The 2019-20 Kansas State Wildcats are approaching some rare space for a K-State basketball team.
The defending Big 12 Champions are on the verge of completing just second non-conference slate in the last 33 years with fewer than 7 wins, and could be the first since the Jack Hartman era (when there were fewer non-con games) to finish with a .500 record or worse before start of conference play. Even a win today only puts these Wildcats among the worst teams of the last 30 years (like Tom Asbury’s final team that went 7-4 to start the season, but finished a dismal 9-19).
To say the start of this season has been bad would be very accurate. The overall quality of the team is higher than it was twenty years ago, but these Wildcats are still struggling mightily to find an identity and find an on-court leader. Senior Xavier Sneed has not had to lead before and isn’t handling “prime scorer” duties well. Makol Mawein has been wildly ineffective. Cartier Diarra has not shown the scoring ability that got Wildcat fans so excited the last couple seasons. And the list goes on. The true freshmen have looked good for freshmen, and the return of Montavious Murphy to list of available players should have some deficiencies in the post. But there really are no excuses for how bad this team has been so far this season.
So today the Wildcats will have the opportunity to do a few things. As mentioned, a win would keep them from a historically bad start to a season. A win today would also end a two game losing streak in-season, as well as a three game losing streak to Tulsa (that dates to 1990). It’s possible, this team has the talent to beat most on it’s schedule, but recent trends point more to a negative finish for the Wildcats.
Let’s hope these guys are ready to buck that trend.
Tonight’s game, scheduled for a 5:02pm CST tip, can be see on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with Ben Boyle (play-by-play), Missy Heidrick (analyst), and Bridget Howard (sidelines) on the call. If you haven’t signed up for ESPN+ yet (and you can do so right here), you can listen to Brian Smoller (play-by-play) and Matt Walters (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.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State Wildcats (6-5)
G: #00 Mike McGuirl
G: #2 Cartier Diarra
G/F: #20 Xavier Sneed
F: #11 Antonio Gordon
F: #14 Makol Mawien
Tulsa Golden Hurricane (8-4)
G: #3 Elijah Joiner
G: #11 Darien Jackson
F: #0 Brandon Rachal
F: #41 Jeriah Horne
F: #1 Martins Igbanu
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