For the third-straight year, your Kansas State Wildcats are dancing. Though there was little drama this year, as the Wildcats clearly secured their spot after winning a share of the Big 12 regular season title and finishing the regular season (plus conference tournament) at 25-8, 14-4.
But all that means nothing now. The season starts today, and the Wildcats go 1-0 today to continue their season. And that’s easier said than done.
While the Wildcats earned a 4-seed and get to face a 13-seed opponent, nothing is a given in March. For example, back in 2013 the Wildcats were in the exact same position, coming of a regular season conference title and dancing as a 4-seed. Those Wildcats stumbled, and ended up losing to 13-seed La Salle in the opening round. And this year’s 13-seed opponent is no slouch.
The Wildcats are facing Big West regular season and tournament champs UC Irvine. The Anteaters enter today’s game after concluding their season at 30-5, 15-1, and have lost just one game since the calendar flipped to 2019, a mid-January conference loss at home to Long Beach State. To be fair, it’s not like the Big West is exactly a basketball powerhouse confernce, and UC Irvine is the conference’s only NCAA Tournament participant, but the Anteaters know how to win games, and have even beaten two NCAA Tournament teams in Saint Mary’s and Montana back in the non-conference portion of their schedule.
But, the Wildcats should still win this game, the Big 12 champs should be able to handle basically the same team that they saw last year in Manhattan (in a game the Wildcats won 71-49). And after nearly a full week off since Big 12 Tournament action, these guys should be somewhat rested and ready for their next challenge, even without Dean Wade.
The Wildcats are in the first game out west today with the game scheduled for a 1:00pm CDT tip on TBS with Spero Dedes (play-by-play), Len Elmore (analyst), Steve Smith (analyst), and Ros Gold-Onwude (sideline reporter) on the call. You should also be able to access the game via March Madness Live App [free] and online at March Madness Live.
You will also be able to listen to live audio across some 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. No streaming or satellite radio coverage of the K-State Sports broadcast and due to NCAA Tournament regulation. Live stats are available at ncaa.com/mediastats, and Twitter updates (@KStateMBB) will also be a part of the coverage from K-State Athletics.
If you can’t get to a TV or computer, there’s also a national radio broadcast from Westwood One Sports with Chris Carrino (play-by-play) and Mike Montgomery (analyst) on the call. The Westwood One broadcast is available on satellite radio at Sirius 138 / XM 207 / Internet 974.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State Wildcats (25-8, 14-4 Big 12)
G: #2 Cartier Diarra
G: #3 Kamau Stokes
G: #5 Barry Brown Jr.
G/F: #20 Xavier Sneed
F: #14 Makol Mawien
UC Irvine Anteaters (30-5, 15-1 Big West)
G: #2 Max Hazzard
G: #3 Robert Cartwright
G: #14 Evan Leonard
F: #32 Tommy Rutherford
F: #5 Jonathan Galloway