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Kansas State vs Texas A&M: Open Game Thread

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It’s time for the Big 12/SEC Challenge, with the Wildcats taking on an old Big 12 foe in the Aggies.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Baylor Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, look, we warned you. Sure, it still went somehow worse than expected, but at least the warning signs were all there. Let’s never speak of that game again outside of hushed tones in back rooms and dark alleys.

Today, the Wildcats have a legitimate chance to get back on the right track. It’s still going to be a tough game, but there are real, tangible reasons the Wildcats have a chance in this one to pick up their first win of 2021.

First, the Bruce Weber certainly had basically all of his players earlier this week, but it was their first game all back together and no one looks good coming off a COVID break. Today, all the guys have had a chance to practice together, and went through a game together, so they should be able to look closer to what they are truly capable of this season.

Second, Texas A&M isn’t really much better by any metric than the Wildcats. In fact, while they are a much better defensive team, they are actually worse in several categories according to KenPom, and haven’t had to play the second-best team in the country (twice) to artificially deflate their numbers. The Aggies trail the Wildcats in both Adjusted Offense and Adjusted Tempo. This isn’t a team that’s going to be able to run away from the Wildcats, and a close game is a game K-State can actually win.

Now, look, all that optimism comes with a huge warning label. These are still Bruce Weber’s Wildcats. This is still the same team that lost to Fort Hays State, and struggled with UMKC and UNO. If K-State can pull this off, it’s going to be a low-scoring slugfest, and the margin will be at-most three points. It’s still more likely that the Wildcats lose today based on this season’s performances so far, but at least there’s a chance.

We’ve got morning basketball in GOTZ, with a 11:01am CT start from Bramlage Coliseum that can be seen on ESPNU with Chuckie Kempf (play-by-play) and Robbie Hummel (analyst) on the call. You might be able to stream the game via WatchESPN if the game isn’t blocked in your area.

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 380.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

Kansas State Wildcats (5-12)

G: #21 Nijel Pack
G: #00 Mike McGuirl
G: #3 DaJuan Gordon
F: #1 Kaosi Ezeagu
F: #21 Davion Bradford

Texas A&M Aggies (7-7)

G: #0 Jay Jay Chandler
G: #11 Hassan Diarra
G: #20 Andre Gordon
F: #5 Emanuel Miller
F: #15 Jonathan Aku

Go Cats!