. Before the stretch started, the Cats were mired in a losing streak and the season appeared to be nearly lost. But now there is again some optimism as the Cats are sitting back on the right side of the bubble heading in to this weekend.
The Cats have been off since Monday, and the four days off is the closest thing to a bye-week the team has gotten during Big 12 play. Hopefully they used that time to get rested-up and healthier, and get in the film room as figure out a few things. And as with any trip to West Virginia, you need to be well-rested before you get there.
A win today would be huge for many reasons. Another resume-booster, back to .500 in conference, and the first sweep of the Mountaineers for the Wildcats. It might also just cool Weber’s seat some more. But it won’t be easy. And though the Cats did knock off West Virginia in Manhattan back in January, the Wildcats are still facing a top-15 team on their home court. And the ‘Eers are supposedly still rankled from the loss in Bramlage, and have had this day circled since then.
Dean Wade finally looked like early-Big-12-season-Dean Wade, posting 20 points against KU, again, to lead the team. When Dean Wade is on, the rest of the team is better. Kamau Stokes has emerged as the go-to scorer lately, and his last three games of 21, 15, and 16 points has given him the leading-scorer title both on the season and in Big 12 play. Stokes hasn’t scored under double-figures since only putting up four points against Washington State. Wesley Iwundu and D.J. Johnson are both averaging 12 points and 6 rebounds in conference play, which is good for Wes on the rebounds, and good for D.J. on the points.
The lone Cat struggling lately is Barry Brown, who hasn’t broken double-digits in the last three games. K-State really needs a game like the 15-point game he had in January against the ‘Eers to stay in this one today.
It’s an early game today, slated for an 11:04 am CT tip, and will be broadcast on ESPN, with Mark Neely (play-by-play) and Mark Plansky (analyst) on the call, and streaming may be available to you (depending on your location and provider/package) at WatchESPN.com. Audio, as always, is available on the K-State Sports Network (Sirius 84/XM 84 (West Virginia broadcast)) and streaming online at K-StateSports.com.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
G: #3 Kamau Stokes
G: #5 Barry Brown
G: #25 Wesley Iwundu
F: #32 Dean Wade
F: #4 D.J. Johnson
G: #2 Jevon Carter
G: #12 Tarik Phillip
F: #11 Nathan Adrian
F: #23 Esa Ahmad
F: #45 Elijah Macon