Most Wildcat fans would rather forget about the last time these two teams met. Just a few days after a humiliating defeat at home, the Wildcats traveled to Lubbock and summarily got pantsed in the first half against the Red Raiders. The Wildcats pushed back late, but it was not enough and the Wildcats, who returned to Manhattan at 0-2 in the Big 12 and looking worse for the wear.
And then the Mountaineers came to town. Also at 0-2, and feeling the same pinch to get in the win column, the ‘Eers came out and pulled ahead big early. But staring at the prospect of 0-3, of their potentially special season spiraling out of control, the Wildcats, led by Barry Brown, pulled of an improbable comeback and beat WVU with a final-seconds lay-up. Then Dean Wade returned during the road trip, and the Cat’s pulled off successive Top 20 victories at Iowa State and at Oklahoma. And with the win over TCU last weekend, the train doesn’t appear to be stopping.
But there is a big road block ahead, and that’s the Red Raiders. This appears to be a different K-State team than the one that traveled to Lubbock two weeks ago. And Texas Tech doesn’t look nearly as invincible as they did then, having gone 2-2 since the two schools met in early January. But Tech is still good, and still plays elite defense, and the Wildcats still have trouble scoring at times. But the Wildcats have also played elite defense, and have seemed to figure out that the guys just need to take shots, even if they aren’t three-point attempts. Points are points, and the Wildcats will need to continue to take them anyway they can get them.
If you didn’t brave the trip to Manhattan, then you are in the clear for this one. Conditions in and around Manhattan are poor, and roadways are slick. I-70 has been closed off and on between Wamego and Junction City for most of the afternoon. If you are in MHK, or you made it to the game, cheer loud. The students are finally back in town (MLKJr day came about a week later than usual this year), and they should have no excuses to get up to Bramlage and be ready for a Top 15 opponent.
Tonight’s game is scheduled for a 6:01pm CST tip-off, and will be available on ESPN2 with Jon Sciambi (play-by-play) and the venerable Fran Fraschilla (analyst) on the call. You should also be able to access the game on WatchESPN.com/ESPN3.
You will also be able to listen to live audio across much of the K-State Sports Network with with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) calling the action. The game will also be available streaming for free online via the TuneIn app/TuneIn.com and at www.kstatesports.com/watch. Satellite coverage is also available at XM 135 / XM 199 / Internet 953. Live stats are available at k-statesports.com, and Twitter updates (@KStateMBB) will also be a part of the coverage from K-State Athletics.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State Wildcats (14-4, 4-2 Big 12)
G: #3 Kamau Stokes
G: #5 Barry Brown Jr.
G/F: #20 Xavier Sneed
F: #32 Dean Wade
F: #14 Makol Mawien
Texas Tech Red Raiders (15-3, 4-2 Big 12)
G: #13 Matt Mooney
G: #23 Jarrett Culver
G: #25 Davide Moretti
F: #11 Tariq Owens
C: #32 Norense Odiase