We’re certainly not in to moral victories around here, but last Tuesday’s game certainly went somewhat better than we had originally thought. Sure, the Wildcats still lost by 14 points to a good Texas Tech squad, but they showed a lot of fight and positive changes that could be a good sign for the future (and also likely should have made the game a bit closer if the officiating hadn’t been so terrible...). So, while it still goes down as a big fat “L” on the schedule, there are a lot of things that happened that should have told Bruce Weber, and the K-State fans, about the future of this team — both this year and beyond.
Clearly, the youth movement needs to get started in earnest. Barring injury or collapse, freshmen DaJaun Gordon and Montavious Murphy should retain their starting spots for the remainder of the season. Freshman Antonio Gordon should continue to earn more minutes, and may even push into the starting lineup if he can continue to clean up his game. Xavier Sneed and Cartier Diarra will remain in the starting lineup; but Makol Mawein should see his role reduced to nearly zero — joining fellow flame-out big men James Love and Nigel Shadd on the end of the bench (heck, at this point, much-maligned junior Levi Stockard seems like a far superior option, which is a problem for a player that Bruce seems intent on keeping in the starting lineup).
Like earlier this week, don’t expect any miracles today. West Virginia is a very good basketball team, loaded with talented big men and coupled with Bob Huggins aggressive style. It could get extremely ugly for this young Wildcats squad. But hopefully the effort we saw earlier this week remains, and it’s closer than expected (merely a beating instead of a total blowout). These guys have to understand that they’re likely to lose many more games this season, but nothing is impossible if they stay aggressive and keep their heads in the moment.
Build for the future, and just maybe win a few games today.
Today’s game, set for an 1:05pm CST tip, can be see on ESPNU with Chuckie Kempf (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 383.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State Wildcats (7-9)
G: #2 Cartier Diarra
G: #3 DaJuan Gordon
G/F: #20 Xavier Sneed
F: #23 Montavious Murphy
F: #14 Makol Mawien
West Virginia Mountaineers (14-2)
G: #5 Jordan McCabe
G: #10 Jermaine Haley
F: #11 Emmitt Matthews Jr.
F: #1 Derek Culver
F: #34 Oscar Tshiebwe