All that preseason stuff is over and done with, and now it’s time for the 2019-20 men’s basketball season to finally get underway in earnest. Tonight’s tilt at Bramlage doesn’t have the panache of, say, Kansas Jayhawks - Duke Blue Devils , but at least we shouldn’t have to worry about whether our team wins tonight. That’s something, yeah?
It’s a pretty safe bet Chris Klieman will be at the game, and for an obvious reason.
The Kansas State Wildcats host the North Dakota State Bison in the school’s 116th season opener. This is the fifth time the two schools have met; K-State is 4-0 in those meetings. The first two meetings were exhibitions, but the last two have been Division I affairs. Interestingly, K-State was the very first opponent the Bison faced in their first season transitioning to Division I. That game was also on opening night, a 70-61 win back in 2004.
North Dakota State is favored to win the Summit after coming off their fourth appearance in the NCAA Division I tournament. The Bison turned a third-place tie finish in the Summit League into an automatic bid which landed them in the First Four; there, they knocked off North Carolina Central Eagles before bowing out against the top-seeded Blue Devils.
David Richman, who was of course hired by Gene Taylor, begins his eighth season at the North Dakota State helm after 11 years as an assistant on the Bison sidelines. He has a career mark of 96-67. and an NCAA Tournament record of 2-2, because in addition to that win last year over North Carolina Central we all remember what his Bison did to Oklahoma Sooners in 2015, right?
The Wildcats escaped with an exhibition win over Washburn last week behind Makol Mawien ‘s 16 points and nine rebounds.
In their lone exhibition last month, the Bison routed NAIA Division II school Dickinson State 104-63. Vinnie Shahid, honorable mention All-Summit last season and a first-team preseason pick this year, led the way for NDSU with 20 points while five other players reached double figures. The Bison could be hazardous, as they return all five starters from their championship squad.
K-State is favored by 111⁄2 tonight, with the over set at 1341⁄2, That adds up to about a 73-62 win for the Cats.
Tip is scheduled for 7:02pm at Bramlage Coliseum (12,528) in Manhattan.
Tickets are still available from the box office, ranging from $5 to $20, including a Bramlage Bundle.
The game airs on the ESPN+ subscription streaming service, with Ben Boyle (play-by-play), Stan Weber (analyst) and Bridget Howard (sidelines) calling the game. You can subscribe here.
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Matt Walters (analyst) will call the game on the K-State Sports Network and on the TuneIn app.
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