Playing a wildly-outmatched opponent sure does wonders for a team’s perception. At least they scored a lot of points and didn’t give up many. That’s always nice.
The Wildcats came out on fire from the start, and never let up, cruising to a 86-41 finish earlier this week. They finally looked like a team, and a team that wanted to play basketball together and worry about each other. It wasn’t a perfect night by any means, and there are still questions that need answers (specifically down low), but it showed what the Wildcats could become when they’re all in it together.
But today’s game won’t be nearly so easy for Kansas State. While Alabama State might be a bottom-rung SWAC team, the Mississippi State team the Wildcats will face today are quite a bit higher in the basketball world. The Bulldogs enter today’s game sporting a 6-2 record, and were picked to finish 7th in the SEC this season (three spots ahead of Frank Martin’s Gamecocks). Their first loss this season came at the hands of Villanova at a non-conference tournament in Myrtle Beach, SC, and the second came at home (in their last outing) a little over a week ago to Louisiana Tech. Their schedule isn’t exactly loaded with potential NCAA Tournament teams, and really, the only two teams with real aspirations, outside of the SEC slate, are K-State and Villanova.
So while the Bulldogs will definitely be a much bigger challenge than the Hornets were earlier this week, they are still a team that the Wildcats should beat, especially on a neutral court. But this team has lost games just like that already this season, so anything is possible.
Speaking of neutral site, today’s game is part of the Never Forget Tribute Classic, which began in 2016, and serves as a partner with SoldierStrong, which was created in 2009 to support the men and women of the armed forces in the wake of the events of September 11, 2001. So, yeah, that’s a pretty good reason to go play a game in New York City.
We’re playing bright and early today, with a 10:30AM CST (yes, that’s not a typo, ANTE Meridiem) tip from the Prudential Center in Newark NJ. The game can be see on ESPNU with Doug Sherman (play-by-play) and Tim Welsh (analyst) on the call. You might be able to stream the game via WatchESPN if you are in the correct market.
If you don’t get ESPNU, or can’t access the stream, you can listen to Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) call the game on much of the K-State Sports Radio Network, and also available online via the TuneIn App and at K-StateSports.com, and satellite radio on XM 375.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State Wildcats (6-3)
G: #00 Mike McGuirl
G: #2 Cartier Diarra
G/F: #20 Xavier Sneed
F: #11 Antonio Gordon
F: #14 Makol Mawien
Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-2)
G: #23 Tyson Carter
G: #5 Iverson Molinar
G: #12 Robert Woodard II
F: #1 Reggie Perry
F: #24 Abdul Ado